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Greek letters

Letters in the Greek world could be written on metal, wax-coated wood, fragments of earthenware, animal skin, and (above all) papyrus (see books, Greek and Roman); a very early surviving ...

Letters, Greek

Letters, Greek   Reference library

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
2,227 words

..., Greek The earliest surviving Greek letter, scratched on a sheet of folded lead, dates from about 500 bce (the so-called Berezan letter, Trapp text 1), and Herodotus (3.40–43) quotes historical correspondence between Polycrates of Samos and Amasis of Egypt, the earliest Greek letters preserved by literary transmission. The letter must have existed for some time prior to this, but how long is uncertain: the “signs” on a folded tablet at Iliad 6.168 are commonly taken as the first reference to letters in antiquity, and Hellanicus (fragment 178) credits...

letters, Greek

letters, Greek   Reference library

Michael Burney Trapp

The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
1,116 words

..., Greek Letters in the Greek world could be written on metal, wax-coated wood, fragments of earthenware, animal skin, and (above all) papyrus ( see books, greek and roman ); a very early surviving example ( c. 500 bc ) is on lead ( PCPS 1973, 35). Literary references begin with the murderous message of Proetus ( Il . 6. 168; see bellerophon ); the earliest correspondence attested in a historical source is that of Amasis of Egypt and Polycrates (1) in the early 520s (Hdt. 3. 40–3). At least until the late 5th cent. bc , and perhaps into the...

letters (i.e. correspondence), Greek

letters (i.e. correspondence), Greek   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
342 words

... (i.e. correspondence), Greek Letters could be written on metal, wax‐coated wood, ostraka , animal skin, and (above all) papyrus ( see books, greek and roman ). At least until the late 5th cent. bc , and perhaps into the 4th, letter‐writing was not a widespread habit. Surviving letters are of many kinds. Roughly, one may distinguish: 1. Letters of otherwise unknown private individuals and officials, preserved either by mere chance, or because kept for personal or administrative archives . Nearly all of these are known from papyrus finds from...

Greek letters

Greek letters  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Letters in the Greek world could be written on metal, wax-coated wood, fragments of earthenware, animal skin, and (above all) papyrus (see books, Greek and Roman); a very early surviving ...
1 Writing Systems

1 Writing Systems   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
6,152 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
7

...of the first alphabet is even more perplexing. That the alphabet reached the modern world via the ancient Greeks is well known—the word ‘alphabet’ comes from the first two of the Greek letters, alpha and beta—but we have no clear idea of how and when the alphabet appeared in Greece; how the Greeks thought of adding letters standing for the vowels as well as the consonants; and how, even more fundamentally, the idea of an alphabet occurred to the pre-Greek societies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean during the 2 nd millennium bc . The first well-attested...

7 The Book as Symbol

7 The Book as Symbol   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
1,981 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...the symbolic meaning of the book might translate also into the mystical value of the book as artefact. The idea within the Kabbalah of the secret significance of the very letters in which the Torah is transcribed has been traced back to the 1 st century bc . The idea of a magical power inscribed into the very letters of the text finds graphic form in the tradition of illuminating letters. The *Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of *Kells are now among the best-known artefacts in the Western world, with their extravagant extensions of the individual letter...

3 The Ancient Book

3 The Ancient Book   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
6,942 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
2

...the gymnasia that eventually spread Greek physical and intellectual values throughout the Hellenized world. People wrote *letters , contracts, and wills, and court cases depended on written documents. It is not safe, however, to assume that people in ancient Greece read in precisely the same way that modern Europeans do. The fact that texts were written without word division ( scripta continua ) made vocalization almost imperative, so that reading aloud remained normative throughout Greek culture. In time, some Greeks developed the ability to read silently,...

4 The History of the Book in Byzantium

4 The History of the Book in Byzantium   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
2,204 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...is that shortages led to experiments with styles of script that had hitherto been used in documents rather than literary texts and that could be written with smaller letters. One of these experiments was eventually found to be satisfactory and generally adopted; it has been suggested that this adaptation of *cursive script with numerous *ligatures combining two or three letters was invented or popularized by monks of the *Stoudios monastery in Constantinople, which was noted for its *scriptorium from the 9 th century onwards. Uncial was...

2 The Sacred Book

2 The Sacred Book   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
9,978 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...major divisions ( see 8 ). The term Tanakh is derived from the first letters of all three divisions: Torah (Law), Nevi’im (prophets), and Kituvim (hagiographa). The initial, most important, and authoritative division is the Torah (Law, also meaning ‘instruction’, ‘teaching’), which includes the so-called Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Scholars refer to the Pentateuch as the Hexateuch, which is derived from the Greek term meaning ‘five scrolls’ (five books plus Joshua). The Torah represented...

18 Theories of Text, Editorial Theory, and Textual Criticism

18 Theories of Text, Editorial Theory, and Textual Criticism   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
5,963 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...documents. The New Testament existed, in whole or in part, in some 5,000 Greek MSS, as well as in Latin versions and patristic quotation. St Jerome, author of the Vulgate Latin translation, was apparently conscious of the problems that arise in MS transcription, including the confusion of letters and of *abbreviations , transpositions, dittography, and scribal emendation. Humanist textual scholarship antedated printing. Valla, for instance, amended the Vulgate on the bases of the Greek original and patristic texts ( 1449 ; published by *Erasmus , 1505 )....

