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Before the invention of woodblock printing in China or by moveable type in a printing press in Europe, all written documents had to be both produced and reproduced by hand. Historically, manuscripts were produced in write a letter clipart alphabet of scrolls volumen in Latin or books codex, plural codices.
Manuscripts were produced on vellum and other parchment, on papyrusand on paper. In Russia birch bark documents as old as from the 11th century have survived. In India, the palm leaf manuscriptwith a distinctive long rectangular shape, was used from ancient times until the 19th century.
Paper spread from China via the Islamic world to Europe by the 14th century, and by the late 15th century had largely replaced parchment for many purposes. When Greek or Latin works were published, numerous professional copies were made simultaneously by scribes in a scriptoriumeach making a single copy from an original that was declaimed aloud.
The oldest written manuscripts have been preserved by the perfect dryness of their Middle Eastern resting places, whether placed within sarcophagi in Egyptian tombs, or reused as mummy -wrappings, discarded in the middens of Oxyrhynchus or secreted for safe-keeping in jars and buried Nag Hammadi library or stored in dry caves Dead Sea scrolls.
Manuscripts in Tocharian languageswritten on palm leaves, survived in desert burials in the Tarim Basin of Central Asia.
Volcanic ash preserved some of the Roman library of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum. The oldest known dated Arabic manuscript on paper in Leiden University Librarydated AD Lectionary Inside the letter is a picture of a master in cathedra expounding on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates.
Initial "V" rendered as "U" of "Vita brevis, ars vero longa", or "Life is short, but the art is long". Image of two facing pages of the illuminated manuscript of "Isagoge", fols.
On the top of the left hand page is an illuminated letter "D" - initial of "De urinarum differencia negocium" The matter of the differences of urines. Inside the letter is a picture of a master on bench pointing at a raised flask while lecturing on the "Book on urines" of Theophilus.
The right hand page is only shown in part. On its very bottom is an illuminated letter "U" - initial of "Urina ergo est colamentum sanguinis" Urine is the filtrate of the blood. Inside the letter is a picture of a master holding up a flask while explaining the diagnostic significance of urine to a student or a patient.
Ironically, the manuscripts that were being most carefully preserved in the libraries of antiquity are virtually all lost. Papyrus has a life of at most a century or two in relatively moist Italian or Greek conditions; only those works copied onto parchment, usually after the general conversion to Christianity, have survived, and by no means all of those.
Originally, all books were in manuscript form. In China, and later other parts of East Asia, woodblock printing was used for books from about the 7th century. The earliest dated example is the Diamond Sutra of In the Islamic world and the West, all books were in manuscript until the introduction of movable type printing in about Manuscript copying of books continued for a least a century, as printing remained expensive.
Private or government documents remained hand-written until the invention of the typewriter in the late 19th century.
Because of the likelihood of errors being introduced each time a manuscript was copied, the filiation of different versions of the same text is a fundamental part of the study and criticism of all texts that have been transmitted in manuscript.
This type of document was rare compared to the usual leaves and bamboo staves that were inscribed. However, neither the leaves nor paper were as durable as the metal document in the hot, humid climate.
In Burmathe kammavaca, Buddhist manuscripts, were inscribed on brass, copper or ivory sheets, and even on discarded monk robes folded and lacquered. In Italy some important Etruscan texts were similarly inscribed on thin gold plates:If you have the time, scroll down this amazing list of links to printable books online for free.
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