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However, even after the invention of the printing press, scribes and illuminators continued to create some books by hand using the traditional methods. Illuminations done during this era often were painted to look like they were carved in stone. The illuminators copied ancient Roman designs such as shields, spears, Roman heroes and dolphins. The example below if from Virgil's Aeneid, created in the late 15th century. The initial A was painted to look like a three-dimensional carved letter.


Questions to Think About and Discuss

The printing press made it possible to produce books more quickly and at a lower cost. This had an important effect on society, because it meant that people who were not wealthy could also afford to buy books. The result was that information became available to more people.

1. What modern inventions do you think have had the most influence on the way people communicate with each other?

2 Many people today believe that the Internet is changing the way people get information. However, some people are worried that the Internet makes it easy for criminals to get dangerous information, such as instructions on how to make bombs. Parents also worry that their children might see X-rated pictures on the Internet. To solve these problems, some have suggested that the government should not allow certain types of information or pictures to be published on the Internet. Others believe that the government should not have control, because it would limit freedom of speech. They believe it's better for parents and teachers to have control over what children can view rather than to censor information. What do you think?


For More Information

To learn more about illumination, see The Illuminated Alphabet, Noad & Seligman, Running Press,1994.



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