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Dec 18


We have missed our dedicated readers and we are so excited to connect again. We are back to complement and enrich your information and learning interests.

Our choice to reach you via our website and mobile application, is to ensure we stay together remotely across the globe; hoping that it is a better experience than our previous print version.

We want to reach you wherever you are, and look forward to your feedback, so we can learn and share from you as well.

Toyin Wura Oke


How Did Books Come About Anyway?

Before the invention of the printing press, almost all books were copied by hand, which made books expensive and rare. Different types of ink were known in antiquity, usually prepared from soot and gum, and later also from gall nuts and iron vitriol. This gave writing a brownish black color, but black or brown were not the only colors used. At first, books were copied mostly in monasteries, one at a time. 

Photo: religiondispatches

Photo: religiondispatches

With increasing number of universities in the 13th century, the manuscript culture of the time led to more demand for books, and a new system for coping books began. 

Books were divided into unbound leaves (pecia), which were lent out to different copyist, so the speed of book production was considerably increased. At one in time religious books were incredibly costly to make, and therefore extremely valuable, so they were kept in chained libraries. Such libraries allowed people to read only, and not taken away, though some were still stolen. In Wells Cathedral, you find only the chain without the books! 

There are still some chained libraries with their books intact in English churches. Among the most famous is the 17th-century library.

About The Ancient Chained Libraries

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