Short History of the Book

history of the book

Admiror te paries non cecidisse ruinis
qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas.

Hello Apple! You always read books in your life, right? But, have you ever wondered about its history? If you did, come on then!

Even If invention of the writing is a major innovation for the world history, there is more important invention than it; LITERATURE! The person who invented writing after prehistory period, did not know that he initiates the masterminds, such as Homer, to write. In those years, usage area of writing was so restricted. You know what that means? The people were just writing on tablets or ceramics… I know Apple, you are sad for them, because there was no Harry Potter or LOTR in that age.

Yes; there was no Harry Potter, BUT, they had Iliad and they wrote that in Greek. Actually we call the language as Greek but, we should call that as Phoenician. Because according to some people, the Ancient Greek language was taken from Phoenician and they have adapted the language in their own way. Although Phoenician had the knowledge of writing, they did not know how to read. As far as we know, reading has started in Ancient Greek period, this is because the alphabet was really important. The children have learnt the alphabet and reading in the academies but in addition to academies, there were some other methods to teach them. For instance, the rich families were giving name to the slaves such as Zeta, Eta or Iota; these specific names corresponded to the letters and It made easier to learn each letter. Additionally, If the children could not learn letters, they were trying another method which is DRAMA! In that age, some dramas were staged to teach the letters for children. A drama to teach the alphabet Apple! We should appreciate them. Plus; they were reading Homer in the academies, aren’t they right to organize a drama? Sure, they are.

All right, In ancient age, they were not using the paper that we do. They have written on tablets or ceramics at first. Later on, they have started to use papyrus(Its meter range was 3 and 5) and this invention was like printing press for their age. Because, the invention of papyrus enabled them writing freely, not only this, the writing material, which name is byblion or kylindro, made possible to keep the texts safe. Being safe was important in that the papyrus was really but really expensive such that there was an enormous trade area for it. So, If you lost or get your papyrus stolen, It would be a disaster for you. Although It was an expensive item, you could not write throughout the papyrus, there were some using technique and logic to write. Firstly, you cannot use the both surface of the papyrus; It was a shame. Yes, It was not a life or death issue but If you use it like that, the papyrus was decreasing in value and It was called as opisthographos in other words roughcast. However, you could not sell it no more.

In those years, literary texts were quite rare and significant because If you wanted to get a text, you had to handwrite or find a scribal for it, that is why, the texts were kept as a golden Apple! Because of its value, they were written with calligraphy that you could understand today which texts are literature. And, as far as we know, Plato and Aristotle have their own libraries.

On the other hand, modern-day’s books risen to the surface with the codex. The codex format of the books are the same as we use today but, they were not produced with paper. They were produced with papyrus or parchment. Actually with the codex, papyrus’ value decreased because when you put the papyrus as successive, It comes to a state of impossible to read and carry. So, parchment was more suitable than the papyrus. The codex format was also a revolution like papyrus, they have started to produce books with parchment as codex and kept them in the private libraries. We could read Homer today, this means that, they were seen Homer’s text worthwhile to keep for them.

Finally, the history of the writing and the book starts with tablets, then It continues with papyrus, parchment and codex. Today; paper, which was found in 8th century, is used as the last invention and It evolves to the digital gradually. So, we could say that the paper resists to the digital as papyrus did. What you think Apple? Will the paper overcome of the digital?


If you have any question, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment.
The Worm.


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