Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic WorksDK
A beautifully illustrated guide to more than 75 of the world's most celebrated, rare, and seminal books and handwritten manuscripts ever produced, with discussions of their purpose, features, and creators.
From ancient masterpieces such as The Art of War, written on the leaves of bamboo, to the stunningly illustrated Birds of America, to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, Remarkable Books delves into the stories behind the most incredible tomes ever produced, offering an insight into their wider social and cultural context, and is chronologically ordered to demonstrate the synergies between the growth in human knowledge and the bookmaking process.
Alongside breathtaking images of the books and manuscripts themselves, close-up views draw out interesting features, which are discussed in greater detail, while biographies tell the lives of the people who produced them. This coffee table-worthy book is wrapped in a textured jacket with gold foil, making it a great gift for those with an interest in literature and art and design.
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BOOKS REMARKABLE US_001_HALF_TITLE.indd 1 13/04/2017 17:26 US_002-003_TITLE.indd 2 13/04/2017 17:26 A Celebration of the World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works REMARKABLE BOOKS Contributors Father Michael Collins with Alexandra Black, Thomas Cussans, John Farndon, and Philip Parker US_002-003_TITLE.indd 3 04/05/2017 12:23 Contents Preface 6 Introduction 8 Ancient Egyptian Books 18 of the Dead Various authors I Ching 24 Author unknown The Art of War 26 Sun Tzu Mahābhārata 28 Vyāsa Dead Sea Scrolls 30 Various authors Vienna Dioscorides 34 Pedanius Dioscorides 3000 bce–999 ce Book of Kells 38 Irish Columban Monks The Blue Qur’an 44 Author unknown Diamond Sutra 46 Author unknown The Exeter Book 48 Author unknown Directory 50 The Tale of Genji 54 Murasaki Shikibu Canon of Medicine 56 Ibn Sīnā The Domesday Book 58 Various scribes 1000–1449 The Gospels of Henry the Lion 60 Monks of Helmarshausen Les Très Riches 64 Heures du Duc de Berry Limbourg Brothers Directory 70 Senior Editor Senior Art Editor Editors Designers US Editor Managing Editor Senior Managing Editor Picture Researchers Senior Jacket Designer Jacket Design Manager Jacket Editor Pre-production Producer Producer Publisher Art Director Publishing Director Kathryn Hennessy Jane Ewart Jemima Dunne, Natasha Khan, Joanna Micklem, Ruth O’Rourke- Jones, Helen Ridge, Zoë Rutland, Alison Sturgeon, Debra Wolter Stephen Bere, Katie Cavanagh, Phil Gamble Kayla Dugger Gareth Jones Lee Griffiths Roland Smithies, Sarah Smithies Mark Cavanagh Sophia MTT Claire Gell Gillian Reid Mandy Inness Liz Wheeler Karen Self Jonathan Metcalf All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under the copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-1-4654-6362-3 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets,345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 SpecialSales@dk.com Printed and bound in China All images © Dorling Kindersley Limited For further information see: www.dkimages.com A WORLD OF IDEAS: SEE ALL THERE IS TO KNOW www.dk.com Arunesh Talapatra Chhaya Sajwan, Devika Khosla Meenal Goel Anukriti Arora Nishtha Kapil Balwant Singh Pankaj Sharma Jaypal Chauhan, Nityanand Kumar, Mohammad Rizwan Senior Managing Art Editor Senior Art Editor Art Editor Assistant Art Edtior Editor Pre-production Manager Production Manager DTP Designers DK INDIA First American Edition, 2017 Published in the United States by DK Publishing 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 Copyright © 2017 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC 17 18 19 20 21 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001-300185-Sep/2017 Lead contributor Father Michael Collins Michael Collins is a graduate of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology in Rome. His initial passion for books and writing stemmed from his interest in calligraphy. It was further fuelled when he discovered that the Book of Kells was once owned by an ancestor, Bishop Henry Jones, who donated it to Trinity College Dublin in 1663. Michael has published books in 12 languages. Contributors Alexandra Black A freelance author, Alexandra Black’s writing career initially took her to Japan. She later worked for a publisher in Australia, before moving to Cambridge, UK. She writes on a range of subjects, from history to business and fashion. Thomas Cussans A freelance historian and author based in France, Thomas Cussans was for many years a publisher responsible for a series of bestselling history atlases. He has contributed to many DK titles, including History: The Definitive Visual Guide. John Farndon A Royal Literary Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, John Farndon is an author, playwright, composer, and poet. He has written many international bestsellers and translated into English verse the plays of Lope de Vega and the poetry of Alexander Pushkin. Philip Parker A historian and former British diplomat and publisher who studied History at Trinity College, Cambridge and International Relations at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Philip Parker is a critically acclaimed author and award-winning editor. Contributors US_004-005_CONTENTS.indd 4 04/05/2017 12:23 Gutenberg Bible 74 Johann Gutenberg Elementa Geometriae 76 Euclid Nuremberg Chronicle 78 Hartmann Schedel Divine Comedy 84 Dante Alighieri Hypnerotomachia Poliphili 86 Author unknown (publisher Aldus Manutius) Harmonice 88 Musices Odhecaton Ottaviano Petrucci The Codex Leicester 90 Leonardo da Vinci Vier Bücher von 94 menschlicher Proportion Albrecht Dürer Il Principe 96 Niccolò Machiavelli Epitome 98 Andreas Vesalius Cosmographia 102 Sebastian Münster Les Prophéties 108 Nostradamus Aubin Codex 110 Various authors The Discoverie of Witchcraft 114 Reginald Scot Don Quixote 116 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra King James Bible 118 Translation committee Hortus Eystettensis 122 Basilius Besler Tutte l’opere d’architettura, 126 et prospetiva Sebastiano Serlio Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, 128 Histories, & Tragedies William Shakespeare Dialogo sopra i due massimi 130 sistemi del mondo Galileo Galilei Bay Psalm Book 132 Richard Mather Directory 134 1450–1649 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 216 L. Frank Baum The Tale of Peter Rabbit 218 Beatrix Potter The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm 222 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (illustrator Arthur Rackham) General Theory of Relativity 226 Albert Einstein Pro Dva Kvadrata 228 El Lissitzky Penguin’s First 10 Paperback Books 230 Various authors (publisher Allen Lane) The Diary of a Young Girl 232 Anne Frank Le Petit Prince 234 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900 ONWARD Le Deuxième Sexe 236 Simone de Beauvoir The Feminine Mystique 237 Betty Friedan Silent Spring 238 Rachel Carson Quotations from Chairman 240 Mao Tse-tung Mao Tse-tung Directory 242 INDEX 246 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 255 Micrographia 138 Robert Hooke Philosophiæ Naturalis 142 Principia Mathematica Sir Isaac Newton Systema Naturae 144 Carolus Linneaus L’Encyclopédie … des Sciences, 146 des Arts et des Métiers Edited by Denis Diderot and Jean d'Alembert A Dictionary of the English Language 150 Samuel Johnson Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis 154 Virgil (printer John Baskerville) Tristram Shandy 156 Laurence Sterne Fables in Verse 160 Aesop (publisher John Newbery) The Wealth of Nations 162 Adam Smith Rights of Man 164 Thomas Paine Songs of Innocence and of Experience 166 William Blake 1650–1899 Birds of America 170 John James Audubon Procedure for Writing Words, 174 Music, and Plainsong in Dots Louis Braille Baedeker guidebooks 176 Karl Baedeker The Pickwick Papers 178 Charles Dickens The Holy Land 180 David Roberts Photographs of British Algae: 186 Cyanotype Impressions Anna Atkins Uncle Tom's Cabin 190 Harriet Beecher Stowe Leaves of Grass 192 Walt Whitman On the Origin of Species 194 Charles Darwin Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 196 Lewis Carroll Das Kapital 200 Karl Marx The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now 202 Newly Imprinted Geoffrey Chaucer (Kelmscott Press) Un Coup de Dés 208 Stéphane Mallarmé Directory 210 US_004-005_CONTENTS.indd 5 13/04/2017 17:26 Preface A book is a remarkable thing. It can represent beauty, knowledge, ideas, freedom, and escapism— and, crucially, what is imparted depends on who is reading it. To one person a book may be a mine of information, which informs, enlightens, and illuminates. To another it may represent a journey into a different life, offering something bigger and more extraordinary than their own world perspective. To others still, a book may be an object of beauty, something to collect, preserve, and treasure. Whatever the motivation for reading, books and the experiences they give us are to be cherished. In theory, what constitutes a book is easy to define: a set of written or printed pages that are bound together and convey information. Yet the first “books,” thousands of years old, were scrolls inscribed with ink, or slabs of bamboo engraved with a script. From these ancient beginnings the handwritten book evolved into a printed artifact, which eventually became mass-produced and available to all. Today a book is still a set of printed pages; yet it may also be a digital file that a person can pay to access but never physically own. The historic importance of the book cannot be overstated, as it is through written documentation that human history and development can be accurately traced. For centuries books were our primary means of spreading knowledge—they communicated religious and spiritual rituals and teachings; they enabled scientific theories to be shared across the world; they disseminated political ideas that unified the disenfranchised of society and formed the seeds of revolution. Once the preserve of the elite, books have evolved over time to form a constant and essential part of human life, whether as a school textbook, a travel guide, a sacred text, or a novel for bedtime reading. Through books we educate our children about the world they live in; through books we teach them how to read. The books on our shelves trace a line through our US_006-007_Preface.indd 6 04/05/2017 15:57 own lives, each one a memory of a time gone by: a place visited, a person we knew, a story we loved. To know and have access to books is a privilege that is easy to underestimate. Today an understanding of the role of books is more important than ever. Books represent freedom of expression and of information—subjects once considered controversial, such as political agendas, sexual content, or scientific reasoning, are now firmly within the public domain, largely due to authors who dared to challenge established thought by publishing texts that were deemed contentious, or even heretical. Consequently, throughout history this precious commodity has frequently come under threat. Religious and political censorship have led to the banning, and in extreme cases the destruction, of many great literary works. Even today, the rise of the internet and the development of ebooks has threatened the popularity and perceived usefulness of what was once our most ubiquitous art form. However, neither the convenience and portability of the ebook, nor the infinite scope of the internet as a source of information, has been able to supersede the vital importance of the book to human society. Remarkable Books offers a window into some of the most beautiful and important books produced since the origins of the written word. These books are featured as much for their physical beauty—from exquisite illuminated manuscripts to masterpieces in typographic design—as for their historical, cultural, and social significance—such as scientific papers, political treatises, and formative children’s literature. Everybody’s list of the most remarkable books in history will be different—the thousands of books that have influenced the world cannot all be included within these pages. What is presented here is a selection of unique and extraordinary books without which the world would be a very different, and infinitely poorer, place. US_006-007_Preface.indd 7 04/05/2017 15:57 8 INTRODUCTION Books are almost as old as writing itself, and their coming marks the watershed between prehistory, when