Old books of the world
There are valuable old books in each country which reflect their culture, life style and society. If you look into these books, you may learn their ancestors’ wisdom.
In this chapter, our international members contributed their articles to introduce their nations’ valuable old books and the development of printing methods.
Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible, Germany - writer : Jacqueline Behrendt
1. The Beginning of German Printing History
The beginnings of the art of printing can be found in Germany, East Asia, Babylon and Rome. The first and oldest printed books were constructed by using the so called ?lockdruckverfahren? where the single sites needed to be cut into a printing plate and then were deducted. But this was not the book-form, we know today. The art of printing with all his economical, cultural and historical effects developed in the way we know them today as cultural minting Information and Communication Technology in Europe. With the discovery by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century, the art of printing spread out in whole Europe within a few years and after the centuries around the whole earth.
2. About Johannes Gutenberg
Johannes Gensfleisch, named Gutenberg (born in 1400 in Mainz or Eltville ; died 1468 in Mainz) is known for his discovery of the art of printing with movable metal-types in Europe and of the mechanical printing. By the using of movable types, he set new revolutionary yardsticks for printing books and initiated a revolution in Europe. His work is considered as key item of the Renaissance, specially his main work the Gutenberg Bible is know for the high aesthetic and technical quality.
2.1 Gutenberg’s Invention
It was already printed before Gutenberg by wooden pressure. On this occasion, paper was laid on the worked on and with color provided wooden floor and rubbed off a costly and protracted procedure. Basic idea of the invention of Gutenberg was the decomposition of the text in all single elements like small letters and capital letters, punctuation marks, ligatures and abbreviations as they were generally usual from the tradition of the medieval authors. These single elements were poured as side-wrong characters in any number, were joined, in the end, to words, lines and sides. Prototype for every letter was the stamp. In the front end of a steel pencil the sign was cut, so that a side-wrong exact relief arose. Now the perspective stamp, the Patrize, in a rectangular block of a hammer from softer metal, as a rule probably copper, i.e vertically with the blow of a hammer was eaten off?
So, generated matrix had to be reworked and be straightened, so that a right- angled cube with straight sides originated. The side-right picture should have a uniform depth, which is why the surface with a file was worked on. To manage the downpour of character, Gutenberg developed the hand pouring instrument which of an end was closed by using the matrix. After the downpour of the characters in the hand pouring instrument the other end had to be removed. Every character had a hyphenation point, so that all characters automatically received the same height. The hand pouring instrument, the most significant part of the invention, enabled to pour the amounts required in each case in the most different characters in the quick change. The crude metal was an alloy from lead, tin and other admixtures, quick cooling off and a sufficient durability under the high pressure of the press guaranteed. The printer press which caused towards till then known compression a huge acceleration of the printing process was a spindle press with special equipment for the actual and steady transference of the printing format of the form of the paper or also the parchment.
2.2 The Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg-Bible, also known as ‘42’ or ‘B42’(because of the 42 lines) was made in the years from 1452 until 1454 in Mainz. As a coronation of Gutenberg’s pressure art Bible is to be looked the 42 lines. The 2-volume work with a total of 1282 sides originated in the blossom of his creating, with the help of about 20 employees. Gutenberg has poured 290 different figures for this Bible. The colored initials and signs were inserted later by an Illuminator and a Rubrikator. 150 were printed by 180 copies presumably on paper and the remaining 30 on precious parchment. Today, there exist another 48 copies from what 2 are in the possession of the Gutenberg museum in Mainz, Germany. With this bible which belongs till this day to the nicest printed books of the world, Gutenberg has proved, the fact that ?ova forma scribendi?to the manuscripts which had at the time their rising was equivalent aesthetically. The development of the black art brought a layout in the written world. The spreading of knowledge promoted the economic progress and became a landmark in the direction of modern times.
Kronika trojanska, Czech Republic - Writer : Tomas Popek
Beginning of Czech literature is set around 863 AD, when Old Slavic, the first literary Slavic language, was invented. First texts were usually legends about Saint Wenceslaus (Czech: Svaty Vaclav) who was the main patron saint of the Czech state.
