Tag Archives: william caxton

The Esoteric Alphabet – Introduction part 5

Caxton set up a printing press in Bruges and began hammering out French, Latin and English texts. Here in 1475 he printed a French work, “Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye” he had translated into English himself. This was the first ever book to be printed in English.

In 1475 or 1476, Bill introduced his printing press into England. Later he moved to Westminster with his press where he ran off the first English book to be produced by this means. It had the catchy title, ‘The dictes and sayenges of the phylosophers’ (18th November 1477) and was an early Arabic work translated for Caxton by Earl Rivers; who through his sister, Elizabeth was brother-in-law to King Edward 1V. Shortly afterwards Richard III had Rivers’ body and head parted, knocked off the king in waiting (nearly Edward V) and snatched the throne. Oh what jolly japes the bloodline has.

At Westminster Caxton published his translation of “The Golden Legend” in 1483 and “The Knight in the Tower” in 1484. They contained what are believed to be the earliest mechanically printed English translations of Biblical verses. At the time it was illegal to translate the Titanic Verses into English. Before he died in 1490 he had published more than 70 books. William Caxton is famous for publishing Thomas Mallory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur”, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and “Troilus and Creseide” and “The History of Reynart the Foxe”. However his main income came from knocking out religious paraphernalia. The church had a sweet little number going with a lucrative counterfeiting racket and Caxton was in on it.

indulgence 330x220This was the deal:
In exchange for a reduced purgatorial sentence you hand over to us a heap of dosh – property will do nicely too. The Church had taught everyone to be terrified of the after-life setting up a nice little mark. What you got was a little piece of pre-printed paper with room for their agent to write your name on.

 

Mercers called, ‘Pardoners’, sold them door to door and by appointment. Literally thousands upon thousands were sold every year. Some of these promissory notes called ‘Indulgencies’ survive today. To date no one has asked for their money back so maybe they work….

“Oi! Charlie run us up a few quick!”

www.bl.uk/treasures/caxton/readers.html

Keystrokes

With the rise of voracious European empires, the Roman letter alphabet really took off; reaching into every country of the world; and it has long been the most favoured style by far of government, media, and education across the globe. It has been the default font on most of the world’s computers until Microsoft introduced what is basically a sans serif version they call Calibri. Some societies are still struggling to hold on to their own language symbols but the relentless march continues not only virtually unabated but encouraged. During the 20th century, empires fronted by suits in boardrooms replaced empires fronted by gowns and crowns; and increasingly people who refused to bow to the gun obligingly succumb to plastic and electronic baubles.

Gifts it bore,
The guise of friendship wore.
Patiently it tied its knot.
Favourites it chose,
And hierarchies arose.
Jealousy was born.
Eyes turned red
And the Darkness fed.

 

 

Continue to part 6

The Esoteric Alphabet – Introduction part four

Pressing service

pressing service 333x250

Johann Gutenberg

Anyway, when the numbers of cadets issuing from their universities (‘universe’ means one-voice) and colleges reached their target, the next phase of the Dark agenda began. Although a moveable type press had been stamping around in China for aeons, the first western version only appeared in the mid 15th century. The credit for this has been given to Johann Gutenberg, (1397 – 1468), who operated out of Bruges, in Belgium. A lettering style called Black Letter later arose in Germany. This style was adapted by Gutenberg and used to print the 42-line Bible. This Bible was printed in Mainz and each page had 42 lines.

Nicolas Jenson

In the early days the quality of the printing varied considerably until Nicolas Jenson (1420-1480), a French-born printer and publisher developed the first standardized typeface for printers. Jenson had studied under Gutenberg and eventually settled in Venice, Italy. Jenson’s highly regarded type known as ‘Old Style’ is the forerunner of the classical Roman styles so prolifically used today such as Times Roman and Times New Roman.

The Aldine Press

Jenson designed type for the first successful mass market publishing house, the Aldine Press which was set up in Venice in 1494 by Aldus Manutius (1450-1515). The Aldine Press concentrated on producing the classical works of writers like Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Virgil and Sophocles. Influential later writers like Petrarca, Dante and Erasmus were published too. They introduced ‘Aldine Type’ which was developed by Francesco Griffo we call it italics today. So prolific and efficient for its day The Aldine Press which continued until 1597 is acknowledged to be the prime motivator of literacy in the general population.
www.printlocal.com/History-of-Printing.htm
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldine_Press

Christophe Plantin

Another kingpin was Christophe Plantin who came into this world in Saint-Averin, near Tours, in 1514. Financed by Philip II of Spain he published the “Biblia Regia”, an eight volume Bible in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Syriac and Aramaic, between 1569 and 1572. Philip ‘the Sap’ had been the husband of England’s Mary 1st (Bloody Mary – us kids used to love saying that at school) who had died in 1558. Four years after Christophe Plantin’s epic appeared Phil smote the Dutch and Chris legged it to France for a couple of years having been accused of heresy. He’d been printing stuff secretly for a band of ne’er-do-wells (Protestants) called the ‘Famille de la Charité’, and encoded it so well that he managed to persuade the Church that it wasn’t him, guv’. The Plantin Press knocked out Church gear for two hundred years and pocketed quite a nice little earner, thank you.

William Caxton

An interesting character with powerful State and Church connections brought printing to England. His name was William Caxton (1421-1490). Caxton was born in Kent and was a mercer by trade. In 1446, only six years after the Habsburgs had become Holy Roman Emperors with Frederick III, Caxton had removed to Bruges. While there he was a member of the household of Margaret of York the Duchess of Burgundy. She was the sister of the English kings Edward IV and Richard III. (Edward and Richard were probably half-brothers.) Margaret was also the step-mother of Mary of Burgundy who married Maximilian son of Frederick III in 1477. Maximilian became Holy Roman Emperor himself in 1493. Some time in 1462 he was appointed Governor of ‘the English Nation at Bruges’ a trading quango often embroiled in politics. No doubt this involved a bit of the big black hat and cloak over the face stuff too. The marriage of Margaret to Charles “the Bold” of burgundy was part of a 1467 trade settlement that Caxton was prominently concerned in.

 

Continue to part 5