Johann Gutenberg

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Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1398 – February 3, 1468), a German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing during the 1440s, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, a mould for casting type accurately, and a new kind of printing press based on presses used in wine-making. Tradition credits him with inventing movable type in Europe, an improvement on the block printing already in use there. By combining these elements into a production system, he allowed for the rapid printing of written materials and an information explosion in Renaissance Europe.

Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, as the son of a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, who adopted the surname "zum Gutenberg" after the name of the neighborhood into which the family had moved.

Printing

Block printing, whereby individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved in, was in use in Europe and East Asia long before Gutenberg. The Koreans and Chinese knew about movable metal types at the time, but due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system, printed material was not as abundant as that of Renaissance Europe.

It is not clear whether Gutenberg knew of these existing techniques or invented them independently. Some also claim Dutchman Laurens Coster as the first European to invent movable type.

Gutenberg certainly introduced efficient methods into book production, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first mass-produced work, starting on February 23, 1455.

Gutenberg was a poor businessman, and made little money from his printing system.

Gutenberg began experimenting with metal typography after he had moved from his native town of Mainz to Strassburg (then in Germany, now Strasbourg, France) around 1430. Knowing that wood-block type involved a great deal of time and expense to reproduce because it had to be hand carved, Gutenberg concluded that metal type could be reproduced much more quickly once a single mould had been fashioned. His first efforts enabled him to mass-produce indulgences, printed slips of paper sold by the Catholic Church to remit the temporal punishments in Purgatory for sins committed in this life.

Johann Fust

Bible

In 1455 Gutenberg demonstrated the power of the printing press by selling copies of a two-volume Bible (Biblia Sacra) for 300 florins each. This was the equivalent of approximately three years' wages for an average clerk, but it was significantly cheaper than a handwritten Bible, which could take a single monk 20 years to transcribe.

The one copy of the Biblia Sacra dated 1455 went to Paris and was dated by the binder.

Debt

The money Gutenberg earned at the fair was not enough to pay Fust back for his investments. Fust sued, and the court's ruling not only effectively bankrupted Gutenberg, it awarded control of the type used in his Bible, plus much of the printing equipment, to Fust. So, while Gutenberg ran a print shop until just before his death in Mainz in 1468, Fust became the first printer to publish a book with his name on it.

Gutenberg was subsidized by the Archbishop of Mainz until his death. Gutenberg was also known to spend what little money he had on alcohol, so the Archbishop arranged for him to be paid in food and lodging, instead of coin.

Gutenberg Bibles

Gutenberg Bible, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are sometimes called the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, although the oldest surviving book was published in Korea in 1377. As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper, and an illiminated page (the Bagford fragment).

Other printed works

The Bible was not Gutenberg's first printed work, for he produced approximately two dozen editions of Ars Minor, a portion of Aelius Donatus's schoolbook on Latin grammar, the first edition of which is believed to have been printed between 1451 and 1452.

Legacy

Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, his invention spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe far faster than before. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, was a major factor in originating the scientific revolution. Literacy also increased as a result. Gutenberg's inventions are sometimes considered the turning point from the Mediaeval Era to the Early Modern Period.

The term incunabulum refers to a western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500.

There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, one of the more famous being a work by Thorvaldsen, in Mainz, which is also home to the Gutenberg Museum.

The Gutenberg Galaxy and Project Gutenberg commemorate Gutenberg's name.

Related articles

  • Printing
  • Typography
  • Incunabulum
  • Francysk Skaryna
  • William Caxton
  • World Almanac's Ten Most Influential People of the Second Millennium

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The Gutenberg Galaxy and Project Gutenberg commemorate Gutenberg's name. His memory was enshrined in the political ethos of the Imperial age as a paradigm of the good emperor; although every emperor adopted his name, Caesar Augustus, only a handful earned genuine comparison with him (Fagan). There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, one of the more famous being a work by Thorvaldsen, in Mainz, which is also home to the Gutenberg Museum. Augustus's ultimate legacy, however, was the peace and prosperity the empire was to enjoy for the next two centuries under the system he initiated. The term incunabulum refers to a western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500. He directed the future of the empire down many lasting paths, from the existence of a standing professional army stationed at or near the frontiers, to the dynastic principle so often employed in the imperial succession, to the embellishment of the capital at the emperor's expense. Gutenberg's inventions are sometimes considered the turning point from the Mediaeval Era to the Early Modern Period. Augustus's own experience, his patience, his tact, and his great political acumen also played their part.

