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Lecture

Erasmus .odt


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 3020F/G
Professor
Jeffrey Temple

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Temple October 19th
Printing and Erasmus
What came before printing? : Manuscripts (Manus=Hand) Hand written.
This is the way in which information was preserved and handed down in medieval era. It was written on
papyrus. Late 6th century this changed.... This is because Islam emerges and the western world is cut off
the papyrus (which comes from egypt)
Benedictine: manual labour everyday for monks. One way was copying out manuscripts.
These months are engaging in preserving and copying manuscripts. Books are rare and valuable.
The work in scriptorium.
Books in monastery would be on a chain because they were so valuable.
There is a kind of mass production in there monasteries. A given monk may be given a page or two to
copy over and over again. The literacy of these clerics are not always certain. The monks may not be able
to read but are able to write. More like art than literacy.
Books were produced on parchment(sheep skin) and vellum (cow's)
Lightly line these pages(grid pattern) and then they would copy the print along these lines.
If one text you didn't need you would scrape them clean and reuse it.
So sometimes there can be layers of writing.
Illuminated manuscripts: illuminated with gold and silver. However in a broad way it refers to painted
manuscripts.
Colours come from: semiprecious stones and dye mixed with ink.
Nobles would sometimes commission these texts.
Consequences of manuscripts:
Expensive
Take teams of people over a long period of time
Errors would occur --> When you produce books this way errors happen so some copies of a book may
be different (this is what the humanists do they take the books and compare them and consolidate)
Knowledge would be localized because one area may have the only copy of a book.
Johann Gutenberg:
Invents the printing press in 1450
He take several existing strands of tech and fuses them together
(he was a gold smith)
Screw press (used to press wine or olive oil)
He used the screw press with a flat plate and movable type.
Developed iron alloy and he carves out individual letters
You build the page: take individual letters and place them in the order you want on your tray. You roll ink
over the type and lay paper over the top and you press the plate onto the page.
You can print the same paper over and over again.
There is a simultaneous development in paper production. Somewhere between 1390-1490 paper mills
appear. Pulp you smash down and dry it out. (they were using cloth pulp) Process is mechanized to make
it faster and easier.
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