Medieval Tech Support

I think this video is hilarious. The actors are speaking Norwegian but there are English subtitles.

There is a bit of an anachronism here since the codex, that is, a book made up of sheets of paper bound together as opposed to a scroll, was invented sometime in the first or second century, well before there were monks copying manuscripts. The Romans had used wax tablets bound together as a sort of notebook, and some unnamed inventor had the idea to bind sheets of papyrus together, thus making a book that was far more convenient to read than a scroll that had to be unrolled. The new invention took off, in part thanks to the growing number of Christians who found a Bible bound in single volume more convenient than a set of scrolls. By 300 the codex was in common use and beginning to replace the scroll and by 600 the scroll had been completely replaced by the codex. So, by the Middle Ages, books were already a tried and trusted form of providing content. Still, I can imagine that those Romans who first started to use codices might have had some trouble getting used to turning pages, as opposed to unrolling, and maybe they needed the second century equivalent of tech support to guide them through the process.

The codex remained the dominant format for books through the centuries and past the invention of printing into the twenty-first century. It may be that the e-book will gradually replace the codex over the next century or more. Maybe a couple of hundred years from now, someone will make a video making fun of people of our time who have been having difficulty making the transition to electronic media.



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