movable type

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Medieval astronomy in Europe

By | 2018-04-16T10:32:25+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Astrolabe in Hebrew, probably from Spain (1300s AD) In the early Middle Ages, most people in Europe were too poor to have much time for astronomy. But some people were still interested in the stars. Astrologers tried to predict the future. Monks wanted to figure out the right day to celebrate Easter, or the right times for prayers. And a few [...]

Printing spreads around the world

By | 2018-04-09T23:07:25+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Literature|

Qing dynasty court lady reading a handwritten scroll (probably 1700s AD) Printing with movable type first began in China about 1000 AD. It caught on when European printers combined movable type with the alphabet. By 1500 AD Europeans were printing everything they could think of, from Bibles to ancient Greek philosophy to advertising leaflets and posters. Jewish refugees from Spain brought [...]

History of printing – movable type

By | 2017-07-27T17:44:08+00:00 July 27th, 2017|China, Literature|

Wong Jei's block-printed scroll, 868 AD For four thousand years after the invention of writing in Iraq, all writing was done by hand, a character at a time. When people needed a copy of a scroll, they had to pay a scribe to copy it out for them. Of course this made scrolls very expensive. [...]

Who invented paper? Ancient China and the history of paper

By | 2017-12-14T09:10:26+00:00 July 27th, 2017|China, Literature, Science|

History of paper: Early Chinese paper Paper invented in China Since the invention of writing, people had been trying to come up with something easier to write on than papyrus or parchment, and also something easier and cheaper to make. But it took 3000 years to come up with paper! Paper was invented around 100 BC in China. In [...]

Science in ancient and medieval China

By | 2018-04-18T18:18:11+00:00 June 7th, 2017|China, Science|

Chinese compass Possibly as a result of the formation of the first empires and the rise of the Silk Road, Chinese scientists embarked on a series of important inventions around 500 BC, during the Warring States period. Most of these inventions spread quickly along the Silk Road across Asia, and eventually even reached [...]

Early Chinese Literature – Poetry and War

By | 2018-04-18T17:17:24+00:00 June 6th, 2017|China, Literature|

Early Chinese literature: an oracle bone with Chinese characters written on it When did people start to write in China? People in China started to write about 1500 BC, more than a thousand years later than people in West Asia or Egypt, but earlier than anyone in Europe or Central America. It's possible they learned about writing [...]