Novels

Novels   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
6,137 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...(as was the scholarly conflict between the editors * Percy and * Ritson ) along ideological lines. Most importantly of all, romance was regarded as a mode of writing free from formal constraint, its irregularities reassessed in works such as Richard Hurd 's ( 1720–1808 ) Letters on Chivalry and Romance ( 1762 ) and Reeve 's The Progress of Romance ( 1785 ). Sir Walter *Scott 's ‘Essay on Romance’ ( 1824 ) questioned the adequacy of Samuel *Johnson 's definition of the novel as ‘a smooth tale, generally of love’; instead he defined the novel as ‘a...

Design

Design   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
6,178 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...and purveyed through numerous illustrated academic treatises. But by the middle of the eighteenth century the study of ancient Greece and archaeological discoveries in Rome, Herculaneum, and Pompeii had led to a new understanding of the antique [ see *Hellenism ]. The influential writings of the German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann ( 1717–68 ) advocated a return to the noble simplicity and calm grandeur of Greek art. The classical tradition represented universal and timeless values of truth, purity, and honesty, freed from the intervention of...

6 The European Printing Revolution

6 The European Printing Revolution   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
6,082 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...15 th century: representations of saints, with or without accompanying text, and playing cards were reproduced by *woodcut . *Blockbooks produced using the same method appeared around the middle of the century, their letters carved in *woodblocks . Screw-driven olive and wine presses were common at the period. *Punches , with letters and symbols cut in relief on their ends, were used by seal and coin engravers and by goldsmiths to mark their wares to satisfy guild regulations; the mechanical precision necessary for matrix and mould production was also...

5 The European Medieval Book

5 The European Medieval Book   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
9,862 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...had been known and valued. The nostalgic and lingering respect for Greek and Roman classical learning survived through the Middle Ages, carrying an uneasy sense that ancient knowledge was somehow unusually special and was even intellectually superior to that of later times. This theme winds in and out of the history of Christian book culture, sometimes in direct conflict and often in an uneasy partnership. The earliest adherents of Christianity grew up in a civilization familiar with Greek and Latin texts of poetry, philosophy, history, and science. Early...

31 The History of the Book in Hungary

31 The History of the Book in Hungary   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
2,942 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...for Buda—the spiritual and administrative centre of the Empire formed by the famous collector *Matthias Corvinus —and proceeded to set up his *printing office . Over the next five months, he produced his Chronica Hungarorum (also known as the Buda Chronicle ). He cast his letters from *matrices imported from George Lauer’s press in Rome, and used the same paper and *fount in his second, undated book printed in Buda. It comprised two works: Basil the Great’s De Legendis Poetis and Xenophon’s Apologia Socratis , with the *colophon ‘.A: .H. Bude.’...

Consumerism

Consumerism   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
3,809 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...to close it, her receipts would be lessened forty or fifty shillings a day so many were the persons who took up buns or biscuits as they passed by and threw their pence in, not allowing themselves time to enter. Was there ever so indefatigable a people! Southey's pseudonymous Letters from England ( 1807 ) portrays a nation of shopkeepers and shoppers being seduced by a novel and pervasive commercial culture. In short, independently of the transformations wrought by the industrial revolution [ see *industrialization, 14 ], England was being transformed...

38 The History of the Book in the Muslim World

38 The History of the Book in the Muslim World   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
13,110 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
4

...into unintentional repetitions, omissions, and other corruptions of the text. Two particular problems arising from the nature of the Arabic script are false transcriptions caused by misreading or misplacing the diacritical points distinguishing different letters ( taṣḥīf ), and by transposing root letters within a word ( taḥrīf or ibdāl ). Although many MSS were checked and edited before being released, the corruption of texts in this way, an inevitable consequence of scribal culture, was a continual source of anxiety and insecurity in a civilization for...

24 The History of the Book in Germany

24 The History of the Book in Germany   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
10,033 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
2

... 1852 , some critics were fiercely hostile. After the creation of the Reich in 1871 , support grew for Fraktur as a truly German script—Bismarck claimed he would refuse to read a German book that was not printed in gothic type, for ‘a German word in Latin letters is as alien as a Greek word in German letters’—and the Reichstag was petitioned on the matter, though in 1911 it decided not to proceed. But the continuing preference for gothic typefaces deterred foreign readers—even conservative Sweden had increasingly adopted roman, largely under the influence of...

37 The History of the Book in Sub-Saharan Africa

37 The History of the Book in Sub-Saharan Africa   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
5,157 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, corresponded extensively with the London-based Society on his return to Africa to serve as a minister; his late 18 th - and early 19 th -century letters offer nuanced engagements with *patronage and missionary education. Other notable works in a similar vein include Phillis Wheatley ’s Poems on Various Subjects ( 1773 ), Ignatius Sancho ’s Letters ( 1782 ), and Ottabah Cugoano ’s Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of Slavery ( 1787 ). The most famous remains The Interesting Narrative of the Life of...

History

History   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
5,067 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...equally vindictive measures [ see *gagging acts ]. The discussion of the ‘spirit of the age’ in the new historicism of our period, then, is to be understood as a function of the way time and spirit are increasingly, through the developing public sphere of eighteenth-century letters, periodized by periodical publication. In eighteenth-century Britain the history of the periodical forms an important part in any account of the periodization of history. Founded in 1731 as a monthly digest of materials from the weeklies, the Gentleman's Magazine added an...

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