The invention of the printing press and it’s promotion by William Caxton, a while back now – exact dates elude me presently – marks a corner-stone in the development of the sciences and education as we know it. In fact if it were not for Caxton’s zeal to print the first ever fully English King James Bible in a fairly large quantity, the importance of which is difficult to comprehend these days, then e-publishing, and me blogging right now would most likely be a wild imagining in the mind of an illiterate wanna-be writer.

If it were not for this one man’s mission to spread the holy word so that all could understand the Christian faith for themselves in their own language, then we simply would not be in a position to express our views for or against with such ease and ambiguity, and actually with the freedom that many of us have these days. Education and literature are terms that have become synonymous for us with entire institutions built upon the printed word. Countries are run by the printed word, though that word is no longer just about god and religion, it is about the distribution and dissemination of information, so that all of us may be able to consider our lives in an academic, and thus ‘educated’ context. Before printing, unless you spoke and read Latin [few did] then religion was a rumour, a tall tale presented by the local priest reading from the skin of a dead goat once a week, and special occasions.

If only the old geezer knew what he had unleashed, he would possibly think it was the devil himself!

That’s egges  in your face Caxton! [that was an in-joke for Sociolinguists by the way]

You see, being a published writer has always been and still is a very powerful position to be in. And we have the zeal of religion to thank for that, oddly enough. Thank gawd for that!

8 thoughts on “What have the Roman’s ever done for us?

        1. Well that would bugger things up a bit for us writers. At the very least we would be having an entirely different discussion right now if any, and you and Noel would have nothing to blog about on your return!


    1. Yes although Gutenberg essentially invented the printing press and introduced it to Europe, it was in fact Caxton who had the bright idea to publish the first book in the English language, and not in Latin which was the favoured language, albeit to promote the word of god. It was this two fingers attitude to the establishment that the original members of the Royal Society were to jump on and eventually lead to the implementation of an education system here on the isles and in all the colonies. The publication of the first English dictionary by Samuel Johnson further cemented literature’s position on the map.


  1. There’s a good argument that science itself arose out Christianity theology. The argument is that since God was perfect he created the world according to immutable principles that could only be discovered through man’s God-given powers of reason and observation. This supposedly explains why science only emerged in Christian Europe.


    1. It did indeed, and you make a good point Malcolm about science emerging only emerging in Christian Europe. I had hoped to write a lengthier post about it some day, but it’s a huge subject, and politically convoluted. Not an easy on to unravel in just a couple of thousand words.
      The science of divorced logic that we know and love know was not the science of the Royal Society that was encouraged back in the 1600s when it was first established. It was very much based on classical Greek philosophy. Descartes I believe had a strong influence on the separation between thought and that which could be physically measured. I think the ancient Greek philosophers had it right all along.


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