What Would the World Be Like Without Books?
July 10, 2012
What is a world without books? It would be a different one if we didn't have books now. And sadly, there probably wouldn't be any librarians or libraries to hold all those good words and pictures on paper that we so delicately care for. And what about the ever increasing technology that we have now? Would we have that too? In comparison to our human history, it seems like the written language and the ability to copy it into a book format has just been around for a few seconds. To show you what I mean, here are just a few highlights I jotted down from our Facts on File Ancient and Medieval History Online database, which put some facts in perspective for me.
Language and Writing:
- Proto-writing is found to be the earliest writing systems.
- Found in the Neolithic Period - way back in the seventh millennium BCE (before the Common or Christian Era)
- Had symbols that represented objects/ideas on tablets
- Formal/proper writing started in the Bronze age or about the fourth millennium BCE.
- Proto-Elamite started in Persia (Iran) during fourth millennium BCE
- Ancient Egyptians—3200 BCE had writing.
- The Chinese—had proto-writing beginning somewhere around 6000 BCE.
- Anatolian hieroglyphs—island of Crete 2nd millennium BCE
- Biggest advancement was alphabetic writing in the Iron Age.
Printing and Books:
- Paper - invented in China during 200 BCE
- Mass produced from mulberry bark or hemp
- Sheets of paper were pasted together on a roll with a wooden roller
- Printing with woodblocks - 680 and 750 BCE
- Associated with Buddhist religion
- Helped to spread literacy
- Increased Chinese literature/poetry
- Western Civilization had its progress with the printing press.
- One of the pivotal moments in the advancement of Western civilization was the invention of moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg. Although the precise date is not known, around 1455 he published his 42-line Bible, a Latin Vulgate version of the text that is considered to be the earliest example of a complete work printed with moveable type.
There are many things we can be thankful for in light of all of our human history—one out of the many is being able to check out a good book and read it through the night.