mankind’s story was passed on only by word of mouth, and history, when it was recorded for future generations to read. The first books were written on a wide variety of materials, including clay tablets, silk, papyrus (made from reeds), parchment (animal skins), and paper (pulped rags). They were bound together in various ways, although sometimes they were not even bound at all. One of the world’s oldest books is the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh, an ancient epic, which was written down on a collection of clay tablets nearly 4,000 years ago. Until the development of the printed book in the fifteenth century, most books came in the form of scrolls or codices. Scrolls are sheets of papyrus, parchment, or paper stuck together end-to-end then rolled up. The Ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus scrolls at least 4,600 years ago. Codices (or a codex, singular) are stacked sheets of papyrus, parchment, or paper joined down one side and bound between a stiff cover so they can hinge open—rather like a modern book, only handwritten. Codices date back at least 3,000 years, but are often associated with the spread of Christianity across Europe. Every copy of a scroll or codex was compiled from manuscripts written out laboriously by hand. This made them extremely rare and precious objects. The investment of time and effort meant that only the most wealthy and powerful people could afford to have them made. But their rarity and the way they carried exact wordings into the future gave the earliest books an authority that seemed almost magical. For example, the Ancient Egyptian Books of the Dead were scrolls buried with a deceased person to enable them to carry words that had the power to guide them even in the afterlife (see pp.18–23). Books became the foundation stones that the world’s great religions were built upon. They were used to record ancient stories and beliefs. Some works even helped local beliefs to develop into major religions by spreading the definitive words of a great sage or prophet far and wide, and through time from generation to generation. Christians spread Christ’s words through their Bible, Jews studied the Torah (see p.50), while Muslims followed the Qur'an, Hindus the Mahābhārata (see pp.28–29), and Taoists the I Ching (see pp.24–25). All of these books still have a profound impact on lives today, thousands of years after they were first written. 1 MAHĀBHĀRATA Written in Sanskrit, this epic poem recounts tales of ancient India. The text reached its final form in around 400 bce. The manuscript above depicts a battle between Ghatotkacha and Karna, and dates from around 1670. Scrolls and Codices 1 EGYPTIAN BOOKS OF THE DEAD No two Books of the Dead are the same; each was tailored to the deceased and their needs in the afterlife. They consist of spells and illustrations on papyrus, and date from around 1991–50 bce. US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 8 13/04/2017 18:07 9 1 DEAD SEA SCROLLS Created between around 250 bce and 68 ce, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 981 manuscripts discovered in the Qumran Caves on the shore of the Dead Sea. Most of the manuscripts contain Hebrew scriptures, others are noncanonical texts, while some are in such a poor condition that they cannot be identified. Indeed, the painstaking process of writing a book out by hand was often an act of religious devotion in itself. Many monks labored long to produce “illuminated manuscripts” of dazzling beauty such as the Gospels of Henry the Lion (see pp.60–63) or the Book of Kells (see pp.38–43). However, it wasn’t only religions that harnessed the power of books. Books stored ideas and information to be accumulated over time, so that each generation built on the learning of those who had gone before, gradually expanding the stock of human knowledge. To preserve the memory of the past by putting on record the astonishing achievements of our own and of the Asiatic peoples. HERODOTUS, GREEK HISTORIAN SETS OUT HIS AIM IN WRITING THE HISTORIES, c.450 bce 1 THE BLUE QUR'AN Most likely produced in North Africa in around 850–950 ce, it is thought that the Blue Qur'an (see p.44–45) was compiled for the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia. The gold letters are written in Kufic calligraphy. 1 BOOK OF KELLS Brilliantly illuminated with rich colors and gold leaf adorning the text, the Book of Kells was created in Ireland in around 800 ce. The manuscript contains the Gospels and the tables of the Eusebian Canons, shown above. Writers such as Ibn Sīnā (see p.56), for instance, combined his own medical knowledge with that of previous generations to create a definitive textbook for physicians, The Canon of Medicine (see pp.56–57). There were very few copies of books, however, so the libraries that collected them, such as the great Greek library at Alexandria in modern-day Egypt, and the libraries of the Muslim world became the great engines of knowledge. During the Middle Ages, scholars would travel thousands of miles simply to read a rare copy of a key book. SCROLLS AND CODICES US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 9 13/04/2017 18:07 10 INTRODUCTION Printing dates back over 1,800 years to carved wood blocks in China and Japan that were used to stamp religious images onto paper, silk, or walls. By the ninth century, the Chinese were printing entire books, including the Diamond Sutra (see pp.46–47) of 868 CE, the oldest surviving dated example. The Chinese even invented a form of movable type, which involved building up pages from ready-made collections of letters. But it was in 1455 in Mainz, Germany, when Johann Gutenberg used movable type to print the Bible, that the printed book really arrived. The Gutenberg Bible (see pp.74-75) was a large luxury item, that only the rich could afford. But printers were soon making smaller, cheaper books. One of the pioneers of mass printing was Aldus Manutius (see pp.86–87), a Venetian scholar who set up the world’s first great publishing house, the Aldine Press, in the 1490s. Manutius introduced the elegant, easy-to-read Italic (from Italy) typeface, and the handy octavo-size book—similar to a typical modern hardback. Books were no longer just kept in libraries but could be read anywhere. Within 50 years of the first printing of Gutenberg’s Bible, there were 10 million printed books, and the Aldine Press was launching titles with initial print runs of 1,000 books or more. The impact was both public, as ideas were shared quickly among numerous readers, and private, as books allowed people to explore their imaginations at home. Interestingly, many of the first ideas shared through print were ancient ones. The Aldine Press concentrated on publishing the classics, leading to a revival of interest in Virgil and Homer, Aristotle and Euclid. All the same, newer books such as Dante’s Divine Comedy (see pp.84–85) and Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (see pp.86–87) soon became classics, and print ensured their style influenced writers across Europe, including William Shakespeare in England. Printed books like Andreas Vesalius’s revolutionary work on anatomy (see pp.98–101) and Galileo’s watershed tome on the Earth’s place in the universe (see pp.130–31) did not only help spread scientific ideas rapidly; they also consolidated knowledge, as many people could turn to exactly the same source. They created a sense that the understanding of the world was gradually increasing. Also encouraged by the printed book was the expression of individual thought. Before print, a writer was generally an anonymous scribe, merely copying words rather than creating an original work. But printed books prompted individual authorship, and made living authors celebrities, 1 GUTENBERG BIBLE Marking the arrival of the European printed the book in 1455, the Gutenburg Bible was the first printed using movable type. However, its richly illuminated pages were accessible to only an elite few due its high price. The Printed Book 1 DIAMOND SUTRA The earliest surviving complete printed book, which bears an actual date, is the Diamond Sutra of 868 from China. It was printed using woodblocks and predates the Gutenberg Bible by almost six centuries. US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 10 13/04/2017 18:07 11 4 DIVINE COMEDY Dante completed his narrative poem in 1320, but the first printed edition was not published until 1472. Its publication helped to standardize the Italian language and the work has influenced artists and writers across several centuries. such as Miguel de Cervantes with his epic, Don Quixote (see pp.116–17). This elevation of individual expression may have been a factor in the great revolutions in European thought—the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Age of Enlightenment. One of the surprising impacts of printing, however, was the stimulation of a development in national languages, such as English, French, and German. In the Middle Ages people in Western Europe spoke such a mix of dialects that someone from Paris was virtually unintelligible to someone from Marseilles; scholars, however, often conversed in Latin. But printed books helped to standardize national languages. The King James Bible, the first authorized bible in English, played a huge part in setting the form of the English language as its words were read every week in churches across the land. 1 THE NUREMBERG CHRONICLE Printed in 1493, the Nuremberg Chronicle (see pp.78–83) is a richly illustrated account of biblical and human history. It is one of the earliest examples of illustrations and text being fully integrated. 1 HARMONICE MUSICES ODHECATON Published in 1501, Ottaviano Petrucci's Odhecaton (see pp.88–89) made sheet music more widely available. Each song has lines for a number of instruments, allowing musicians to read the same page. He who first shortened the labor of copyists by the device of movable types was … creating a whole new democratic world. THOMAS CARLYLE, SCOTTISH HISTORIAN, 1795–1881 THE PRINTED BOOK US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 11 04/05/2017 12:23 12 INTRODUCTION The eighteenth century saw an explosion of book publishing and printing in Europe. This period was called the Age of Enlightenment, and books helped to spread knowledge on an unprecedented scale. During the Middle Ages, fewer than 1,000 copies of manuscripts were made in an entire year across the whole of Europe; in the eighteenth century, 10 million books were printed every year—a staggering 10,000-fold increase in production. Books became available everywhere, and at a relatively cheap price, and so increasing numbers of people learned to read. In western Europe fewer than one in four people were literate in the seventeenth century, but by the mid-eighteenth century two thirds of men were literate and more than half of women. A massive new readership was born, which in turn fueled the demand for books. New kinds of books emerged, too, including popular information titles. Previously, factual books had been created mostly for specialists, but in the eighteenth century learning became more democratic, and books helped to ensure that knowledge wasn’t only for the elite. Canny publishers realized that there was a huge market among the public for books that would help them understand what was known about the world around them. At the same time, many writers earnestly wished to spread knowledge and enlightenment as far as possible. Writing books, in some ways, became a revolutionary act. When Denis Diderot (see pp.146–49) created his great encyclopedia in the middle of the century, he was seeking not just to provide people with information; he was also striking a blow for democracy by showing that the world of knowledge was every man and woman’s right, and not just the divine right of kings and aristocrats. Thomas Paine took up the call for the rights of every human being with his Rights of Man (see pp.164–65), which was widely read and studied, and underpinned the French and American Revolutions. Books were also the medium by which scientists and philosophers introduced their ideas to the world. In some ways the Enlightenment had been prompted by Sir Isaac Newton’s ground-breaking book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (see pp.142–43) in which he introduced his laws of motion. Newton’s book showed that the entire universe was not a magical divine mystery, but that it ran on precise mechanical laws, which could be studied and understood by scientists. Meanwhile, Robert Hooke introduced a previously unsuspected microscopic 1 PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA Newton's 1687 work laid out his explanation for the orbit of the spheres. Despite the dense subject matter, it won him instant fame. Books for All 1 HOOKE’S MICROGRAPHIA Published in 1665, Robert Hooke's ground-breaking Micrographia revealed a miniscule world that readers had never experienced before. Exquisitely intricate illustrations, such as this large fold-out drawing of a flea, depicted creatures and objects in monstrous yet beautiful detail. US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 12 13/04/2017 18:07 13 world with his Micrographia (see pp.138–41); Carolus Linnaeus showed how nature could be pinned down and classified in his Systema Naturae (see pp.144–45); and Charles Darwin showed how life evolved in his On the Origin of Species (see pp.194–95). By the end of the eighteenth century there were also books showing how even human society could be analyzed and understood. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (see pp.162–63) provides the theoretical basis for capitalist economic systems, while Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (see pp.200–201) created a powerful counterargument that started revolutions that are still in progress today. Besides the great theoretical works, fiction was developing as a genre, and novels such as Tristram Shandy (see pp.156–59) responded to the increasing consciousness and imaginative private life of individuals. Initially, novel-reading was the domain of wealthy ladies of leisure. However, Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers (see pp.178–79) was serialized in cheap weekly installments, each with a cliff-hanger ending to keep the reader hooked. This helped his novel reach vast numbers of ordinary people and, for the first time, the book was entertainment. 1 PICKWICK PAPERS The serialization of The Pickwick Papers in a magazine secured its popularity before being published in book form a year later. 1 TRISTRAM SHANDY Laurence Sterne's comic novel was published in 1759. It purports to be the biography of the title character, Tristam Shandy, and is characterized by frequent plot diversions and a playful use of language, drawing heavily on the poets and satirists of the seventeenth century. … bound together solely by their zeal for the best interests of the human race and a feeling of mutual good will. DENIS DIDEROT, ON THE WRITERS OF ENCYCLOPÉDIE, 1751 1 DAS KAPITAL Published in 1867 at a time of immense social and industrial change, Marx's polemic was a timely account of the injustices suffered by many under the capitalist system. Though the book had a small readership at the time, Marx's influence lasts to the present day. BOOKS FOR ALL US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 13 13/04/2017 18:07 14 INTRODUCTION Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the book world has grown on a scale unimaginable even in the Victorian Age, when the popular novel first appeared. The figures are extraordinary: more than a million new titles are now published every year in the U.S. alone, and the number of copies printed around the world annually runs into the trillions. The choice for the average reader is immense, with an estimated 13 million previously published books to choose from as well as the year's new titles. Books are now incredibly cheap to buy, and are no longer thought of as luxury items. Penguin revolutionized the book industry in the 1930s by introducing inexpensive “paperback” books (see pp.230–31), and mass-marketing by giant retailers such as Amazon has pushed the price down even further. Even a new book can often be bought now for little more than the price of a cup of coffee. The coming of electronic e-books has meant that the content of books can also be accessed instantly anywhere. Yet only a tiny proportion of the millions of published books is ever read by more than a handful of people. Although three-quarters of Americans read more than one book a year, most read no more than six. Very few books are read by a significant number of people. Nevertheless, some books of the last hundred years have left an indelible mark, not because they were widely read, but because they changed the way people thought. One of these is Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (see pp.226–27. In this book Einstein presented theories that overturned the view of the universe dating from the time of Newton, and led to a profound shift in our knowledge of time. Few people have actually read the work, and of those who have, fewer still understand it fully. And yet the impact of its ideas has rippled out far beyond the scientific world. Throughout history, certain books have sparked controversy, whether for political, moral, or religious reasons. After World War II Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf (see pp.242) was banned as extremist in many European countries—Poland only lifted the ban in 1992 and Germany in 2016. In 1928 D.H. Lawrence published Lady Chatterley's Lover (see pp.242) but it was banned in the U.S. and the UK for breaking obscenity laws. The bans were lifted in 1959 and 1960 respectively. A new kind of book, designed to draw public attention to specific issues, emerged in the twentieth century: books became an effective way of voicing protest. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (see pp.238–39), for The Modern Book 1 RELATIVITY In 1916 Albert Einstein published General Theory of Relativity with the specific aim of bringing his theories to a wider lay audience, who had no background in theoretical physics. 1 LE PETIT PRINCE Antoine de Saint-Exupéry published his novella for children in 1943. Illustrated with exquisite watercolors by the author, it became a classic of children's literature and has been translated into more than 250 languages. US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 14 13/04/2017 18:07 15 1 SILENT SPRING The book that triggered the start of the environmental movement, Silent Spring (see pp.238–39), was published by Rachel Carson in 1962. Her evocative language, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, drew public attention to the dangers of pesticide use. 1 PENGUIN PAPERBACKS With its simple, and now iconic, cover design, the Penguin paperback changed reading habits in the twentieth century. Mass production made books affordable and opened up a world of literature to a wider readership. instance, alerted people to the terrible damage farm pesticides were inflicting on wildlife, and it had a huge impact on the way people think of the environment. Children’s books first appeared in the eighteenth century, with titles like Fables in Verse (see pp.160–61), but it was in the twentieth century that books became an integral part of childhood in the developed world, shaping the way readers in their formative years viewed life. Today children’s literature is a sophisticated genre, with highlights such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petite Prince (see pp.234–35). Now, 45 trillion pages are printed every day, accessible to billions of people. Books help us to share experiences, stories, and ideas in our hugely populated world in a way that would otherwise be impossible. 1 PRO DVA KVADRATA El Lissitzky's About Two Squares (see pp.228–229) was published in 1922. This children's story acts as an allegory of the superiority of the new Soviet order. … the average book fits into the human hand with a seductive nestling, a kiss of texture, whether of cover cloth, glazed jacket, or flexible paperback. JOHN UPDIKE, DUE CONSIDERATIONS, 2008 THE MODERN BOOK US_008-015_GENERAL_INTRODUCTION.indd 15 13/04/2017 18:07 US_016-017_Chapter_1_Opener.indd 16 13/04/2017 17:26 C H A PT ER 1 3000 bce– 999 ce Ancient Egyptian Books of the Dead I Ching The Art of War Mahābhārata Dead Sea Scrolls Vienna Dioscorides The Book of Kells Blue Qur’an Diamond Sutra The Exeter Book US_016-017_Chapter_1_Opener.indd 17 13/04/2017 17:26 18 3000 BCE–999 CE The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Dead were funerary texts that were used for nearly 1,500 years. They took the form of spells (both magical and religious) and illustrations inscribed onto a papyrus scroll that were buried in a tomb with the deceased. It was believed that these spells gave the souls of the dead the knowledge and power they needed to navigate the treacherous netherworld in safety, and to achieve a full afterlife. Books of the Dead were created by highly skilled scribes and artists. Often more than one scribe would work on a single text, typically writing in cursive hieroglyphics (picture symbols) or hieratic script (a form of hieroglyphics used by priests), in black-and-red ink on papyrus scrolls. Illustrations depicted the journey through the netherworld, with vignettes accompanying the spells. The first Books of the Dead were prepared for elite figures, but by the New Kingdom era (c.1570–1069 bce), the texts had become available to the wider society—the most elaborate versions date from this time. The books were organized into chapters, and scribes composed the contents according to the patron’s request, incorporating a selection of the 192 prayers available that best reflected how the patron had lived their life. No two books are the same, although most include Spell 125, “Weighing of the Heart,” which instructs the soul of the deceased on how to address Osiris, god of the afterlife, following successful judgment of their earthly life. The term “Book of the Dead” was coined by Prussian Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius (1810–84), but a closer translation of its Egyptian name is the “Book of Coming Forth into Day.” These pictorial guides for the dead provide vital insight into the Ancient Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife and a tantalizing glimpse into a vanished civilization. Ancient Egyptian Books of the Dead C.1991–50 BCE ◼ PAPYRUS SCROLLS ◼ C.3–130 ft × 6–18 in (1–40 m × 15–45 cm) ◼ EGYPT VARIOUS AUTHORS 4 FINAL TEST This section of scroll belongs to the Book of the Dead of Maiherpri, who lived during the Eighteenth Dynasty. It illustrates his final test in the netherworld—the weighing of his heart, with Ammut, the winged devourer of souls, looking on. Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the seat of human intellect and emotions, and during the mummification process it was not removed. IN CONTEXT The tradition of providing the deceased with a text to help them on their journey in the afterlife dates back to the Old Kingdom (third millennium bce), when funerary texts were written on the walls of burial chambers. At the start of the Middle Kingdom (c.2100 bce), they were mostly written inside coffins. It was these so-called “Pyramid Texts” and “Coffin Texts” that evolved into the Books of the Dead. The papyrus scrolls were rolled up and typically inserted into a statue or encased within the wrappings of the body during mummification. Other objects considered necessary for the journey ahead, such as food and protective amulets, were included in the tomb, and the spells in the book guided the deceased in how to use these items to navigate the netherworld. 2 Books of the Dead were often placed inside containers, such as this case with a painted wooden statuette, to preserve them when buried. US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 18 13/04/2017 17:26 19ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOKS OF THE DEAD ◼ VARIOUS AUTHORS US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 19 13/04/2017 17:26 Greenfield Papyrus—In detail 20 3000 BCE–999 CE ON TECHNIQUE The scrolls used for Books of the Dead were made from the papyrus plant, a type of reed that grew abundantly in Ancient Egypt, mostly on the banks of the River Nile. Its green bark was peeled back to reveal the white pith beneath, which was cut into long strips. These were then soaked in water for two to three days to release gluelike chemicals. To form the page, the strips were then laid out side by side, slightly overlapping, with a second layer of strips laid on top of them at a 90-degree angle. These were pressed between wooden boards to squeeze out water and bind the layers together. After being dried, the papyrus was polished with a stone to smooth out any ridges and imperfections, providing a better-looking finish. Individual pages were then either cut to measure, or sheets were glued together to the required length of a scroll. 