History of Paper

Medieval lords had castle accounts, right?  On what were these written?  Did they call them paper, or parchment?  Were they made of dried skins, linen, paper? During the 8th century, Chinese papermaking spread to the Islamic world, where pulp mills and paper mills were used for papermaking and money making. By the 11th century, papermaking was brought to Europe. It was common enough by the 13th century for a decree from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1221 to declare all official documents written on paper to be invalid! https://paper.gatech.edu/invention-paper-0 “Medieval paper was made from linen rags. It is much stronger and more durable than modern wood-pulp paper, and fifteenth-century scribes were wrong if they believed that it would not survive. Rag paper is manufactured as follows. White rags are sorted and washed thoroughly in a tub pierced with drainage holes and they are Read more…

Books in the Middle Ages

Books have been around as long as there has been writing–it’s just that in the past, they were less accessible, expensive, and rare.  Many, many fewer people were literate, especially as we understand the word (see my post on literacy: https://sarahwoodbury.com/?p=1310). “Every stage in the creation of a medieval book required intensive labor, sometimes involving the collaboration of entire workshops. Parchment for the pages had to be made from the dried hides of animals, cut to size and sewn into quires; inks had to be mixed, pens prepared, and the pages ruled for lettering. A scribe copied the text from an established edition, and artists might then embellish it with illustrations, decorated initials, and ornament in the margins. The most lavish medieval books were bound in covers set with enamels, jewels, and ivory carvings.”  Source: The Art of the Book Read more…