Rise of Literacy

Banned Authors – who got on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

Many noteworthy authors were put on the Index librorum prohibitorum because their works were seen to cause religious, political and moral controversies. Famous names on the Roman Index include: – Greek and the Roman authors like Ovid and Petronius – religious reformers like Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Jean Calvin – humanists like Erasmus of […]

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International Literacy Day 2018 with Rise of Literacy project

On September 8, International Literacy Day, established by UNESCO, is celebrated around the world. This year’s theme is ‘Literacy and skills development’. Literacy is strongly connected to improving people’s life and the growth of societies but they are still persisting challenges despite the global progress. For several weeks on this blog we have been exploring how […]

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The Correspondence of Heloise and Abelard: Love, Friendship and Philosophy in the Middle Ages

What led to the most famous medieval correspondence? A thwarted love affair! The passionate relationship between Abelard and Heloise in 12th-century France was well-known even in the Middle Ages and has remained popular ever since. Left: Portrait of Peter Abelard, engraving by Charles Mauduit based on Le Carpentier, 1820, Bibliothèque nationale de France, No Copyright […]

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Travelling texts: information networks of the past

The invention of printing in the middle of the 15th century gave rise to the cross-cultural flow of texts throughout Europe. But complex webs of connections also developed later. The 18th-century Italian printer and publisher Remondini and its pedlars is a brilliant example. Remondini world map – Mappe Monde ou description du globe terrestre : […]

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How primary sources transcend time and transform our connection with history

If you want to know what was it like to live in the Florence of 1400, to discover how the monks of Novacella Monastery begun to produce wine or to trace the development of a public institution, you’ve got to go back to their documents. Texts like chronicles, memories and biographies as well as statutes, […]

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A Variety of Newspaper Formats

News is news, whether it appears in tabloids, broadsheets, newsbooks or the popular Berliner format. The reader is supposed to focus on the content and not the format. Nonetheless, each format was created with a specific intention and they have all influenced the newspapers we recognize today. Many historians agree that the world’s first newspaper […]

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Book Censorship and Banned Books: the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Did you know that the earliest known list of recommended and banned books dates from about 496? It was issued by Pope Gelasius I. Printed lists of banned books existed since the beginning of the escalating religious conflicts of the 1520s. They were published in the Dutch Catholic regions (1529), in Venice (1543), and in […]

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Text Announcement in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Books didn’t always have title pages! The title page only developed gradually over the 15th and 16th centuries.  Before that time, different methods were used to announce the author(s), title, edition, place of publication, printer, publisher and publication date. The elements indicating the beginning and the closing of individual textual units in medieval manuscripts persisted […]

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