Titivillus, patron demon of calligraphers

A few pages into Jacques Le Goff's "Intellectuals in the Middle-Ages", I've found mention of demon Titivillus (not to be confused with Titus Livius, a.k.a. Livy, Tite-Live) which I just had to share with you.

Jacques Le Goff holds that as scribal work, a difficult task that produced goods of great intrinsic value, was considered as a way to reduce the time one would spend in Purgatory, while scribing errors due to inattention would conversely lengthen that time. Scribes came to attribute such errors to the influence of Titivillus. Later, he was also described as writing down the idle chatter of monks during the office, as a record of their sins. He then devolved into just one of a family.

I hereby offer you:

Titibillus, patron demon of calligraphers
Order: Accusers

Infernal Might: 5 (Mentem)

Characteristics: Int -1, Per +2, Pre -2, Com +1, Str -2, Sta +1, Dex +1, Qik +3

Size: -2

Confidence Score: 1 (3 points)

Virtues and Flaws: Puissant Profession: Scribe, Clumsy

Personality Trait: Curious +2, Rushed +5, Coward +3

Reputation: Patron Demon of Calligraphers +1 (Infernal) [& clerical?]

Hierarchy: 1


  • Fist: Init +3, Atk +1, Def +3, Dam -2

Soak: +1

Abilities: Athletic 4 (balance), Awareness 4 (inattentive clergymen), Concentration 1 (scribing), Church Lore 3 (monasteries), Folk Ken 3 (clergy), Profession: Scribe 5+2 (recording spoken words), Stealth 1 (during religious office), Theology 2 (devotional failings)

Powers: Only those powers common to all demons (p. 31) and Accusers (p. 43), with Obsession: Sloth, Inattention, Lack of due diligence

Titivillus uses his Obsession power to cause scribal errors. The collection of idle thoughts and words, whether in writing or into his bag are cosmetic effects underling his Betrayal of the Heart power and need not be manifested as actual powers.

Weakness: Protected Group (illiterates)

Vis: 1 point of Mentem in his bag, parchment or writing implements (or maybe even his ears).


How is Mr. Le Goff's writing? In other words, for us humble non-scholars, is it enjoyable reading, or is it a work one must slog through?

Medieval French, I assume. Is he translated into a modern language like modern French or modern English?

Not medieval french, he is a leading scientist in medieval history. I read a book of him which was readable for non-scholars (such as myself) and really interesting but a bit on the dry (can I say this in english?) side. I believe the book is called: the culture of medieval europe and I recommend it for everyone who wants to make a historically correct context.

PS. dry is a literally translation of a Dutch word meanin: full of facts, and few funny parts.

Cool minor demon. Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:



LeGoff's a leading scholar in Medieval History, focusing on long-term trends. I read his Medieval Imagination and Time, Work, and Culture in the Middle Ages (both in translation) back in grad school.

As stated above, his work can be dry. But, that might be the result of the translation. You might want to try browsing one or two of the books at a local bookstore to see if they suit your tastes.

I love the demon by the way!

It's used the same way in English.

Glad you like it. And having read further, I concur on the dryness of Le Goff's writing. Ti's still very interesting, though.

Indeed very interesting, reading the book gave me a whole new perspective on medieval times. Most modern people have a very twisted look to the medieval period due to Hollywood.....

If you liked books by Le Goff I advise you to try Georges Duby's ones. His books are clear, very interesting and less dry than Le Goff's ones. He has a slightly different point of view than Le Goff as he pays more attention (and is more interested in) political events.

However I do not know if many of his books were translated to English.

That was just what I liked in Le Goff's books, he focuses on the live of real people, not just kings and bishops......

He was also covered in Kobold Quarterly, issue #1. (Which you can pick up in pdf here )

While the stats for Titivillus are in d20 format, there are a couple pages of history (and it notes he was first mentioned in 1285?) and the idea of his abilities and powers, as well as his servant ink devils might make for good conversion material.

The article is written by Wolfgang Baur, former editor of Dungeon, ENnie nominated designer and Diana Jones award winner. (He's probably better known in d20 circles but his work is more than rock solid.) The series has continued, looking at Belphegor, a fictional Arbeyach (Prince of Swarms), the Angel Adriel (Angel of Hope), and a fictional Jezebel (Princess of Poison Winters).

It's good material, all, and really, suggests a good series for Sub Rosa to emulate. I'd offer, but I'm already in for two this time. :slight_smile: