Most of us have learned about the creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg when we were in school. However, is that really the beginning of published works? Johannes Gutenberg didn't invent the printing press until 1440-50, so how were books and other works published before the printing press?
Before the invention of writing, information and stories were shared through word-of-mouth or oral telling. You might associate the concept with the children's game of "telephone" or plain old gossiping. However, this was once the best was to communicate. Some people's primary jobs were to orally communicate with others, they were known as bards and criers. A bard was a story teller while a crier, usually working for and under the protection of the king, would shout out the news for all to hear.
The earliest known written works consisted of cuneiform characters, wedge shaped characters, carved onto clay tablets roughly fuve inches in length. These were used by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hittites. A scribe would use a stylus to carve characters into the clay while it was still wet. Once the characters were formed and the tablet complete, it would be baked in a kiln, a large oven used for baking clay, or left out in the sun to dry.
Once Aramaic language, and the alphebet, grew in popularity during the 6th century B. C., the papyrus roll became a more popular option.
The papyrus roll originated in Ancient Egypt and resembled paper. The papyrus is a reedy plant that grows in the Nile Valley. Strips of papyrus pith were pulled from the plant and laid out at right angles from each other before being glued together. The roll closely resembled paper, was cream colored, and was used with ink and either a reed pen or a brush. Due to the fragile nature on the papyrus roll, many scrolls were destroyed over time, however, some were preserved in dryer climates.
The Chinese were the third to produce an extensive amount of written works. It is believed that the Chinese were producing books as early as 1300 B. C. Their books were constructed of wood and bamboo strips, bound together using cords.
The Greeks also used the papyrus roll and passed their knowledge and techniques to the Romans. Alexander the Great played a pivotal role in establishing books in the Greek culture. He also played a monumental role in the developement of the first libraries, including the Library of Alexandria. Unfortunately, the majority of Greej texts presumed to have been in the Library of Alexandria were destroyed. School texts survived best due to their wide disbursement throughout the land.
The Romans built libraries similar to those of the Greeks, but they kept manscripts written in bth Greek and Latin. They progressed beyond libraries by developing the book trade and inventing bookshops.
Book ownership quickly spread throughout the upper classes of society. Having a private library became a badge os social standing. The bigger your collection, the higher your station.
The Romans needed a way to produce a vast amount of books quickly in order to meet the rise in demand. They utilized slave labor in order to produce multiple copies at a time. It also helped to lower the costs so that families of a more moderate income were able to purchase books. Slave copiests would have a book dictated to them; this allowed publishers to turn out up to 30 copies at a time.
The publishers also had the choice of what to publish. By being able to choose, they were able to pay authors, choose size and format, and set sales prices to turn a profit.
After the papyrus roll came the Codex, during the Christian era. The Codex construction more closely resembled our modern books and wuickly replaced the papyrus roll. A codex consisted of leaves that were folded and bound together on one side. This allowed reaers to more easily locate their spot and allowed both sides of the leaf to be written on. This also allowed for longer works to be published. For instance, when using the papyrus roll, the book of Matthew from the New Testament took an entire roll, while the codex could hold the first four books of the New Testament.
As the codex grew in popularity, a search for better materials began. This is when vellum and parchment entered the scene. Vellum is ultimately a finer version of parchment. Parchment is a form of leather, a greatly refined form of leather, made from cattle, goat, or sheep skin; vellum was usually made from calf skin. The skin would be stretched tight using a frame and scraped to remove and hair or flesh still attached to the skin. When the skin was ready, it would be whitened using chalk and smoothed using a pumice stone.
Now it was ready to be ut into large sheets. Vellum and parchment were more flexible and durable than papyrus and could be cut into larger sheets. Unlike papyrus, it could also be written on both sides. Despite its advantages, the codex and the papyrus roll co-existed for approximately 400 years.
The fall of the roman Empire in the 5th century brought with it great consequences for the world of books. Marauders and barbarians became a common part of life anf they threatened the very existence of the written word. Thankfully, a refuge rose up in the form of monasteries.
Monasteries quickly gained charge of books. They both created and housed books in their own libraries. Due to the large amount of books being stored there, it became impossible to copy boks once the sun went down because of the increased risk of fires. This fact slowed the production of books considerably.
The medieval books, like the ones stored in the various monasteries, were in codex form and utilized either vellum or parchment. However, by the 5th century, paper was also a common medium. Medieval books were reknowned for their beautiful, intricate illustrations which were also considered to have perfect coloring. The medieval books were also the original model for our current books.
During the 12th century, universities arose in the larger cities and helped to increase the production of books by hiring stationers to help meet the rise in demand. They also regulated the content, size, and price of the books that they printed.
Humanistic and vernacular books also rose in demand, increasing an interest in classical literature amoung the common people. Vernacular literature is any book written in the language of the common peoples. These stories arose during the medieval era, mostly by word of mouth and anonymous authors. By the 14th and 15th centuries, the vernacular books became much more common, many of the anonymous authors finally making it into print, and new authors writing for the first time.
With the rise of vernacular literature, the education level of the lower classes also rose. Books soon became known as a tradeable item and paper began to replace vellum.
"history of publishing".Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online.
Encyclopdia Britannica Inc., 2017. Web. 21 May. 2017
We all have experiences that we know will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Some of these experiences last mere moments, while others can encompass entire years.
In the summer of 2007, I found myself volunteering at a place called Eagles Summit Ranch. At that time, I was unaware that those fleeting months would leave a lasting impression on me, but now I know. I know that summer will remain with me for a very long time.
I was sixteen, living outside of a small town, in the beautiful Colorado countryside. It was one of those places where everyone knew each other. Being so far away from town made it difficult for me to meet up with my friends during the summer months. Instead, I would spend a lot of time helping out at my grandparents’ restaurant.
I enjoyed working at the restaurant. The whole store was rich with rustic charm, while still being comfortable and welcoming. Early in the morning, a few customers, usually locals, would arrive, before the sun had truly come up. They would drink their coffee and tell stories. I loved hearing all of the stories, especially my grandpa’s.
One day, during the early morning, a new couple came in for breakfast. I quickly learned that their names were John and Mary and that they were working at Eagles Summit Ranch. At that time, I didn’t know much about the ranch and most of my knowledge came from riding the school bus past it twice a day.
I knew that I loved the location most of all. Eagles Summit Ranch was nestled between two hills and had a beautiful grassy field, which was kind of uncommon in the area. I did not know how big it was or who owned it, mostly I knew that it was one of the few places I liked to look at as we drove by, and that they had a big sign by one of the entrances that read: Eagles Summit Ranch.
Over time, I grew to know and like John and Mary. They were one of the happy couples who I looked forward to seeing in the restaurant. Mary was always happy and so full of life. She was easy to talk to, even though I am sure that I wasn’t always the greatest conversationalist. I never have been and teens can be hard to talk to from time to time. If I ever truly bothered her though with my random silly banter, she never let on. John was a jovial man who told a lot of jokes and had a laugh that lifted your spirits if you were down in the dumps. I also loved that he was one of the few people whose jokes I actually understood and found funny. He would always ask me about school and boys, which made me laugh.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but once summer began, I began volunteering at Eagles Summit Ranch whenever I could. I would walk to my grandparent’s restaurant, across the street, and wait for John and Mary, or sometimes another Eagles Summit Ranch employee, and after breakfast, I would ride over to the ranch with them.
At the beginning of summer there wasn’t much to the ranch. A small cabin served as a gathering area, where we would often take breaks or have lunch. Behind this was the office. Basically the office was exactly what it sounds like, an office. I didn’t spend much time there.
Down a small dirt drive, past where I could see from the school bus windows, there was a large metal structure being built. I came to think of this as a giant garage, but that was not the only purpose it served. On top of another small hill, a large house, which I referred to as the main house, was also under construction.
Being sixteen, I was given small jobs, such as picking up trash, sweeping away sawdust, or helping bring supplies from one place to another. Occasionally I would help make lunch or do some small tasks in the office. Once, I merely watched two younger kids for the day since there was nothing else for me to do that day. It was a rather fun day, all things told. Though the jobs I was assigned were not extremely important in the grand scheme of things, I loved being there and being a part of everything that was going on.
I quickly grew to like everyone who worked there. One man, whom everyone called Bert, knew a lot about the horses and even let me help him with some of the jobs that he did, as long as they were not too dangerous. He also had three daughters that came by, one of which was rather close to my own age, and we got along great.
I liked helping Brian and Daphne, another couple who worked there, as well. Brian was a quiet man and worked near the giant metal structure most of the time. Though he didn’t say much, he was nice and let me help when I could. Daphne was very friendly as well and taught me a lot of little things that I still use today, such as how to make a ton of sweet tea in a hurry and how to wash grease off of my hands quickly and without turning the bathroom sink into an unsightly mess.
Every so often, a large group of volunteers would come up and help at the ranch. Many of these parties came from other states, such as Texas. I helped them when they came, as if I was a part of the group as well, and in a way I suppose I was. With one group, we dug large holes every so many feet, so that they large metal fence posts could be buried. This was a beautiful fence, and I loved the way that it looked when it was all finished.
I also learned many useful and interesting things while I was there. Some of which I was unable to try, such as using the wet saw to cut the tile, or lay the hard wood flooring, but I learned a lot from watching and talking to the people doing those jobs, usually I was there to hand them something when they needed it, but not always. I learned how to glue down flooring, stain wood, lay tile, and even caulk windows. It was fun and if I ever need to know these things in the future, I have always wanted to flip a house, I will be very thankful for the knowledge.
By the end of summer, the main house was finished and the ranch was ready. Over the summer I had learned that Eagles Summit Ranch was not just another ranch in the area, but a place for soldiers and their families to learn how to take their injuries and make something better out of it. A place where they could find help and healing.
I had met Dave Roever and his family over the summer months. Mr. Roever served in the Vietnam War as a young man and had suffered extensive burns after a white phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand. After returning home, his injuries and the way he was treated, inspired him to found the Roever Foundation, which Eagles Summit Ranch was a part of.
The Roever Foundation seeks to help soldiers, and their families, who have suffered injuries, physical and otherwise, by teaching them how to speak publicly about their experiences. However, this is not their only function. They also provide scholarships to students, both foreign and domestic, who are seeking degrees in a wide variety of subjects. They have also constructed hospitals and provided medical supplies and care in Vietnam.
Dave Roever has been invited to speak in many high schools across the nation. During his speech, he addresses the usual topics of drugs, alcohol, and sex as well as teaches about hope and faith. Though I did not have the privilege to see him speak in my own high school, my father told me that he saw him speak when he was a teenager in high school.
At the end of the summer, the ranch had an opening event that was also a welcoming event for the first visitors. I was invited along with my grandparents. I helped set up for the event. The event was held in the large metal building at the far end of the ranch. I was honored to meet the men and women and was moved by their bravery as they each told some of their stories.
Once school resumed it became impractical for me to continue volunteering my time. I was saddened about no longer being able to come to the ranch every day, but in truth, with the main house complete, there was not much left that I could have helped with anyway, and I had plenty to do with school. I still helped out at my grandparents’ restaurant on the weekends and was able to see many of the people I had grown to know there.
I grew to love Eagles Summit Ranch and all the people that worked there and volunteered there. All of the people that joined together for the common goal of helping others. I still get updates on the ranch from time to time and follow Dave Roever and the Roever Foundation on social media.
I will carry with me all of the memories that I made there and all of the wonderful things that I learned there. Not only the practical things, like laying tile, but also what I learned about others and about myself.
If you would like to learn more about Dave Roever, The Roever Foundation, or Eagles Summit Ranch, you can visit their website at www.roeverfoundation.org or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Dave-Roever-152322355947/ or on Twitter at @daveroever. You may also like to read one of Dave’s books about his time in Vietnam, I did and it helped me to better understand Eagles Summit Ranch and how needed programs like this are.
In my home, we have an open bookshelf policy. When I first told my husband that I stood firmly behind the open bookshelf policy, he had to ask me what I meant.
When I was younger, I went to a friend's home. On this visit I learned what a closed bookshelf policy was. Ultimately, a closed bookshelf policy implies that only a designated person or persons may remose and or read the books on specific ot all shelves. Of course, my friend did not label it s "closed bookshelf" the way that I have, they simply told me that I could not touch the books. I envisioned a grate blocking the shelf.
When a child is told that they cannot touch a book, in my opinion and experience, they immediately associate this negative reprimand to the book or books themselves. With today’s unlimited amounts of internet, video games, and movies on demand, there is already a sizable amount of competition with books. I have decided to shrink this barrier in any way possible within my own home.
Books are a vital and useful tool in shaping young minds. Not only do they provide information, instruction, and guidance but they also fuel imagination, inspire ideas, and cultivate wisdom.
So, I have implemented an open bookshelf policy in my home.
My children have known the joys of books since the first day I brought them home from the hospital. I have read to my children before they were born and have made sure that they have books they enjoy ever since. Both of my children paid their first visit to the library around the time they were two or three months old.
I have made sure that my children have access to many books to read and browse and look through at all times. Yes, this means that I am constantly picking books up from the floor, the beds, the tables and chairs, but that is a small price to pay to know that my children are looking at books and trying to read them and inventing their own stories.
That said, I often find them leafing through my books, pretending to read them. I have never told my children ‘no’ to leafing through my books.
Of course, as with any parent, when they were younger, I have had to remind them “don’t tear the pages out” and “we don’t color in books.” Between the three of them, I have only “lost” three books, and one library book that we had to replace, to their mishandling them. Though these “loses” were disheartening, I would do it all over again. There is no reason to restrict their access to my shelves.
Watching my kids fall in love with books is an amazing thing for me. Seeing them excited about a trip to the library, or browsing goodreads with me for new titles is the joy of introducing them to books. Even though I know that as they grow older they may lose some of that enthusiasm. But for now, seeing their faces light up, glowing while we read, knowing they can bring me a book and climb into my lap and I will read to them, sometimes the same book over and over again, is amazing.
I do own exactly three books they are not allowed to handle. These books are old and rare, and one is in extremely rough condition already. I do not feel that eliminating these books violates my open bookshelf policy, however, because I do not keep them on the bookshelf but in a locked drawer and rarely handle them myself.
Each reader and household has to decide for themselves whether or not to have an open bookshelf policy. I highly encourage households with children to consider the benefits of such a policy.
I would love to hear about your bookshelf policies.
Sometimes it is hard for us mere mortals to keep in mind what is really important to us. We get caught up in the little things and forget to see the big picture. In doing this we can find ourselves missing the little things that are more important.
As you may very well know, I have recently had some computer issues, in the form of one really nasty virus. Because I was not writing on my blog, my visits took a dive, and a big one. Where I had been getting a steady stream of visitors weekly, whether I posted something or not, that stream dwindled rapidly as more and more time away from my blog went by. Today, I finally got my computer working properly for the first time in weeks. Which meant I could have started working on my blog immediately. I kind of did too. I posted on my Facebook and my twitter that I now had my computer working and would soon be posting again, especially book reviews for all of the books that I finished in the time that my computer was out of sorts.
I didn't start right away though. As much as I wanted to write all of you wonderful and loyal followers that I have on here, there was something more important going on in my living room. My daughter was practicing writing her letters, and my son was telling me a story from one of his picture books, The Pokey Little Puppy. Even though he can't read, it was one of the best stories I have heard in a while.
I am very grateful to all of my followers, without you I would not have a blog. Though I have been away, for a small amount of time, my family is more important to me than my blog. When I do post, this post, you may see it and come read it. If someone shares it I may have additional followers before I know it, but in a week you may be tired of my posts and no longer visit, but in a week, my children are going to be older, and so am I, and if I do not prioritize my life correctly, I will miss the things I truly do not want to miss.
Thank you all for following my blog, and I hope this post doesn't run anyone off. I will have more posts coming very soon, for even though my computer wasn't working, I was still writing. I have many things to share with you, and many more things to say.
I wanted to post something about the moon, but what really is there left to say about it. It has all been said at one point or another. It amazes me how the moon can mean so much to so many people. It is everywhere, for centuries. From literature the television, the moon has held a a special place in the lives of millions of people. But why?
I have no idea. I don't even know why exactly the moon means so much to me, but it does. I feel like the moon is a close friend. Someone to talk to when everyone else is asleep. It makes the night less dark. when everything in life seems dark, it is there to remind me that the smallest amount of light can penetrate the darkness.
I have always felt more at home in the moonlight than in the sunlight. In a world that thrives on humiliation, the nighttime is the one time you can avoid all of the judgment, of you want to.
I have no idea what the moon means to anyone else. I know that the moon I look at in Missouri is the same moon that I used to look at in Colorado and it will be the same moon anywhere else that I go.
I do sometimes wonder if the moon would mean so much to me, if I hadn't grown up reading and watching it mean something to someone else. Weather I was nose deep into a good book that had a great moon scene or if I was watching Home Alone with my family, it has always been something that everyone else seemed to find magical. If I hadn't had that influence would it still mean so much, I don't know, and quite frankly, I don't care. It means something to me now and it has for such a long time.
There isn't much left to say about the moon, it has all been said before, but that doesn't mean that it isn't still important.
It is supposed to be the place for the entire family. A place where they can let go of all of the things from their day and talk to one another and spend quality time with one another. It is supposed to be where we are nourished; bodies, hearts, and minds. Where we find comfort and belonging. Around the dinner table.
Does the dinner table still hold the value that it once did? Most people still have a table in their homes, for such a purpose, but I wonder how many people actually sit down with the family at the dinner table on an ordinary night.
Does it matter? Is the dinner table the important place that it used to be? We still have good food, whether we eat it at the table somewhere else, right? So why is it so important? Maybe because it was a place for families to connect and spend a little time together at the end of a long day. Whether that day had you out in the corn field or in an office or chasing children through the house and backyard.
Has something been lost since the dinner table has been replaced with couches and the drive-thru? I'm not sure. A lot of people say that it has, and even I feel like it has from time to time, but I think it is still the table that brings a family together. Maybe it isn't the original dinner table, in the dinning room, with plates set up nicely and beautiful dishes of food down the center. Maybe instead it has simply evolved into other parts if our lives.
The most important part of the dinner table was the connections made and the time spent with family. I think that , if we aren't going to be sitting around the dinner table every night, well that's alright, as long as we still have that means of connecting in some way or another. We still congregate around food, we still seek that time with family and friends. And as long as we continue to do that, I think we are going to be just fine.
photo credit: ProFlowers.com place setting for The Bachelor viewing party with a rustic theme red roses in a glass vase plates silverware napkin via photopin (license)
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
I, like so many others, grew up hearing this phrase. My parents told me to remember it if ever I was bullied. I wasn't supposed to allow mean words to hurt me.
When I was older, I learned that words could hurt much worse than a broken bone, as well as, take longer to heal.
Words are powerful. They build cities, invent technology, and help to reduce poverty. They enforce laws, discover new places, and construct governments. They can also raise forests, demolish countries, and enslave people. They can inspire hate, breed unrest, and incite chaos.
Words are magical. They create heroines, ride dragons, and battle pirates. They grow friendships, inspire dreamers, and kindle hope.
Words can bring people together or tear them apart. Words, spoken or written, English or French, have the power no stone or stick will ever have.
We should always think about the words we use.
Adulthood holds so many things for those just entering into it. You have to choose where to live, where to work, what to drive, etc. etc. But I feel that often we find, these hard decisions, the ones that give us pause, aren't actually that life changing of decisions.
I know some people will laugh at me and say that I a crazy for saying such a thing, but I mean it. It isn't the decisions of whether or not to buy a house or what car to drive that change our lives the most. Its the little ones. The decisions we barely realize we are making that change our lives the most.
The decision to run to the store to by a gallon of milk today rather than tomorrow. Deciding to go out with friends or stay in and study. Choosing to have one more glass of wine or bottle of beer on Valentine's Day.
These all seem like pretty innocent, not life changing decisions. But what if while at the store, you meet the man you will one day marry. If you had waited until tomorrow, he wouldn't have been there. Or going out with friends lands you in the hospital after your car gets hit by a drunk driver or you fail the test that would have changed your chances of getting into the school of your choosing.
I know there are a lot of big decisions that do really change our lives . Like buying your first house, going to college, and or choosing to have a family (big one there).
Getting married. Another big decision, but how did you meet the man on his knee before you? How long have you been dating? Have you already moved in together? Taken that last step into the intimacy realm? When you think of all of it together, the bigger decision was going to the store to buy the milk, in a lot of cases.
So is it more the little decisions or the big ones?
Spring calls to us. The sun begins to warm the earth and wakens the animals and flowers. It warms the waters and wakens us from our winter slumbers. The air flows through the meadows and gardens. It stirs our hair and brings smiles to our faces.
Flowers bloom and bring color to our world along with their intoxicating perfumes. Grills are lit and balls are tossed. Laughter echoes from parks and schoolyards. The beauties of Spring abound and capture our hearts.
Spring brings to mind bright green sunlight filtering down through the trees while the ropes of our tree swing creak with every forward motion we make. The splash of water as we leap into the swimming hole. The whack of a baseball against a bat at the local little league game.聽
Spring is here. Spring is all around us. It makes us better and drives us to be better. Spring is here. Spring is now
I can't help but wonder about what drives people to do some of the things that they do. Why did Van Gogh paint 'Starry Night?' Who came up with the dry erase marker? Why do some ideas take off while others don't?
It's a lot like when I look at fashion magazine and think: besides Lady Gaga, who would wear that, especially to work or on a date? I guess it is all of the little things, though, that make us such an interesting species. Humans are weird. Which for us is normal. We get these crazy ideas in our heads and we can't get them out. They sit there, in our heads, and simmer until they are fully cooked and then we plate them and serve them up for the rest of humanity to poke and prod and judge.
It doesn't matter where you came from either. It doesn't matter what your parents did for a living or where you bought your clothes, or how you wear your hair, or even what country you come from.
Wow. Imagine that.
Makes me proud, if a little puzzled, to be human.
Stephanie Tiner loves all things writing. After struggling to learn how to read as a child, Stephanie eventually found her way and fell in love with the written word. The first book she read from cover to cover without help was "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. After falling in love with reading, she quickly fell in love with writine. Stephanie Tiner lives with her husband, children, and her dog in Missouri and hopes to someday be a published author.
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