Monday, April 09, 2007


The fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D. saw the decline of the culture of ancient Rome. Due to lack of contacts with Egypt the papyrus became difficult to obtain and parchment started to be the main writing material.

In Western Roman Empire mainly monasteries carried on the Latin writing tradition, because first Cassiodorus in the monastery of Vivarium stressed the importance of copying texts, and later also St. Benedict of Nursia, in his Regula Monachorum promoted reading. The Rule of St. Benedict, which set aside certain times for reading, greatly influenced the monastic culture of the Middle Ages, and is one of the reasons why the clergy were the predominant readers of books. At first the tradition and style of the Roman Empire still dominated and only slowly the peculiar medieval book culture emerged.

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