Literacy also increased as a result. The attrition of the civil wars on the old Republican oligarchy and the longevity of Augustus, therefore, must be seen as major contributing factors in the transformation of the Roman state into a monarchy in these years. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, was a major factor in originating the scientific revolution. Had Augustus died earlier (in 23 BC, for instance), matters may have turned out very differently. Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, his invention spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe far faster than before. People had been born and reached middle age without knowing any form of government other than the Principate. The Bible was not Gutenberg's first printed work, for he produced approximately two dozen editions of Ars Minor, a portion of Aelius Donatus's schoolbook on Latin grammar, the first edition of which is believed to have been printed between 1451 and 1452. In looking back on the reign of Augustus and its legacy to the Roman world, its longevity ought not to be overlooked as a key factor in its success.

As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper, and an illiminated page (the Bagford fragment). The month of August (Latin Augustus) is named after Augustus; until his time it was called Sextilis. The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are sometimes called the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, although the oldest surviving book was published in Korea in 1377. Nevertheless, his legacy has proved more enduring. Gutenberg was also known to spend what little money he had on alcohol, so the Archbishop arranged for him to be paid in food and lodging, instead of coin. He was handsome, intelligent, decisive, and a very shrewd politician, but he was not perhaps as charismatic as the earlier Caesar or his rival Antony; as a result, Augustus is not as renowned as either man, and is often confused with Julius Caesar. Gutenberg was subsidized by the Archbishop of Mainz until his death. Many consider Augustus as Rome's greatest emperor; his policies certainly extended the empire's life span and initiated the celebrated "Pax Romana" or "Pax Augusta".

So, while Gutenberg ran a print shop until just before his death in Mainz in 1468, Fust became the first printer to publish a book with his name on it. Augustus' mausoleum also originally contained bronze pillars inscribed with a record of his life, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Fust sued, and the court's ruling not only effectively bankrupted Gutenberg, it awarded control of the type used in his Bible, plus much of the printing equipment, to Fust. Consequently we have many excellent statues and busts of the first, and in some ways the greatest, of the Emperors. The money Gutenberg earned at the fair was not enough to pay Fust back for his investments. The cult of the Divine Augustus continued until Constantine the Great converted the State Religion of the Empire to Christianity in the 4th century. The one copy of the Biblia Sacra dated 1455 went to Paris and was dated by the binder. Augustus was deified soon after his death, and both his borrowed surname, Caesar, and his title, Augustus, became the permanent titles of the rulers of Rome for the next 400 years, and were still in use at Constantinople fourteen centuries after his death, (and the derived titles "Kaiser" and "Tsar" would be used until the early part of the 20th century).

This was the equivalent of approximately three years' wages for an average clerk, but it was significantly cheaper than a handwritten Bible, which could take a single monk 20 years to transcribe. Who ordered his death is unknown, but the way was clear for Tiberius to assume the same powers that his stepfather had. In 1455 Gutenberg demonstrated the power of the printing press by selling copies of a two-volume Bible (Biblia Sacra) for 300 florins each. However, Postumus had been banished, and was put to death around the same time. His first efforts enabled him to mass-produce indulgences, printed slips of paper sold by the Catholic Church to remit the temporal punishments in Purgatory for sins committed in this life. Postumus Agrippa and Tiberius had been named co-heirs. Knowing that wood-block type involved a great deal of time and expense to reproduce because it had to be hand carved, Gutenberg concluded that metal type could be reproduced much more quickly once a single mould had been fashioned. On August 19, AD 14, Augustus died.

Gutenberg began experimenting with metal typography after he had moved from his native town of Mainz to Strassburg (then in Germany, now Strasbourg, France) around 1430. After the early deaths of both Gaius and Lucius in AD 4 and AD 2 respectively, and the earlier death of his brother Drusus (9 BC), Tiberius was recalled to Rome, where he was adopted by Augustus. Gutenberg was a poor businessman, and made little money from his printing system. Tiberius shared in Augustus' tribune powers, but shortly thereafter went into retirement. Gutenberg certainly introduced efficient methods into book production, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first mass-produced work, starting on February 23, 1455. After Agrippa died in 12 BC, Livia's son Tiberius divorced his own wife and married Agrippa's widow. Some also claim Dutchman Laurens Coster as the first European to invent movable type. Augustus also showed favor to his stepsons, Livia's children from her first marriage, Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus and Tiberius Claudius, after they had conquered a large portion of Germany.

It is not clear whether Gutenberg knew of these existing techniques or invented them independently. Augustus' intent to make the first two children his heirs was apparent when he adopted them as his own children. The Koreans and Chinese knew about movable metal types at the time, but due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system, printed material was not as abundant as that of Renaissance Europe. This union produced five children, three sons and two daughters: Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, Vipsania Julia, Agrippina the Elder, and Postumus Agrippa, so named because he was born after Marcus Agrippa died. Block printing, whereby individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved in, was in use in Europe and East Asia long before Gutenberg. After the death of Marcellus, Augustus married his daughter to his right hand man, Marcus Agrippa. . Reports of later historians that this poisoning, and other later deaths, were caused by Augustus' wife Livia Drusilla are inconclusive at best.

Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, as the son of a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, who adopted the surname "zum Gutenberg" after the name of the neighborhood into which the family had moved. However, Marcellus died of food poisoning in 23 BC. By combining these elements into a production system, he allowed for the rapid printing of written materials and an information explosion in Renaissance Europe. At first, indications pointed toward his sister's son Marcellus, who had been married to Augustus' daughter Julia Caesaris. Tradition credits him with inventing movable type in Europe, an improvement on the block printing already in use there. Augustus' control of power throughout the Empire was so absolute that it allowed him to name his successor, a custom that had been abandoned and derided in Rome since the foundation of the Republic. Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1398 – February 3, 1468), a German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing during the 1440s, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, a mould for casting type accurately, and a new kind of printing press based on presses used in wine-making. The only question was who would succeed him as sole ruler.

World Almanac's Ten Most Influential People of the Second Millennium. However, by the time Augustus died, it was impossible to imagine a return to the old system. William Caxton. His use of games and special events to celebrate himself and his family cemented his popularity. Francysk Skaryna. (Ovid was banished from Rome for violating Augustus's morality codes.) He eventually won over most of the Roman intellectual class, although many still pined in private for the Republic. Incunabulum. Horace, Livy, Ovid, and Vergil flourished under his protection, but in return, they had to pay due tribute to his genius and adhere to his standards.

Typography. A patron of the arts, Augustus showered favors on poets, artists, sculptors, and architects, and his reign is considered the Golden Age of Roman literature. Printing. It was largely unsuccessful (indeed, his own daughter was banished and subsequently perished due to it). Augustus also launched a morality crusade, promoting marriage, family, and childbirth while discouraging luxury, "interbreeding", unrestrained sex (including prostitution and homosexuality), and adultery. He sponsored Vergil's Aeneid in the hopes that it would increase pride in Roman heritage.

Augustus also strongly supported worship of Roman gods, especially Apollo, and depicted Roman defeat of Egypt as Roman gods defeating Egypt's. Augustus settled retired soldiers on the land in an effort to revive agriculture, but the capital remained dependent on grain imports from Egypt. The reign of Augustus is thus seen in some ways as the high point of Rome's power and prosperity. Once the Empire stopped expanding, and had no more loot coming in from conquests, its economy began to stagnate and eventually decline.

Like all the Emperors, he over-taxed agriculture and spent the revenue on armies, temples, and games. Roman rulers understood little about economics, and Augustus was no exception. Augustus also founded the world's first fire brigade, and created a regular police force for Rome. He founded a ministry of transport, which built an extensive network of roads - enabling improved communication, trade, and mail.

It is recorded that he built both the Capitoline Temple and the Theater of Pompey without putting his name on them. He also built a shrine near the Circus Maximus. He built the Senate a new home, the Curia, and built temples to Apollo and to the Divine Julius. He famously boasted that he "found Rome brick and left it marble".

In domestic matters, Augustus channeled the enormous wealth brought in from the Empire to keeping the army happy with generous payments, and keeping the Romans happy by beautifying the capital and staging magnificent games. He left the Parthian Empire alone. In the east, he satisfied himself with establishing Roman control over Armenia and the Transcaucasus. Thereafter he accepted the Rhine as the Empire's permanent border.

Further west, an attempt to advance into Germany ended in defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9. Rome's borders were advanced to the natural frontier of the Danube, and the province of Galatia was occupied. After Gallic raids, the Alpine territories were conquered. A war in the mountains of northern Spain from 26 BC to 19 BC finally resulted in that territory's conquest.

Augustus waged no major wars. He also reformed Rome's finance and tax systems. A special unit, the Praetorian Guard, garrisoned Rome and protected the Emperor's person. He created Rome's first permanent army and navy and stationed the legions along the Empire's borders, where they could not meddle in politics.

In exchange for near absolute power, he gave Rome 40 years of civic peace and increasing prosperity, celebrated in history as the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. Having gained power by means of great audacity, Augustus ruled with great prudence. After the death of Lepidus in 13 BC he added the title of pontifex maximus. He more typically used a civilian title, however, Princeps, or "First Citizen".

23 BC is the date on which Augustus is usually said to have assumed the mantle of Emperor of Rome. Second, he received new authority in the form of an "Imperial" power (imperium proconsulare maius, or power greater than any governor), which gave him supreme authority in all matters pertaining to territorial governance. Since the tribuneship was an office traditionally associated with the common people, this consolidated his power further. First, he was granted the power of a tribune (tribunicia potestas), which allowed him to convene the Senate at will and lay business before it.

