AP Euro Period 1
November 2, 2013
The printing press in the late fifteenth to the early sixteenth century impacted the economics, intellectual and religious advancements of that time period. However, before the invention of the printing press, life was much more limited. Before the printing press, all books, from cook books, to educational books, to the Bible were hand written. Since the process of hand writing books was so long, many people were illiterate. The majority of people who were able to read were church officials, such as priests. These priests would interpret the Bible, and preach it, leaving church goers unable to interpret the Bible the way they saw fit. Hand written books were also extremely difficult to replace, so when a book was destroyed or lost, the chances of finding another book like it was slim to none. The recopying of books was such a frustratingly long process that there were few multiples. This would result in educating being harder to come by. The invention of the printing press would completely transform the world in which people lived in.
The invention of the printing press caused an intellectual advancement in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Truly educated people were hard to come by before the printing press. A structured education system was nearly unheard of. With the printing press, this would change drastically. Education had suddenly become more accessible to lay people, who prior to the printing press were mostly illiterate. Most books involved religion, medicine and politics, topics that were essential to education. This mass production of books would result in the decrease of prices of literature, which also attributed to the accessibility of books to commoners and increase in education. Since more people would be reading and writing, a standard education would begin to form. This would allow future generations to have an education in which basically everyone learned the same material at the same pace in the same order.. Since it was easier for people to voice their opinions and speak their minds about society and its blemishes, more and more people would begin to speak out. Northern humanists, such as Erasmus, could easily publish books about humanist ideas and beliefs. Since people were more independent now that they could read and write, this inspired many to begin writing their own literature. Many great writers emerged at this time, such as Shakespeare. These writers of plays and books would prove to not only have an influence on the people of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but to continue to influence the intellectual and educational development of people even and especially to present day.
The economics of the fifteenth and sixteenth century was slightly affected by the invention of the printing press. Before the printing press, books were produced, but not enough to make it a substantial job. Since there was an increase in the production of books, this would result in the development of printing firms. The developments of these printing firms produced more job opportunities for lay people, and created more opportunities for aspiring authors to get their work out in the public eye. Many major cities had printing firms, especially in Germany, the home of the printing press. Books began to accumulate, and libraries began to pop up all over Europe. This was another job opportunity for many commoners. Public libraries contained a large variety of books relating to public education, in addition to the earlier libraries containing fragile original books of religion, politics and history. Cities began to increase in population, since the spread of ideas from books allowed cities to be able to function better. News would also begin to spread more quickly and more accurately.
The invention of the printing press had a tremendous impact on religion in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Rarely was a