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