Thursday, September 1, 2016

throughout the middle ages the codex wins

codex Manesse Ulrich von Singenberg

between the second century and fourth century, the codex had replaced the scroll. the book was no longer a continuous roll, but a collection of sheets attached at the back. 

advantages: random access over sequential access, codex is compact, its pages can be written on both sides. a codex could hold twice as much text as a scroll.

the codex is equally easy to rest on a table, which permits the reader to take notes while he or she is reading. the codex form improved with the separation of words, capital letters, and punctuation, which permitted silent reading. tables of contents and indices facilitated direct access to information. this form was so effective that it is still the standard book form, over 1500 years after its appearance. then paper would progressively replace parchment. Cheaper to produce, it allowed a greater diffusion of books. 

For an interesting visual history of books, click here