4 The first known use of papyrus, the world’s oldest writing surface, dates back to the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (c.3150–2890 BCE). Egypt’s dry climate is the reason that so many anicent documents have survived. US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 20 13/04/2017 17:26 21 1 CREATION OF THE WORLD Nestanebetisheru was the daughter of a high priest and a member of the ruling elite. Her Book of the Dead, dating from around 950–930 bce, is one of the most beautiful and complete manuscripts to have survived from Ancient Egypt. It was donated to the British Museum by Edith Mary Greenfield in 1910, and is often known as the Greenfield Papyrus. Here black line drawings depict the creation of the world, with the goddess of the sky, Nut, arching over Geb, the reclining god of the earth. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOKS OF THE DEAD ◼ VARIOUS AUTHORS 2 SEPARATE SHEET Measuring almost 121 ft (37 m), Nestanebetisheru’s papyrus is the longest known example of an Egyptian Book of the Dead. In the early 1900s this scroll was cut into 96 separate sheets to make it easier to study, display, and store. These are now mounted between protective layers of glass. 2 MAGIC SPELLS The deceased, Nestanebetisheru, is shown twice in this black line vignette. She kneels before three gatekeepers and also before a bull, a sparrow, and a falcon. Accompanying the illustration and written in hieratic text in black-and- red ink is a spell. This Book of the Dead includes a huge number of magical and religious texts, some of which are not found in any other manuscript, suggesting that they were added at Nestanebetisheru’s request. US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 21 13/04/2017 17:26 Book of the Dead of Hunefer—Visual tour 22 3000 BCE–999 CE 4 BOARD GAME Hunefer is shown here playing a board game. This may have been a favored pastime during his life, but there could be a deeper significance that correlates victory in the board game with victory over obstacles encountered in the netherworld—thereby ensuring Hunefer’s successful entry into the afterlife. 4 ILLUSTRATED HYMN This detail from Spell 15 of the Book of the Dead of Hunefer, a royal Egyptian scribe (c.1280 bce) illustrates the opening hymn to the rising sun. Horus, the god of the sky and one of the most significant Ancient Egyptian deities, was often represented as a falcon (as here) or as a falcon—headed man. The solar disc above his head signifies his connection to the sun, while the curved blue line is thought to represent the sky. 4 HUNEFER’S JUDGMENT The scribe, Hunefer, is shown being led by the jackel-headed Anubis toward the scales of judgment, where his heart is weighed. He passes the test and is then led by Horus to meet Osiris, god of the afterlife, seated on his throne. KEY 1 HIEROGLYPHICS The Book of the Dead of Hunefer is one of the finest ever discovered, and the handiwork of expert scribes, possibly Hunefer himself. The hieroglyphic text is inscribed in black- and-red ink with black dividing lines in between. Black ink was typically derived from carbon, and red ink from ochre. 1 2 4 21 5 US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 22 13/04/2017 17:26 23ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOKS OF THE DEAD ◼ VARIOUS AUTHORS 1 BURIAL CEREMONY This vignette illustrates the mummified body of Hunefer being symbolically brought to life in the “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony, reuniting Hunefer’s spirit with his corpse. His widow is shown in mourning, while a priest in a jackal mask, impersonating Anubis, the god of embalming, supports the mummy. The semicursive hieroglyphs above contain the ritual declarations. 1 SNAKE BEHEADING Spell 17 in Hunefer’s Book of the Dead includes an illustration of a cat killing a snake. This image comes at the end of a band that runs along the top of the sheet, which also features Hunefer worshipping five seated deities. These are named in the black cursive hieroglyphic captions. 3 4 5 6 6 3 US_018-023_Ancient_Egyptian_Books_of_the_Dead.indd 23 13/04/2017 17:26 24 The oldest of the Chinese classic texts, the I Ching, or Book of Changes, was originally used as a divination guide to help followers interpret the casting of yarrow stems or coins as a means to understand life, make decisions, and predict events. Its origins are obscure, but it evolved over 3,000 years during which “commentaries” were written incorporating Taoist, Confucian, and Buddhist beliefs, such as the seventeenth-century example shown on the far right. The main body of the I Ching is divided into 64 sections, each one corresponding to a named and numbered symbol called a “hexagram." Each hexagram is made up of six horizontal lines, with a broken line denoting yin and a solid one meaning yang. The order in which the stems or coins are cast determines which hexagram is referred to, for which the I Ching provides explanatory text, sometimes cryptic, or a “judgment," to interpret its meaning. Although no parts of the original I Ching exist, its ideas are still used by millions of people worldwide to answer fundamental questions about human existence. I Ching c.1050 bce (WRITTEN) ◼ ORIGINAL MATERIAL AND DIMENSIONS UNKNOWN ◼ CHINA AUTHOR UNKNOWN 3000 bce–999 ce 2 CONFUCIAN COMMENTARY Unearthed in 1973 from Han Tomb 3 at the Mawangdui archaeological site, this fragmented length of silk is a Confucian commentary on the I Ching’s 64 hexagrams. Dating from early in the reign of Wendi (180–157 bce), the fourth Han emperor, it is one of the detailed texts and essays made by Confucian scholars following the death of Confucius (551–479 bce), the great Chinese philosopher (see p.50). Confucius studied the I Ching extensively, and viewed it as a manual by which to live in order to attain the highest level of virtue, rather than as a means of divination. The commentaries Confucius wrote were more detailed and extensive than any other at the time. 1 COMMENTARIES In 136 bce the format of the I Ching was standardized, and remains unchanged today. The first part of the work, the hexagrams and their interpretation, are appended by the Ten Wings, or commentaries, as seen on this edition printed during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). The I Ching developed from the ancient Chinese belief that the world is the product of duality: of yin (negative/dark) and yang (positive/light), and that neither element can exist without the other. Central to the I Ching’s purpose as an oracle is the idea that every conceivable situation in human life is the result of yin-yang interplay, and can be encapsulated within and interpreted by its hexagrams. The earliest known Chinese symbols for yin and yang, along with basic hexagrams, are found in inscriptions made on “oracle bones," the skeletal remains of turtles and oxen used in shamanistic divination practices during the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 bce). The use of oracle bones in fortune telling declined when the I Ching gained popularity during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 bce). IN CONTEXT 1 This turtle shell “oracle” dates from c.1200 bce. Fortune tellers burned a shell or bone until it cracked, read the resulting lines, and sometimes carved an “answer." US_024-025_I_Ching.indd 24 13/04/2017 17:26 25I CHING ◼ AUTHOR UNKNOWN 2 CULTURAL TRANSFER The I Ching was known about in the West in the 1600s, although it was only first studied in detail in 1701 by German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. These pages here show his own handwritten notes on the chart of hexagrams. If some years were added to my life I would devote fifty of them to the study of the Book of Changes and might then avoid committing great errors. CONFUCIUS, ANALECTS VII 1 MING DYNASTY EDITION Toward the end of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), printed copies of the I Ching were becoming scarce. This edition was published in 1615 by Wu Jishi and features a claim on the title page to be a faithful representation of the original. US_024-025_I_Ching.indd 25 13/04/2017 17:26 26 3000 BCE–999 CE 1 NATURAL MATERIAL In China about 2,000 years ago, a variety of materials were written on: shells, bones, occasionally silk, and, more commonly, readily available bamboo slips. Bamboo was cut and then its surface shaved and cured, before being dried and split into strips or “slips,” as seen here, which were bound together to form what was, in effect, a book. US_026-027_The_Art_of_War.indd 26 13/04/2017 17:26 27THE ART OF WAR ◼ SUN TZU Whatever the uncertainties of its dating and authorship, The Art of War has proved one of the most enduring and influential texts from the ancient world. This military manual is divided into 13 chapters, shown here written on bound bamboo slips—typical of Chinese writings of the time. The book comprehensively covers every aspect of training, organizing, and leading armies. Given the endless conflicts of the times in which the text was written, the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 bce), its practical application was clear. But it is a mark of its exceptional longevity that when, 1,500 years later, Emperor Shenzong (1048–1085) decreed the creation of the Seven Military Classics, a collection of military textbooks, the first work to be cited was The Art of War. As such, it was required reading for all officers in the Imperial Chinese Army. Even today, 2,500 years later, it is widely read by The Art of War C.500 bCe (WRITTEN), C.1750 Ce (VERSION SHOWN) ◼ BAMBOO ◼ 6,000 WORDS, 13 CHAPTERS ◼ CHINA SUN TZU military leaders across the world, inspiring those as diverse as Napoleon and Mao Tse-tung. Perhaps more strikingly still, it has also found a ready audience among business leaders. The Art of War is a supremely practical work. Its prime concerns are preparedness, discipline, strong leadership, and the absolute importance of dictating the terms of battle, rather than responding to those of the enemy. SUN TZU 544–496 BCE The Art of War is said to have been the work of Sun Tzu, a highly successful military leader during a time of great conflict in China. But his authorship of the influential text is often questioned. That Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and military strategist is widely agreed. But whether he was the sole author of The Art of War, or whether the work was a distillation of existing Chinese military theories brought together under his name remains uncertain. Similarly, there are arguments that the book may have been compiled in the later Warring States period (475–221 bce). The uncertainty and intrigue surrounding the book’s origins only add to its appeal. The oldest surviving copy of The Art of War was one of several works discovered in 1972 in two tombs, dating from the Han dynasty (202 bce–9 ce). They were unearthed by workmen at the foot of the Yinqueshan, or Silver Sparrow, mountain in Shandong, eastern China, and this location gave the works their name: the Yinqueshan Han Slips. Among the 4,942 bamboo slips found was a copy of a later military manual Art of War, by Sun Bin, who is presumed to be a descendant of Sun Tzu. Both texts are believed to have been buried between 140 and 134 bce. Their discovery was one of the most significant Chinese archeological finds of the twentieth century. IN CONTEXT 1 These bamboo slips dating from the second century bCe are the oldest copy of The Art of War. Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. SUN TZU, THE ART OF WAR In detail 1 BAMBOO SLIPS With only one line of text per slip, the medium of bamboo books encouraged simple, pithy statements. A fine brush rather than a pen was used to paint the intricate ink characters onto the slips. 