In 23 BC, he renounced this office in favor of two other powers. Augustus knew that the power he needed to rule absolutely could not be derived from his Consulship, however. How free a hand the Senate had in these transactions, and what backroom deals were made, remain unknown. Both Antony and Octavian had purged the Senate of suspect elements and planted it with their loyal partisans.

These actions were highly abnormal from the Roman Senate, but this was not the same body of patricians that had murdered Caesar. Additionally, the harsh methods employed in consolidating his control meant that the change in name would also serve to separate his benign reign as emperor from his reign of terror as Octavian. In the mindset of contemporary religious beliefs, it would have cleverly symbolized a stamp of authority over humanity that went beyond any constitutional definition of his status. The title was associated with a religious ring in antiquity and is believed to be derived from auctoritas and the practises of augurs.

Shortly thereafter, the Senate gave him the name "Augustus". Not only did the Senate turn him down, he was also given control of Hispania, Gaul, and Syria – the provinces with the greatest number of troops. In 27 BC, he officially returned power to the Senate of Rome, and offered to relinquish his own military supremacy and hegemony over Egypt. Octavian was chosen for the powerful position of consul, the highest executive office of the Republic.

First, he disbanded his armies, and held elections. Octavian was clever. Moreover, Rome was not prepared to accept the control of a despot. After Actium, Octavian had his work cut out for him; years of civil war had left Rome in a state of near-lawlessness.

Cleopatra also commited suicide after her coming role in Octavian's triumph was "carefully explained to her" and Caesarion, the son of Julius Ceasar by Cleopatra, was "butchered without compunction".[3]. He pursued them there, and after another defeat, Antony commited suicide. Octavian defeated his rivals, who then fled to Egypt. It was quickly decided: in the bay of Actium on the western coast of Greece, the fleets met in a great battle in which many ships burned and thousands on both sides lost their lives.

The situation grew more and more tense, and finally, in 32 BC, Octavian declared war. Antony occupied himself with military campaigns in the east and a romantic affair with Cleopatra; Octavian built a network of allies in Rome, consolidated his power, and spread propaganda implying that Antony was becoming less than Roman because of his preoccupation with Egyptian affairs and traditions. The Roman dominions were then divided between Octavian in the west and Antony in the east. Octavian then returned to Rome, while Antony went to Egypt, where he allied himself with Queen Cleopatra, the ex-lover of Julius Caesar and mother of Caesar's infant son Caesarion.

At Philippi in Macedonia the Caesarian army was victorious and Brutus and Cassius committed suicide (42 BC). Antony and Octavian then marched against Brutus and Cassius, who had fled to the east. This went beyond a simply purge of those allied with the assassins and so the main motive was probably to raise money to pay their troops.[2]. The three formed a junta called the Second Triumvirate which unlike the First Triumvate was a grant of special powers lasting five years and backed by a law.[1] They then set in motion the proscriptions in which 300 senators and 2000 Equites were deprived of their property and, for those who failed to escape, their lives.

After a tense standoff, he formed an uneasy alliance with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Lepidus, Caesar's principal colleagues. At Rome, he found Caesar's republican assassins, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius, in control. He crossed over to Italy and recruited an army from among Caesar's veterans. However, he culled support by emphasizing his status as heir to Caesar and took the name Gaius Julius Caesar (probably omitting the customary Octavianus; he is called "Octavian" by historians nonetheless).

At the time, he was only eighteen years old, and was consistently underestimated by his rivals for power. When Caesar was assassinated in March 44 BC, his young heir was with the army at Apollonia, in what is now Albania. Julius Caesar Octavianus (hereafter "Octavian"). By virtue of his adoption, following Roman custom, Octavius then assumed the name C.

The Roman historian Suetonius described Antony's accusation of an affair with Octavianus as political slander. Mark Antony charged that Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favors. In 46 BC Caesar, who had no legitimate children, took his grand-nephew soldiering in Hispania, and adopted him by testament as his heir (see also adoption in Rome). More importantly, his mother Atia was the niece of Rome's greatest general and de facto ruler, Julius Caesar.

His father, also Gaius Octavius, came from a respectable but undistinguished family of the equestrian order and was governor of Macedonia before his death in 58 BC. Augustus was born at Rome with the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus. . He is generally known to historians by the title "Augustus" (revered one), which he acquired in 27 BC and as "Octavian" before then.

He ended a century of civil wars and gave Rome an era of peace, prosperity, and imperial greatness. Although he preserved the outward form of the Roman Republic, he ruled as an autocrat for more than 40 years. Caesar Augustus (Latin: IMP·CAESAR·DIVI·F·AVGVSTVS)¹ (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), known earlier in his life as Gaius Octavius or Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was the first Roman Emperor and is traditionally considered the greatest. ^  Alexander to Actium: Peter Green pp 697.

^  From the Gracchi to Nero: HH Scullard p164. ^  From the Gracchi to Nero: HH Scullard p163.

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