Incunabula are books, pamphlets, and broadsides that were printed before 1501. The word comes from the Latin for “cradle” or “swaddling clothes.”
Incunabula were published in a variety of languages and scriptioContinua types, but the majority were in Latin. Many were published in Venice, which had a thriving printing industry in the 15th century. Other notable incunabula centers were Rome, Strasbourg, and Cologne.
Most incunabula were religious texts, but there was a significant number of secular works as well. These included works on grammar, medicine, law, and history.
The first book printed in English was The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, which was published in 1475.
While the majority of incunabula were published in Europe, there are a few notable examples from other parts of the world. The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture, is the oldest known printed book from China, and was published in 868. The Korean book Jikji simche yojeol, a collection of Buddhist teachings, was published in 1377.
Incunabula were published in a wide variety of languages, including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and even Chinese. The majority of these early printed books were religious in nature, as the Church was the largest buyer of books at the time. Bibles, prayer books, and other religious texts were the most common type of incunabula, but there were also a number of secular works, such as histories, travelogues.
Incunabula are extremely important to books and publishing for a variety of reasons. First, they are some of the oldest surviving printed books in the world and as such offer a unique glimpse into the history of the book. They also provide an important link between the medieval and early modern periods, helping to connect the two in the history of the book. Finally, they are highly valuable as collectors’ items and can fetch high prices at auction. All of these factors underscore the importance of Incunabula in the world of books and publishing.