Posted on Nov 23, 2022 212
As they say, the book is a friend of man, but some people still do not appreciate this invaluable source of knowledge and pleasure, forgetting that several centuries ago reading books was available only to the select few. Ancient books were written by hand, so they were unimaginably expensive, and even not every nobleman could afford to have his own library. The talks about them are endless, but we have collected a selection of curious facts about the most interesting of them.
Facts about books
- The prototypes of modern books were recorded on the bark, sheets of soft metal and directly on the rocks. It was rock paintings that allowed us to learn more about primitive people.
- The first books in their modern form were invented in ancient Rome. They were made of sheets of parchment folded in half and stitched together.
- One of the oldest books is the accounting records of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. They are about 4,400 years old. The ancient Egyptians used papyrus, which was made from reeds, as a writing material.
- The ancient Greeks made notebooks from 4 sheets of parchment folded in half and stitched in the middle to make 16 pages for notes. They called them “tetrada.”
- The first mentions of bookends date back to about the 5th century B.C.
- One of the greatest libraries in the world existed in ancient Egyptian Alexandria, about 2300-2400 years ago. Great men such as Euclid and Archimedes gained knowledge there.
- The first book printed with typesetting stamps dates back to 1119.
- In ancient Constantinople, about 1600 ago, there was already a public library with about 120,000 handwritten books. Now Constantinople is called Istanbul.
- Books became relatively accessible in Europe only in the 15th century, when the inventor Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.
- The most popular book in the history of humanity is the Bible, of which over 6 million copies have been printed. In second place is a collection of quotations by Mao Tse Tung, and in third place is “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- The most ancient of all books ever found by archaeologists is the “Poem of Gilgamesh”. It is about 2,700 years old and written on 12 clay tablets in cuneiform.
- The first fiction novel is being “The Tale of Genji,” written in Japan about a thousand years ago.
- The oldest book among those similar to modern books is the Codex Sinaiticus, dated to the 4th century AD. It contains texts from the Old and New Testaments.
- The highest paid writer in history is Stephen King.
- Until the 18th century, books were usually chained in public libraries so that they could not be carried away.
- The world’s first book printed on a typewriter was Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
- The largest book in the world is the “Super Book” published in 1976 in the United States weighing 250 kg and comprising 300 pages.
- Sometimes the love of books takes strange forms. For example, a kleptomaniac Steve Bloomberg robbed 268 libraries during his lifetime and took from them over 23,000 books, including very rare ones. He stole $20 million worth of books.
- The Voynich manuscript is considered the most mysterious book in the world, and it has not yet been deciphered. It resembles a manuscript written in an unknown language or a znakhar’s guide, except that there are no plants in the world that are painted on the pages of this book. And no one knows the language in which it is written.
- Billionaire Bill Gates paid $24 million at auction for the Leicester Codex, the handwritten book of Leonardo da Vinci in which the brilliant inventor took his notes.
- The Harvard Library holds four ancient books written on parchment made of human skin.
- In the books of William Shakespeare, the word “hate” occurs 10 times less often than the word “love”.
- On average, women buy books almost twice as often as men.
- The author of “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift described in his book the laws of mechanics of celestial bodies surprisingly accurately a hundred years before astronomers could confirm the truth of his claims.
- Since the invention of the printing press, about 2 billion books have been printed on Earth. Now there are about 30 times fewer of them in the world at the same time.