1 BOOK BINDING The slips were bound together with silk cord or lengths of leather, which meant that they could be rolled up and transported easily. They also proved remarkably durable—much more so than European works on parchment from the same period. US_026-027_The_Art_of_War.indd 27 13/04/2017 17:26 28 3000 BCE–999 CE Said to have been dictated by the sage Vyāsa in a cave in Uttarakhand, northern India, the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem ever created, comprising over 100,000 couplets. According to the text, this epic was extended from a 24,000-couplet version called Bhārata. The oldest text fragments date back to 400 BCE, but there is no definitive original written version, and many regional variations have developed over time. The piece of the Mahābhārata shown here dates from 1670, and is written in Devanāgarī script—characterized by the horizontal line that runs along the top of the letters. At its heart is a tale of the struggle between two sets of cousins: the Kauravas and Pandavas. The Pandavas are the five sons of the deceased King Pandu, and by a trick of fate each of them marry the beautiful Princess Draupadi. After a game of dice, the brothers are forced into exile for 12 years and if found by the Kauravas will be forced into exile again. The story culminates in a cataclysmic battle, after which the Pandavas regain their kingdom. The Mahābhārata is a fascinating source on the evolution of Hinduism. Its central story is just one of many folk tales, histories, and philosophical and moral debates within it. The Mahābhārata also includes the 700-verse Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita, which presents the concept of dharma (or moral law), the bedrock of Hinduism. Mahabharata 400 BCE (WRITTEN), C.1670 (VERSION SHOWN) ◼ PAPER ◼ 7 × 16 in (18 × 41.7 cm) (SHOWN) ◼ INDIA VYĀSA SCALE VYĀSA C.1500 BCE According to Hindu tradition Vyāsa is the legendary Indian sage, said to be the author of the Mahābhārata, as well as one of the compilers of the Vedas. Legend has it that Vyāsa lived around 1500 BCE in Uttarakhand, northern India, and was the son of the Princess Satyavati and the scholar Parashara. His father had been promised by the God Vishnu that his son would be famous in return for the severe penance Parashara had done for Vishnu. Vyāsa grew up in the forests, living by the river Satyavati with hermits who taught him the ancient sacred texts of the Vedas that he developed to create the Mahābhārata. Tradition states that he composed his epic over two and a half years, dictating it in a cave to his scribe Ganesha, the elephant god, although the poem is more likely to have been the result of an oral tradition. 1 THE FINAL BATTLE This is a section from a version of the Mahābhārata, dating from around 1670. Originating from Mysore or Tanjore in southern India, the text is written in black-and-red ink on paper, and the illustrations are painted with opaque watercolor and gold leaf. The text is taken from the tale of the struggle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The central scene depicts the mighty battle between coarse-featured Ghatotkacha (upper right, identified by a label in the margin above) and Karna, the best fighter on the Kaurava side. Karna suceeds in killing Ghatotkacha with a magic weapon given to him by the God Indra. US_028-029_Mahabharata.indd 28 13/04/2017 17:26 29MAHĀBHĀRATA ◼ VYĀSA Whatever is here, is found elsewhere. But what is not here, is nowhere else. THE BOOK OF THE BEGINNING The earliest versions of the Mahābhārata were written on manuscripts made from dried palm leaves. One of the oldest writing materials, palm leaves were first used in southern Asia. The scribe cut letters into the leaf with a needle, then filled the marks with a soot and oil mixture. IN CONTEXT 4 These nineteenth-century palm-leaf manuscripts are from Bali. The Mahābhārata stories were recounted across Southeast Asia and are found in many forms, from scrolls to paintings and temple decorations. US_028-029_Mahabharata.indd 29 13/04/2017 17:26 Temple Scroll 30 3000 bce–999 ce For more than 18 centuries, a collection of scrolls lay hidden in caves near the ancient settlement site of Qumran, on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in Israel. Known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are the oldest copies of Jewish texts in existence and have shed light upon Jewish and Christian understandings of the Bible. Their chance discovery in 1947, by a Bedouin boy searching for a lost goat, sparked one of the most exciting archaeological hunts of the twentieth century. In total, 11 caves containing pots with scrolls inside them were discovered and 981 scrolls collected, together with other artifacts, such as coins and inkwells. Only a few complete scrolls were found, but some 25,000 fragments were also unearthed. The majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls are made of animal skin, but others are made of papyrus or leather, and one of copper. While most of the scrolls have Hebrew text, some have text in Aramaic and Greek. It is not known why the scrolls were hidden or by whom. One theory is that it might have been an act of protection against the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, and the people’s property, around 60 CE. Today, the collection is housed in a specially built museum, the Shrine of the Book, on the grounds of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Dead Sea Scrolls 250 bce–68 ce ◼ VELLUM, PAPYRUS, LEATHER, AND COPPER ◼ VARIOUS SIZES ◼ 981 SCROLLS ◼ ISRAEL VARIOUS AUTHORS 1 SCROLL FRAGMENTS While the main part of the Temple Scroll is the most complete, there are many fragments like these from one end of the scroll. The Hebrew script— which reads from right to left in neat lines—is remarkably clear right up to the damaged edges and so in spite of the damage, scholars have been able to translate the text. The content corresponds closely to the biblical Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. 1 INNER PORTION Measuring around 25 ft (8.15 m) this scroll, the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was found in Cave 11 in 1956. It is made from 18 pieces of the thinnest vellum found in the caves, and the inner portion is its best-preserved section as it was not as exposed to the elements as the outer sheet was. The Hebrew text is written in the square Herodian script of the late Second Temple Period. As with many Hebrew texts written in this period—and all of the Dead Sea Scrolls—the scroll is read from right to left. This scroll takes its name from the text, which is written in the form of a revelation from God to Moses, and describes the building of a temple similar to those built in the Israelites’ camps on their exodus from Egypt. It suggests that Solomon should have followed these guidelines when he built the Temple in Jerusalem. US_030-033_Dead_Sea_Scrolls.indd 30 13/04/2017 17:27 31DEAD SEA SCROLLS ◼ VARIOUS AUTHORS … I was privileged by destiny to gaze upon a Hebrew Scroll which had not been read for more than 2,000 years. PROFESSOR ELIEZER LIPA SUKENIK OF HEBREW UNIVERSITY, IN HIS DIARY ENTRY, 1940s 2 DAMAGED SHEETS The three columns shown (columns 42, 43, and 44, from left to right) are from the central section of the scroll. The torn edges are a result of the way the scrolls were rolled tightly in the storage jars (see image, top left), and also due to careless handling since their discovery. However, with modern imaging techniques, experts have been able to decipher the writing even on damaged fragments. US_030-033_Dead_Sea_Scrolls.indd 31 13/04/2017 17:27 32 2 HABAKKUK COMMENTARY, OR HEBREW PESHER This text, written in the first century BCE, is written on two pieces of leather sewn together with linen thread. It tells how the prophet Habakkuk sees Israel facing danger from a foreign enemy, just as the writer of the scroll sees danger from the Romans. This commentary is considered a crucial source of information regarding the people of Qumran’s spiritual life. 1 LAST SECTION One of the first scrolls found in 1947, this scroll, which features all six chapters of the Book of Isaiah, is the only complete book from the Bible found among the scrolls. It is the best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and this last section shows the edges of the sheets are only very slightly damaged. Dating from the second century BCE, it is the oldest Old Testament manuscript known by more than 1,000 years. 3000 bce–999 ce The Great Isaiah Scroll Habakkuk commentary US_030-033_Dead_Sea_Scrolls.indd 32 13/04/2017 17:27 33 The first seven of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, when local Bedouin shepherd Edh-Dhib happened to throw a stone into one of the caves, only to hear something smash—one of the clay pots containing the scrolls. Despite being told that the scrolls were worthless, Edh-Dhib took them to an antiques dealer, and they quickly came to the attention of American scholar John Trever. Two years later, a full-scale archaeological expedition was launched. In 1953 they found a copper scroll, which seemed to be a treasure map. By 1956 11 caves had been excavated and hundreds of scrolls and manuscripts unearthed. In February 2017 another cave was discovered, but while objects of interest have been found, it has yet to yield any manuscripts or scrolls. 1 Many of the scrolls found lying in the caves had been damaged, some so badly that it has not been possible for archaeologists to identify or translate them. IN CONTEXT 1 FIRST SECTION The Great Isaiah Scroll features 54 columns of text, and the first four are shown above (text was read from right to left). The scroll is written in Hebrew on 17 pieces of parchment (either goat or calf). The black ink used was made from soot from oil lamps, which was mixed into honey, oil, vinegar, and water. As can be seen here, no punctuation was used. 1 THE WAR SCROLL In contrast to the other scrolls found in 1947, this scroll is a manual for war and military strategy, including some fictional aspects, which is believed to combine the work of many authorities. It contains a prophecy of an apocalyptic war between the “Sons of Light” and the “Sons of Darkness.” DEAD SEA SCROLLS ◼ VARIOUS AUTHORS The War Scroll US_030-033_Dead_Sea_Scrolls.indd 33 13/04/2017 17:27 34 3000 BCE–999 CE Also known as the Juliana Anicia Codex, the Vienna Dioscorides, is the oldest surviving copy of Pedanius Dioscorides’ classic work on herbal remedies, De Materia Medica (On Medical Matters). One of the most important medical works of the Greco-Roman world, the original text was written in about 70 CE by Pedanius Dioscorides. It exhaustively lists the medical properties of 383 herbs and 200 plants. The Vienna Dioscorides is a copy of De Materia Medica, produced about 450 years later in Constantinople—then the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The work was dedicated to Princess Juliana Anicia, daughter of the Emperor Flavius Anicius Olybrius and a patron of the early Church and healing. In 1569 the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased the manuscript for his Imperial Library in Vienna, from where the book takes its name. The combination of detailed information and visual richness in this codex (an ancient, handwritten text in book form) is unrivaled in early Byzantine art. It is not known if Dioscorides’ original manuscript was similarly illustrated, but the Vienna copy contains over 479 sumptuous images of plants. Whether these were drawn from nature or from existing depictions is also unclear. The book contains three further works besides Dioscorides’ herbal remedies: a medical treatise believed to have been written by the first-century CE Greek physician Rufus of Ephesus; a simplified version of a second-century Greek treatise dealing with snakebites, thought to have been written by Nicander of Colophon; and an illustrated treatise on birds. Vienna Dioscorides C.512 CE ◼ VELLUM ◼ 14 × 12 in (37 × 30 cm) ◼ 982 FOLIOS ◼ BYZANTINE EMPIRE PEDANIUS DIOSCORIDES PEDANIUS DIOSCORIDES C.40–C.90 CE Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacist, and botanist, whose seminal work De Materia Medica, or the Juliana Anicia Codex, remains the single most important source of knowledge about Ancient Greek and Roman medical practices. Dioscorides was born in Anazarbus, Cilicia, although few details of his life are known. He is believed to have practiced medicine in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero (37–68 CE) before serving as a surgeon with the Roman armies. At this time he traveled widely across the Roman Empire, and was able to study the medicinal properties of many plants and minerals, which he used in the compilation of his major text, De Materia Medica. Dioscorides is believed to have taken 20 years to produce this text in which he divided plants according to their medicinal and botanical properties. Originally written in Greek, it was later translated into Latin. The work is a remarkable record of natural history and the enduring influence of ancient learning. 