One of the most interesting books of Czech medieval age is Chronicle of Bohemians (lat. Chronica Boemorum) written in Latin by Cosmas of Prague. It is very unusual chronicle. It’s sorted by date but, there are not only brief records of events but narratives which are sometimes quite long. It consists of three books. First one contains Czechs mythic legends. The second book describes Bohemian history for the years of 1038~1092. The third book (1092~1125) starts with a description of the time of instability and bloody civil wars. Chronicle ends in 1125 when Cosmas died.
In the early 13th century, the Devil’s Bible was published in the Benedictine in Bohemia (lat. Codex Gigas). It is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. It includes the entire Bible in a pre-vulgate version, St. Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymology, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia, a calendar with necrology, magic formulae and many other local records. The entire codex is written in Latin. The manuscript includes illuminations in red, blue, yellow, green and gold.
The legend says that the scribe was a monk who in order to forbear this harsh penalty promised to create in one single night a book which including all human knowledge. That night he sold his soul to the devil for help. After completing of manuscript the monk added the devil's picture out of gratitude for his aid. During the Thirty Years' War, was the entire collection was taken by the Swedish army as plunder. It was returned after centuries in Stockholm on September 2007. The chronicle of Dalimil(Czech: Dalimilova kronika) is the first chronicle that was written in Czech language. This was written by unknown author.
The chronicle finished before 1314, but it was published including the entries of later authors describing the events till 1319. The initial printed book is in dispute among scholars. The most often mentioned one is Trojanska Kronika, translation of Quidona de Column Historia Troiana. It is a book about fight of Troy printed in 1476. Historians classify it as imaginative literature.
Doctrina Christiana en lengua Espanola y tagala, the Philippines - Writer : Timi Canuel
The Spanish ruled the Philippines for 333 years. One of their aims in colonizing the country was to propagate Christianity. And in order to realize this objective, many Spanish missionaries studied, learned, and mastered the Tagalog language which is the native and best language in the islands and eventually they published, Doctrina Christiana en lengua espanola y tagala the very first book printed in 1593. It was a little book of prayers written by Franciscan Friar Juan De Plasencia. He derived its name from the Latin term Doctrina Christiana meaning the "teachings of the church" It was printed in Gothic letters and Tagalog characters on a rice paper. This type of paper is inferior in quality because of its brittleness and without resistance. At that time, rice paper was the only kind that the Filipinos used not only for printing but for all manner of writing.
In fact, Doctrina Christiana has two versions; the first version was the Spanish-Tagalog book which refers to the Doctrina Christiana en lengua espanola y tagala. This book depicts the old writing system called 'baybayin' and it also contained the basic belief of the Roman Catholic faith, the Ten Commandments and the customary prayers such as Ave Maria, Credo, and Salve Regina.
On the other hand, the second version was named 'Wu-chi t'ienchu cheng-chiao chen-chuan shih-lu also known as 'Shi-lu or Veritable Records' written in Chinese by Dominican Friar Juan Cobo. It consist of records of authentic tradition of the true faith in the Infinite God, by the religious master Kao-mu Hsien as well as data about plants, animals, astronomy, and geography.
Due to the inexistence of the printing press in the country during that period, the Spaniards brought the arts of printing to the Philippines using 'Xylography' or 'Wood engraving' method, meaning, each page of text is printed from one wood-block which was carved by hand. Along the inner margins of some pages are vertical lines which were made by the inked edge of the block, and the grain of the wood has caused markings or patterns to appear in the printed portions throughout. As a result thereof, the above-described books were printed in 1593 and were considered as the first products of this method of printing.
There were also other books that have been published before the end of the 16th century but a new approach was used in printing these materials called the 'Typographic method or movable type of printing'. Most of these writings were on the teachings of the church, some where vocabularies, while the rest were historical. 'Libro De Nuestra Senora Del Rosario en lengua y letra de Filipinas' published in 1602 and 'Libro de los Cuatro Postrimerias del Hombre' published in 1604, both works written by Dominican Friar Francisco Blancas De San Jose and were considered as the first books printed using the movable type approach. Philippine literary works did not stop here. As a matter of fact, thousands of titles of books have been created and published from 1593 up to the present time in the Philippines resulting to the improvement and development of the printing system and publication industry of the country.
Due to these evangelical works of the Spanish missionaries, these first books particularly 'Doctrina Christiana' were printed and had been an integral part of Philippine history thus our beloved land became 'the only Christian country in the Far East'.