10 of the Oldest Known Surviving Books in the World
We take a look at ten of the oldest known surviving books in the world today, including what may be the earliest known siddur, a Jewish prayer book. Writing and literature are thought to have first developed between the 7th and 4th millennia BC.
The Madrid Codex, written in Yucatecan, a group of Mayan languages that includes Yukatec, Lacandon, and Mopan, was discovered in Spain in the 1860s and is one of the only surviving books attributable to the pre-Columbian Maya culture.
The Gutenberg Bible, also known as the 42-line Bible, was printed in 1454-1455 AD and is the oldest known printed book in the West using movable type. There are 48 known original copies, 21 of which are complete.
The Celtic Psalter, also known as Scotland’s Book of Kells, is a pocket-sized book of Psalms housed at the University of Edinburgh and is Scotland’s oldest surviving book. It is thought to have been written in the 11th century AD.
The Diamond Su016btra is a Buddhist holy text that is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving dated printed book. It was discovered in a walled up cave in China with other printed materials and is made up of Chinese characters printed on a scroll of grey printed paper.
Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an incredibly ornate illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and dates back to the early Christian era. It is thought to have been created by Celtic monks around 800 AD.
St Cuthbert Gospel
The British Library has digitized Europe’s oldest known intact book, the St Cuthbert Gospel, which is thought to be around 700 years old.
Nag Hammadi Library
A local man discovered some of the world’s oldest surviving bound books in Nag Hammadi, Upper Egypt. Written in the Coptic language, the codices are thought to have been copied from Greek and date from around the first half of the fourth century AD.
Pyrgi Gold Tablets
Three Bronze Age gold plates, two of which are written in Etruscan and one in Phoenician, have been discovered in Pyrgi, Italy.
Etruscan Gold Book
The Etruscan Gold Book, made of 6 sheets of 24 carat gold bound together with rings, was discovered 70 years ago and donated to Bulgaria’s National History Museum in Sofia by an anonymous 87-year-old donor.
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Were there books in the 1500s?
There were more than 9,000,000 books printed by 1500, after only 50 years of printing. Printed books from this period, up to 1500, are known as incunabula; i.e., “swaddling clothes” or “cradle,” from a Latin phrase used in 1639 to describe the beginnings of typography.
What is the oldest book in existence?
The 8 Oldest Books Ever Published
- Book of Kells u2013 c. 800 AD.
- St. Cuthbert Gospel u2013 c.
- Garima Gospels u2013 c. 330 u2013 650 AD.
- Nag Hammadi Library u2013 c. 3rd u2013 4th century AD.
- Codex Sinaiticus (Sinai Bible) u2013 c. 330 u2013 360 AD.
- Pyrgi Gold Tablets u2013 c
What are the top 10 history books?
Here is a list of some of the best history books available for you to read and learn from.
- Revolutions, World of Characters, and History Adventures
What were books called in the past?
The earliest history of books predates what we now call “books,” and begins with tablets, scrolls, and sheets of papyrus, followed by hand-bound, expensive, and elaborate manuscripts known as codices.
Is the Bible the first book ever written?
The Epic of Gilgamesh, a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history, was the first book ever written that we know of, and the Gutenburg Bible was the first book Gutenburg printed (and the oldest surviving mechanically printed book).
Why is the Gutenberg Bible so valuable?
Why are they both significant? Gutenberg’s invention did not make him wealthy, but it did lay the groundwork for the commercial mass production of books, which meant that books became cheaper and more accessible to a wider range of people.
What books are older than the Bible?
Ten of the world’s oldest religious texts are listed below.
- Written: Circa 2600 BC.
- Pyramid Texts. Written: Circa 2400u20132300 BC.
- The Coffin Texts. Written: Circa 2100 BC.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh. Written: Circa 2100 BC.
- The Rigveda. Written: Circa 1700 BC.
- The Book of the Dead.
Is Bhagavad Gita older than the Bible?
The Bhagavad Gita is thought to have been written in the 9th or 8th centuries BC, while the oldest parts of the Bible – the Minor Prophets – were written in the 6th or 5th centuries BC.
What is the most read book in history?
The Bible is the most widely read book in the world, according to writer James Chapman, who compiled a list of the most widely read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the previous 50 years and discovered that the Bible far outsold all other books, with 3.9 billion copies sold.
Who is the greatest historian of all time?
a brief description
- U2014 Henry Adams. (1838-1818) Collected works: 12
- U2014 170. Edward Gibbon. (1737-1794)
- U2014 213. Henry Buckle. (1821-1862)
- U2014 249. Herodotus. (484-425BC)
- U2014 349. Oswald Spengler. (1880-1936)
- U2014 527. Bede. (672-735)
- U2014 569. Thucydides. (460-395BC)
Who wrote the first book in the world?
The Tale of Genji, a 1,000-year-old Japanese epic, was written by Murasaki Shikibu, a woman. The Tale of Genji, a 1,000-year-old Japanese epic, is often referred to as the world’s first novel.
Who wrote Bible?
The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in around 1,300 B.C., according to both Jewish and Christian dogma. However, there are a few problems with this, such as the lack of evidence that Moses ever existed.