3 LIFELIKE ILLUSTRATIONS Naturalistic images of the plants were intended to help the pharmacist easily identify herbs when making remedies. Full-page images were generally accompanied by descriptions of their properties on the facing page. The illustration here, from folio 174, is typical, with both root and plant shown. The Greek text is written in “uncial” characters (capital letters) which developed, in both Latin and Greek, in the third century. SCALE US_034-037_Vienna_Dioscorides.indd 34 13/04/2017 17:27 35VIENNA DIOSCORIDES ◼ PEDANIUS DIOSCORIDES For almost two millennia Dioscorides was regarded as the ultimate authority on plants and medicine … TESS ANNE OSBALDESTON, ON DE MATERIA MEDICA, 2000 1 TITLE PAGE The codex’s inscription describes the work’s scope of “plants, roots, seeds, juice, leaves and remedies,” and explains its alphabetical ordering. 2 PORTRAIT OF THE PATRON The codex features the oldest painting of a patron with its image of Princess Juliana Anicia. She is flanked by the allegorical figures Magnanimity (left) and Wisdom (right). A putto (cherub) offers her the manuscript. US_034-037_Vienna_Dioscorides.indd 35 13/04/2017 17:27 In detail 36 3000 BCE–999 CE 1 WIDE INFLUENCE Following the fall of Byzantium to the Ottomans in 1453, Arabic plant names were added to the manuscript. The Vienna Dioscorides impacted as deeply on Arab learning as it did on later European learning. 1 DRAWING FROM LIFE The illustrations in the Vienna Discorides were the product of exact observation, as shown in this depiction of a yellow horned poppy. Later Byzantine art would become progressively more religious and restrained by imperial priorities, projecting ever more elaborate visions of grandeur. 4 SUGGESTED REMEDIES In the text facing this picture of a winter cherry, Dioscorides recommends the plant’s stem as a sedative. Mixed with honey, it was claimed to improve vision; and with wine, to ease toothaches. 4 TIP TO ROOT Dioscorides examined every part of the plant. Roots, leaves, flowers, and berries were all included in the drawings so that pharmacists could see all the relevant parts that could be used as ingredients. On this page, the artist decorated the vellum before the scribe added the text. US_034-037_Vienna_Dioscorides.indd 36 13/04/2017 17:27 De Materia Medica collated the wisdom and practice of generations. As late as the 1930s, an aging Greek monk was observed treating patients according to the remedies laid down by Dioscorides. In fact, for at least 1,500 years after his death, Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica remained the standard pharmacological work across the West and the Arab world, translated into Arabic and Persian, as well as—in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance—Italian, French, German, and English. IN CONTEXT 1 Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus was deeply influenced by Dioscorides, and, in his 1749 Materia Medica, made the novel division of plants into genus and species, producing the first modern classification of plants. The frontispiece shows a cabinet with plants and herbs. 37VIENNA DIOSC0RIDES ◼ PEDANIUS DIOSCORIDES 4 TREATISE ON BIRDS Forty Mediterranean birds were described and illustrated with delicately painted line drawings. The inclusion of this work, thought to be by Dionysius (first century CE), makes the Vienna Dioscorides the oldest known illustrated treatise on birds. US_034-037_Vienna_Dioscorides.indd 37 13/04/2017 17:27 38 3000 bce–999 ce Dating from around 800 CE the Book of Kells is the finest surviving illuminated manuscript from the Celtic medieval period, boasting a design of unsurpassed complexity and extravagance. The sumptuously illustrated text consists primarily of the four Gospels in Latin, based on St. Jerome’s fourth-century translation of the Bible. Believed to be the work of three artists and four scribes, it is written in the formal script known as Insular majuscule on vellum (prepared calfskin). Today the manuscript contains 680 folios—around 30 others have been lost over time. With its full-page illustrations, abstract decoration, and colored lettering, it is the most lavishly decorated example of an Insular manuscript—a decorated manuscript produced in the British Isles between the sixth and ninth centuries. The transcription, however, was particularly careless, with letters and entire words missing or repeated, indicating that the book was intended for ceremonial use rather than for daily services. Also known as the Book of Columba, the manuscript was composed by Irish monks, followers of the sixth-century Irish saint, St. Columba. Their order had fled from their abbey on the Scottish island of Iona during Viking raids in the ninth century and taken refuge in the monastery at Kells, north of Dublin. The manuscript may have been produced either wholly in Iona or in Kells, or started in Iona and completed in Kells. A medieval source states that it was stolen in 1006 for its cumdach—the ornamental box in which it was stored. Although this was never recovered, most folios of the manuscript were. The current binding by British book-binder, Roger Powell, dates from 1953. Powell divided the manuscript into four volumes to preserve it while on display in the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin, where it has been kept since the seventeenth century. It remains a central symbol of Irish culture and identity. Book of Kells c.800 ce ◼ VELLUM ◼ 13 × 10 in (33 × 25.5 cm) ◼ 680 FOLIOS ◼ IRELAND IRISH COLUMBAN MONKS SCALE At least 185 calfskins were used in the production of the Book of Kells. The word vellum (prepared calfskin) on which the book was written comes from vitulum, the Latin for “calf.” All other animal skins are called parchment. Each skin was soaked in lime, dried, and scraped smooth with pumice before being cut into folios. From the Latin for “leaf” (folium), a folio is a two-sided page, with “recto” defining the front side, and “verso” the reverse. Before the scribe began to write the page was scored with pinpricks, and horizontal lines were drawn with a blade to guide the scribe. Quills, made from feathers, were trimmed and cut diagonally to form a nib. Ink was made from soot or iron gall mixed with gum arabic, and seven pigments, derived from a wide range of sources, were used for the illustrations in the manuscript. ON TECHNIQUE 1 This folio from the Book of Kells shows the use of red (from lead) and green (from copper sulfide) pigments. 4 FACING PAGES The Book of Kells exhibits the oldest existing depiction of the Virgin Mary in a Western manuscript. Wearing Byzantine robes, she sits on a throne with the young Jesus on her lap. The surrounding angels hold stylized fans, possibly inspired by Egyptian Coptic art. Notable features are the unusual representation of the Virgin’s breasts, her apparently two right feet, and Jesus's elaborate blond hair. The page is an appropriate accompaniment to the Breves causae of Matthew (the summary of the Gospel) that begins on the opposite page. This is the most elaborately decorated page of text in the manuscript, starting with an elegant, elongated letter “N." The Latin reads: "Nativitas XPI in Bethlem Judeae Magi munera offerunt et infantes interficiuntur Regressio" (“The birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea; the wise men present gifts; the slaying of the children; the return”). US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 38 04/05/2017 12:23 39BOOK OF KELLS ◼ IRISH COLUMBAN MONKS It is widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest historical treasure … one of the most spectacular examples of medieval Christian art in the world. UNESCO’S MEMORY OF THE WORLD REGISTER US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 39 13/04/2017 17:27 40 3000 bce–999 ce 1 CHI RHO The most famous page of the Book of Kells is known as the Chi Rho. These are the first two letters of the word “Christ” in Ancient Greek—Chi is written as “X” and Rho is written as “P.” Heavily stylized, they are the focus of this page, which illuminates the Gospel of St. Matthew, relating Christ’s birth. The page also features the letter “I,” for Iota, the third letter in the word Christ, and the word generatio. This is the opening of the verse that reads, “This is how Christ came to be born.” US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 40 13/04/2017 17:27 41BOOK OF KELLS ◼ IRISH COLUMBAN MONKS 1 HEAVENLY ANGELS Angels, drawn as male figures with wings and blond hair, appear to rise out of one of the cross arms of the Chi, or letter “X." Positioned just above, but not seen here, is a third angel. These divine messengers of God were sent to spread the word of the birth of Christ—the word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, meaning “messenger." 3HIDDEN IMAGES The Chi Rho page is renowned for its concealed illustrations of animals and people. Here, a blond man’s head set on its side finishes the elaborate curve of the Rho, resembling the letter “P," while a third Greek letter, Iota, an “I," passes through its center. It is thought by some academics that the head represents Christ. 3 INTRICATE DESIGN Squeezed between the right-hand curls of the letter Chi, or “X," is this exquisite swirling motif. The artist’s work shows such extraordinary detailing and delicacy that it has been compared to that of a goldsmith. 4 3 2 7 KEY 1 Visual tour 1 4 2 3 4 ANIMAL MOTIFS Toward the bottom of the page, two cats appear to be watching a pair of large mice holding a white disc in their mouths. The disc may represent a Holy Communion wafer but its precise symbolic significance, and that of the creatures, has been lost over the centuries. US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 41 13/04/2017 17:27 42 3000 bce–999 ce In detail 3 GROUP EFFORT The Book of Kells is thought to have been the combined work of three monks writing the Latin text, and four decorating the pages and coloring the initials. It is the first known Irish manuscript in which every single opening letter is illustrated, and the first medieval manuscript with spaces between the words to make reading easier. 1 REPEATED WORDS Folio 200r illustrates the genealogy of Christ. Qui (“Who”) is repeated at the start of each line, and illustrations of intertwined serpents link the generations. 1 STYLIZED SCRIPT This detail from Folio 19v features an ornate letter “Z," followed by acha, with the rest of the name Zachariae relegated to the next line, prioritizing decoration. 1 ILLUSTRATED LETTER Folio 124r from the Gospel of St. Matthew uses an elaborately illustrated initial letter “T” and a fierce fire-breathing lion to symbolize Christ’s crucifixion. US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 42 13/04/2017 17:27 43BOOK OF KELLS ◼ IRISH COLUMBAN MONKS 1 PORTRAIT PAGE Among the purely decorative pages are a number of portrait pages. Above, the purple-robed Christ, flanked by four angels, is shown seated and holding a Book of the Gospels in his hands. The two peacocks are symbols of Christ’s resurrection. 4 CANON TABLES The eight canon tables at the start of the manuscript are an index to those passages that are shared between the four Gospels. Each table is illustrated. The patterned architectural columns are topped by a half dome enclosing fantastical creatures. 