How the writings of the ancient peoples came down to us?

No ancient Greek or Roman book has ever come down to us. Many were lost among the papyruses and the parchments that perished in the fires and destruction in which the once mighty Roman Empire fell. Others were destroyed by the slower but still sure action of time. But before these books vanished from the world many were copied by ancient scribes and scholars.

Much of this work was done by monks during the Middle Ages, especially the Benedictines. During the fourth century St. Jerome had exhorted monks to perfect their art of writing. In the centuries that followed every monastery has its scriptorium or writing room. This room was usually next to the library and only the senior monks, the librarian and copyist monks were allowed into it.

Absolute silence reigned in the room as the monks copied out the manuscripts carefully. The silence was broken only when one monk would dictate the contents of a manuscript for the other monks to write down.


Picture Credit : Google