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HeirophantX

Historical Education

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Greetings,

So, does anyone know a good reference for historical scholarship? I'm interested in what a character from the 15th, 16th or 17th Century who was "educated" would actually have read? Or if I were to populate a library of old tomes (non-Mythos), what would an educated man have on his bookshelf? Any ideas?

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Lol, I'm currently reading about what would be in private libraries 30 years later. I do know that there were more books published in the 1640's than ever before in England and Scotland. I also know almanacs, guides to herbs and plants, and religious texts were popular. Mythos-wise, you could always supplement the books written on Witchcraft with some made up ones, alongside the older texts. At this time most folk didn't own books, but some rich people were collecting them in their private home libraries. Off the top of my head, there were also trends for stern (often self-loathing) Puritan texts, romantic cavalier poetry or something hot off the press from Hobbes or Descartes. Early scientific observations were prolific, if often a little bizarre in hindsight. I'll have a look in more detail and refresh my memory if I get the chance!

Edited by doomedpc
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Don't overlook the phenomenal popularity of pamphlets, alongside the sturdy volumes. They grew from the mid-1500s to become a very important medium for transmission of new ideas and philosophical debates. A quick search for "pamphlet wars" should turn up some useful background and examples.

 

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The 1632 alternate history series published by Baen has dealt with the historical scholarship quite a bit, up to well-researched non-fiction bits in the Grantville Gazette. Join Baen's Bar forums to find out about these - many of them will be in some work-in-process shape in the 1632 slush forum.

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I listed some of the texts in the Biblioteca Palatina, the great library of Heidelberg in The Heydelberg Horror before carted away to Rome  following the sack of Heidelberg by Tilly in 1622 and there are other selections available online from Heidelberg University today:

http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/en/bpd/bibliotheca_palatina/geschichte.html

As noted in The Heydelberg Horror, books were so valuable they were actually chained to the library benches to prevent checkout.  John Dee had a famed 4,000 volume library at Mortlake until his death in late 1608.  There is a catalog of his books put together but out of print now, nothing I can find online.  There is, however, a hand list of 100 or so of his books exhibited by the Royal College of Physicians available online.  Given that Dee was Queen Elizabeth's conjurer, there may be a bit more magic than you would like, but otherwise this was one of the most famous libraries in the early 17th century:

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/lost-library-john-dee 

One may also wish to include volumes on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of the prescribed books originally created by the Sacred Congregation of the Index of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in 1572.  The term omnia opera means all works by the author (eg Giordano Bruno) are banned.  There is an online database of these works that can be sorted by the period of censorship to provide a nice listing of prescribed books.

http://search.beaconforfreedom.org/search/censored_publications/result.html?author=&cauthor=&title=&country=8052&language=&censored_year=&censortype=&published_year=&censorreason=&sort=pc&page=3

 

Edited by Julich1610
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