3 CARPET PAGE Even though carpet pages—so named because they resemble oriental rugs—are characteristic of Insular manuscripts, there is only one in the Book of Kells. Geometrically precise and highly ornamental, it is dominated by roundels created with a pair of compasses. The circles are filled with over 400 discs and spirals of incredibly detailed workmanship. RELATED TEXTS 1 A cross-carpet page from the Lindisfarne Gospels facing beautifully decorated initials and display capitals. The Lindisfarne Gospels is another beautiful example of Insular art, written and decorated in the early eighth century at the abbey of Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast English coast. Although smaller and far less elaborate than the Book of Kells, it boasts similar patterns and colors. It also features ornamental carpet pages, like the Book of Kells (see left), with one at the beginning of each of the Gospels. The text of the Gospels was translated from Latin into Old English and written between the lines of the manuscript in the tenth century. This makes it the oldest existing translation of the Gospels in the English language. US_038-043_Book_of_Kells.indd 43 13/04/2017 17:27 44 3000 bce–999 ce The Qur’an is the core Islamic text, which Muslims believe was revealed to Muhammad by God between 609 and 632 CE. This sacred work describes God and humankind's relationship to Him, and gives directives in order for His followers to achieve peace in this life and thereafter—every Muslim is expected to be familiar with its teachings. Dating from the late ninth to early tenth century, the sumptuous Blue Qur'an is one of the most beautiful copies of the book ever produced, and takes its name from the vivid indigo dye that colors its pages. The visually contrasting gold text is a rare feature in books of this period, although it does follow Islamic tradition, where many religious texts were written in gold or silver on dark surfaces. The scribe who wrote the Blue Qur'an used elongated strokes in order to make the script fill the pages in a manner pleasing to the eye. Clarity has been sacrificed for aesthetics, as there are no diacritical marks (such as accents) above or below letters to indicate vowels, and the calligrapher has also inserted spaces within words simply to make the columns of text align. Little is known of when, where, and how the Blue Qur'an was produced, although it is speculated that it may have been produced in Baghdad, capital of the Abbasid caliphate, or Cordoba in Spain, capital of the Umayyad caliphate. The most widely accepted theory is that it was commissioned for the Great Mosque in Kairouan, Tunisia. It is possible that the unique coloring may have been used in an attempt to echo the imperial blue or purple used for similarly opulent documents of the contemporary and rival Byzantine empire. Certainly the use of indigo and gold was expensive, suggesting that it was commissioned by a very wealthy patron, possibly the caliph or one of his inner circle. Today, the folios have been divided and are kept in different museums around the world, although most are held at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. The Blue Qur’an c.850–950 ce ◼ GOLD ON DYED VELLUM ◼ c.12 × 16 in (30.4 × 40.2 in) ◼ 600 PAGES ◼ TUNISIA AUTHOR UNKNOWN SCALE In detail 1 EVEN LINES Part of the visual appeal of the pages is due to their 15 lines of equal length. Most contemporary copies contained only three lines per page. To achieve these equal lines, the scribe manipulated letters and omitted important grammatical marks. 1 GREATEST TO LEAST The Qur’an consists of 114 chapters, or surah, each consisting of a series of verses, or ayah, of varying lengths. Perhaps confusingly, the chapters follow no chronological or thematic structure, but are arranged by length: the longest first, and the shortest last. In the Blue Qur’an, the chapters are separated by silver rosettes, all long since faded as a result of oxidation. US_044-045_Blue_Quran.indd 44 13/04/2017 17:27 45THE BLUE QUR’AN ◼ AUTHOR UNKNOWN This is the book about which there is no doubt … THE QUR'AN, 2:2 1 KUFIC SCRIPT The Blue Qur’an is written in Kufic script. This is the earliest form of Arabic script, named for Kufa in Iraq, where it was developed during the late seventh century. Its horizontal format is typical of tenth–eighth century copies of the Qur'an. As with all Arabic scripts, it is read from right to left. US_044-045_Blue_Quran.indd 45 13/04/2017 17:27 46 SCALE 3000 BCE–999 CE The Diamond Sutra is a key Buddhist text. A "sutra," an Indian Sanskrit word, is the name for the teachings of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, or "Awakened One," who lived in the sixth century BCE. The title of the sutra is a reference to what the Buddha called "the Diamond of Transcendent Wisdom": the wisdom that can cut through the illusions of wordly concerns to the eternal reality. The text takes the form of a dialogue between an aging disciple, Subhuti, and the Buddha. As with all such Buddhist teachings, it aims to highlight the idea that human existence, like the material world, is illusory. The added importance of the scroll, now in the British Library, is that it is the oldest complete printed document in the world whose date is exactly known. The scroll was discovered in 1900 by a Chinese Daoist monk, who found it in the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, a warren of tunnels dug into a cliff outside the Silk Road settlement of Dunhuang, northwest China (see p.51). With it were 60,000 other paintings and documents, all apparently hidden for safe-keeping in around the year 1000 CE. In 1907 the scroll was acquired by a Hungarian- born explorer, Marc Auriel Stein, who sent it to the British Museum. The Diamond Sutra is a precise example of the sophistication of Chinese printing, which developed in the eighth century, and of Chinese paper-making, which developed earlier still, perhaps in the second century BCE. It is also a remarkable testimony to the spread of Buddhism from its Indian heartlands. Diamond Sutra 868 CE ◼ PRINTED ◼ 11 in × 16 ft (27 cm × 5 m) ◼ CHINA AUTHOR UNKNOWN 4 ILLUSTRATION The opening of the Diamond Sutra reveals its only illustration, and the earliest surviving example of a woodcut illustration in a printed book. It shows the Buddha in the center of the scene, clearly a figure of authority, as he dispenses the wisdom of the sutra to the crouching Subhuti at the lower left of the frame. The Buddha's disciples surround him. 2 EXACT DATE At the foot of the scroll is an inscription, or colophon, which reads: "Reverently made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents, 11 May 868." Such precise dating of the time of commission makes this scroll unique. 3 LARGE SCALE Due to the length of the text, it was created in seven sections that were then pasted together. The scroll was designed to be unrolled from a wooden pin, or stave, and to be read, top down, from left to right. Reciting the Sutra was intended to help bring happiness in rebirth. 1 EARLY PRINTING Following the printing methods used in ninth-century Tang China, wood blocks (painstakingly carved from painted originals) were used to print onto a paper dyed with a substance made from the bark of the Amur corktree. Nothing comparable would be produced in Europe for another 600 years until the arrival of Gutenberg’s printing press. US_046-047_Diamond_Sutra.indd 46 13/04/2017 17:27 47DIAMOND SUTRA ◼ AUTHOR UNKNOWN All conditional phenomena are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow. THE DIAMOND SUTRA US_046-047_Diamond_Sutra.indd 47 13/04/2017 17:27 48 3000 bCE–999 CE The largest and most varied collection of medieval Anglo-Saxon poetry, The Exeter Book is one of only four Anglo- Saxon collections of poetry to survive. Most likely written around the end of the tenth century, it has been described by UNESCO as “the foundation volume of English literature, one of the world’s principal cultural artifacts.” The book takes its name from Exeter Cathedral, to whose library Bishop Leofric bequeathed the volume at his death in 1072. It was written in the scriptorium of an English Benedictine monastery and has no single theme, but contains poems and riddles. The poems cover a wide variety of subjects—religion, the natural world, and animals. There are also several “elegies” concerned with themes such as exile, loneliness, fate, the acquisition of wisdom, and loyalty. Famously, the book contains almost 100 riddles, possibly intended to be performed. Some are unclear in their meaning, but a handful are plainly intended as lewd double entendres. Scholars have identified many elements of the book’s religious and secular poems as dating from centuries before their written form, some of which may originate in the seventh century CE. Written on vellum in Old English, the book is testimony to the civilizing influence of the Church, specifically of the oldest monastic order in England, the Benedictines, and to the emerging Anglo-Saxon taste for literature and the power of the written word. As such, it is a glimpse into the Anglo- Saxon culture of post-Roman Britain, and sheds light on the monastic enclosure where it was scribed. As a literary work its impact can be seen in the work of writers, such as J. R. R Tolkien (1892–1973) and W. H. Auden (1907–1973). The Exeter Book C.975 CE ◼ VELLUM ◼ 12 × 9 in (32 × 22 cm) ◼ 131 PAGES ◼ ENGLAND AUTHOR UNKNOWN In detail 1 DAMAGED PAGES The Exeter Book did not always receive the care it deserved. Its first eight pages are missing, while other pages have been damaged. Those shown here, for example, were burned when a firebrand was placed on it. The book has also been marked by spillages of glue and gold leaf, as well as a large gash and a sewn-up tear. 1 LATIN ALPHABET The Old English script uses the Latin alphabet, with a number of letters, such as “G” and “D,” written in a form principally found in manuscripts from the British Isles. A large “H” indicates the start of one of the longest poems in the book: an account of St. Juliana of Nicomedia (in modern-day Turkey), an early Christian convert martyred in about 300 CE, having refused to renounce her faith and marry a Roman senator. The poem is characteristic of the medieval world's veneration of early Christian martyrs. 4 SINGLE SCRIBE The Exeter Book is the work of one scribe. It is penned in a somber brown ink, in what one expert has described as “the noblest of Anglo-Saxon hands.” The calligraphy—regular, rhythmic, and rounded—is extraordinarily consistent throughout. While the book contains no illustrations, there are a number of soberly restrained decorated capital letters, as shown here. SCALE US_048-049_The_Exeter_Book.indd 48 13/04/2017 17:27 49THE EXETER BOOK ◼ AUTHOR UNKNOWN The wonder is that any part of it should have survived. R. W. CHAMBERS, FRIEND OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN While The Exeter Book contains the largest and most important collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry, the best-known single Anglo-Saxon poem is the 3,000- line epic Beowulf. It seems likely that this poem was composed in the eighth century, although it clearly reflects an earlier, possibly sixth-century oral tradition. The single existing original Anglo-Saxon copy seems to have been written in about 1000 CE. This classic story, which tells how the great warrior Beowulf slew the terrible monster Grendel and his equally fearsome mother, accurately reflects the Anglo-Saxons’ Germanic origins. It is a compellingly rich picture of honor and heroism poised between a pagan past and a Christian future. Translated into many languages, the story has also been adapted into films, operas, and computer games. RELATED TEXTS 4 The sole, fragile copy of Beowulf is held in the British Library. It is the work of two scribes, their handwriting clearly distinguishable. It is unknown where in England the manuscript was originally produced. US_048-049_The_Exeter_Book.indd 49 13/04/2017 17:27 50 3000 BCE–999 CE The science of the erotics from a Kama Sutra of the Pahari school, Northern India. RIGVEDA INDIA (C.1500 BCE) Originally passed down via oral tradition, The Rigveda is the oldest of the four ancient Hindu sacred texts, known collectively as the Vedas. The Rigveda is a collection of hymns dedicated to the Vedic deities. The longest and most important of the Vedas, it was probably composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontintent, and is written in an ancient form of Sanksrit. It comprises 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses of varying lengths, which have been divided into 10 books known as mandalas (or “circles”). The Vedas are the basis of all Hindu sacred writings, and some hymns of the Rigveda are still used in Hindu ceremonies today, making it one of the world’s oldest religious texts still in current usage. THE ILIAD AND THE ODYSSEY HOMER GREECE (LATE 8TH–EARLY 7TH CENTURY BCE) These two ancient Greek epic poems dating from the late eighth to the early seventh century BCE are the oldest known works of Western literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, while The Odyssey describes Odysseus’s journey home following the Fall of Troy. Both poems are attributed to the poet Homer, although some scholars believe they are the work of multiple contributors but ascribed to a single identity: Homer. The poems were written in a dialect known as Homeric Greek, and more copies exist than of any other ancient Western text. The most famous, Venetus A, dates to the tenth century and is the oldest complete text of The Iliad. TORAH ISRAEL (C.LATE 7TH CENTURY BCE) The most important document of the Jewish faith, the Torah is said to have been dictated by God to Moses while on Mount Sinai. The text on a Torah scroll is taken from the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) and is handwritten on parchment from a kosher animal. The writing of the scrolls is believed to date to the eighth century BCE but the oldest complete scroll in existence dates to 1155–1225 CE. Parts of the Torah text have also been found on fragments of a Hebrew Bible dating back to the late seventh century BCE. THE ANALECTS CONFUCIUS CHINA (WRITTEN C.475–221 BCE; ADAPTED 206 BCE–220 CE) This collection of the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE) is one of the central texts of Confucianism. Written with brush and ink on strips of bamboo bound together with string, The Analects was complied by Confucius’s followers after his death. While it is unlikely to be a record of the exact words of Confucius, it is considered to be a representation of his doctrine. The Analects is made up of a series of short passages divided into 20 books, and encompasses ethical concepts for the Confucian way of life. During the Song Dynasty (960–1279) The Analects was classified as one of the four texts that encapsulate the core beliefs of Confucianism. THE HISTORIES HERODOTUS GREECE (C.440 BCE) Written by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c.484–c.425 BCE), The Histories is widely acknowledged to be the earliest existing work of history in the West. It examines the growth of the Persian Empire, the events that lead to the Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BCE), and the eventual defeat of the Persians. Herodotus also describes the belief systems and spiritual practices of these ancient civilizations. The oldest existing complete manuscript of The Histories dates to the tenth century CE, but much older papyri fragments have been found, primarily in Egypt. This text is considered to have established the genre of history writing in Western culture. TAO TE CHING CHINA (C.4TH CENTURY BCE) A classic text of Chinese philosophical literature, the Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing ) is the basis for philosophical and religious Taoism. Most scholars attribute it to the Chinese sage and teacher Lao Tzu. However, little is known about him and some argue that he never even existed. The text was originally written in a form of calligraphy known as “zhuanshu," and comprised 81 short, poetic chapters divided into two sections: the Tao Ching and the Te Ching. Versions of the manuscript have been discovered written on bamboo, silk, and paper. The oldest fragments date to the fourth century BCE, yet some scholars believe the Tao Te Ching may have existed as far back as the eighth century BCE. It has been translated into western languages more than 250 times and is considered one of the most profound philosophical texts on the nature of human existence. THE SYMPOSIUM AND THE REPUBLIC PLATO GREECE (C.385–370 BCE) These are two of the 36 dialogues written by the Classical Greek philosopher Plato (c.428–c.348 BCE). Plato’s dialogues were grouped into Directory: 3000 BCE-999 CE US_050-051_Directory_Chapter_1.indd 50 13/04/2017 17:27 51DIRECTORY ◼ 3000 BCE–999 CE Andromeda with a fish across her waist representing the Andromeda Galaxy, from the Book of the Constellations of Fixed Stars. early, middle, and late periods, and both of these texts fall into the middle period. It is through his dialogues that Plato gives voice to Socrates, the founding father of Western philosophy and Plato’s mentor who was executed for his beliefs. Socrates is given a central role in Plato’s philosophical works, and much of what is known about Socrates today comes from these dialogues. The Symposium is a fundamental philosophical treatise on the nature of love, which it examines through a witty discussion between a group of men at a symposium (an ancient Greek “drinking party”) with Socrates at the center. This philosophical and literary masterpiece has influenced generations of writers and thinkers, and provides the basis of the concept of “platonic love”—a deep but nonsexual love between two people. The Republic is by far the most famous and widely read of Plato’s dialogues, and is considered to be one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy. This dialogue discusses the meaning of justice— asking what it is and considering whether the just or the unjust man is happiest. Again Socrates is the central character. The Republic is a key document in the history of Western political philosophy. 2KAMA SUTRA MALLANAGA VĀTSYĀYANA INDIA (200–400 CE) This ancient Sanskrit text was compiled by Hindu philosopher and sage Mallanaga Vātsyāyana and is considered the first comprehensive work on human sexuality. It comprises 36 chapters of 1,250 verses, which are then separated into seven parts. The text acts as a guide to good and fulfilled living, the nature of love, and how to create a happy marriage through a combination of physical and emotional love. In Western society, The Kama Sutra has come to be a byword for a sex manual, but in reality the original manuscript, written in a complex form of Sanskrit, was a treatise on love in which the 64 sexual positions described form only a part. It was published with an English translation in 1883 by the British explorer Sir Richard Burton. DUNHUANG MANUSCRIPTS CHINA (5TH–11TH CENTURIES CE) An important collection of around 60,000 sacred and secular documents, the Dunhuang Manuscripts were discovered in 1900 by the Chinese monk Wang Yuanlu in a cave in the town of Dunhuang, China. Believed to have been sealed up for 900 years, the manuscripts date to between the fifth and eleventh centuries. They were primarily written in Chinese and Tibetan, but examples of 17 different languages are represented, some now extinct, such as Old Uyghur and Old Turkic. The sacred texts include Buddhist scriptures, as well as Taoist, Nestorian Christian, and Manichean writings. The secular manuscripts cover a wide range of academic disciplines, such as mathematics, astronomy, history, and literature, as well as wills, divorce papers, and census registers, so they provide scholars with invaluable insight into the period. Perhaps the most important discovery was the world’s earliest example of a printed book— the Diamond Sutra (see pp.46–47), a Buddhist text written in 868 CE. THE KOJIKI O NO YASUMARO JAPAN (C.712 CE) The oldest existing written record of Japanese history, The Kojiki (or Record of Ancient Matters) was compiled from an oral tradition. The author, O no Yasumaro, was commissioned to write it by the Empress Genmei. The Kojiki begins with the mythology of Japan’s creation (supposedly from foam) and goes on to discuss gods and goddesses, historical legends, poems, and songs; it also provides a chronology of the Imperial line from its beginning up to the reign of Empress Suiko (628 CE). The book divides into three parts: the Kamitsumaki (the age of the gods), the Nakatsumaki (from Emperors Jimmu to Ojin, the 15th) and the Shimotsumaki (continuing story up to Suioko, the 33rd Emperor). Shinto, the national religion of Japan, is believed to be largely based on the mythology outlined in The Kojiki. When the book was compiled there was no written Japanese language, so the text uses Chinese characters to interpret the Japanese sounds, a writing system known as Man'yōgana. The Kojiki was first translated into English in 1882. 1BOOK OF THE CONSTELLATIONS OF FIXED STARS ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-SUFI IRAN (964 CE) This treatise, known in Arabic as Kitāb suwar al-kawākib al-thābita, was composed by Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (903–986). Earlier, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy (100–168 CE) had constructed an elegant mathematical model of the movement of the heavens as spheres rotating around the unmoving Earth. Al-Sufi’s book was a brilliant attempt to combine the theories proposed in Ptolemy’s Almagest, (one of the sources of al-Sufi's text), with his own astronomical observations. The book presents tables listing the names of hundreds of stars, as well as descriptions of the 48 constellations —known as Fixed Stars—which, according to the medieval conception of the universe, inhabited the eighth of the nine spheres around the Earth. Each description is accompanied by two illustrations in mirror image, showing how the constellation appears in the sky and through astronomical instruments. US_050-051_Directory_Chapter_1.indd 51 13/04/2017 17:27 US_052-053_Chapter_2_Opener.indd 52 13/04/2017 17:27 The Tale of Genji Canon of Medicine The Domesday Book The Gospels of Henry the Lion Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry C H A PT ER 2 1000–1449 US_052-053_Chapter_2_Opener.indd 53 13/04/2017 17:27 54 1000–1449 The crowning glory of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari) by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu is often considered to be the world’s first full novel. Although the original manuscript has been lost, fragments of the text are preserved on a twelfth- century illustrated hand scroll. Later depictions of the story such as the scrolls shown here, created in the sixteenth century by female Genji artist and scholar Keifukuin Gyokuei (1526–after 1602)—were based on edited versions of the manuscripts made by two Japanese poets in the thirteenth century. The long and complex, two-part narrative is largely set in the imperial court of early eleventh-century Heian-Kyō (now Kyōto), and features over 400 characters. However, 41 of the 54 chapters tell the adventures and romantic liaisons of Genji, the emperor’s son. Murasaki wrote Genji while serving as an attendant at the Japanese court, and part of its appeal lies in her vivid portrayal of the rivalries and intrigues of this rarefied world; Heian courtiers were obsessed with rank and breeding, and were acutely attuned to the beauty The Tale of Genji 1021 ce (WRITTEN) 1554 ce (VERSION SHOWN) ◼ SIX PAPER SCROLLS ◼ DIMENSIONS UNKNOWN, ORIGINAL SCROLL c.450 ft (137 m) LONG ◼ JAPAN MURASAKI SHIKIBU of nature and the pleasures of music, poetry, and calligraphy. The book is also revered for its great psychological insights. The suffering endured by its major female characters—Genji’s myriad lovers—is described with great sympathy; none more so than that of Murasaki, Genji’s favourite wife, who dies of a broken heart. But the novel’s main theme is the impermanence of life, its fleeting pleasures, and the inevitability of grief. Even in modern Japan, Genji remains a cultural icon. MURASAKI SHIKIBU c.978–1014 Murasaki Shikibu was a high-born Japanese writer, poet, and lady-in-waiting, best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, one of the greatest works of Japanese literature. Murasaki Shikibu, a descriptive name, was born in Kyōto into one of Japan’s leading families (the Fujiwara clan) – her real name is not known. She received a good education before marrying one of her cousins, with whom she had a daughter. In 1001 Murasaki’s husband died, and four years later she was summoned to serve at the court of the empress. Although the precise dates when she wrote her epic novel are not known, it is most likely that it was during her service at the imperial court. The first 33 chapters of Genji are written with extreme consistency, yet discrepancies in later chapters suggest that the latter half was written by another author. In detail 1 HAKUBYO GENJI MONOGATARI EMAKI The hand scroll shown here, created in 1554 by aristocratic painter Keifukuin Gyokuei, is thought to be the first version and commentary of the Genji prepared by a woman for female readers. Knowledge of the Genji was considered to be a sign of status in sixteenth-century Japan, and for women, it could help them to secure a favorable marriage. 1 SCROLL ENDS A hand scroll is held in a reader’s hands and read from right to left, as Japanese is written. The reader unfurls the left-hand portion of the scroll, which is bound around a dowel, while rolling up the right-hand portion. Typically, only an arms-length of the narrative is visible at a time. There are six scrolls in the Hakubyo Genji Monogatari Emaki; the ends of scroll two are shown above and left. US_054-055_The_tale_of_Genji.indd 54 13/04/2017 17:27 55THE TALE OF GENJI ◼ MURASAKI SHIKIBU The Tale of Genji is enduringly popular in Japan; over the past 1,000 years it has been presented with text and illustrations in various mediums, including scrolls, albums, books, fans, screens, and woodbock prints. The novel was revered during the Edo period (1615–1868), which saw a revival of classical Heian culture, particularly among Kyoto courtiers and merchants. More recently it has been the subject of paintings, films, operas, and animé, and modern translations have been published in Chinese, German, French, Italian, and English.1 HIRAGANA SCRIPT The phonetic script in which Genji was written, seen here on the scroll, was known as “women’s hand.” Almost colloquial, hiragana became the language o