Midterm – Part I

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Long ago, my family lived as farmers outside the city of Aachen in what is now Germany. Even though growing up on a farm in poverty was fun, I thought growing up poor in the city and devoting my life to the church would be even better. I set off to a monastary in the city where I became a monk that received training in copying pages of text into fresh, blank codices. After spending several years in this monastary, I had completed many copies of text and had become one of the best scribes in the monastary. One day, I had heard that the Emperor Karl der Große was planning to visit the scriptorium to purchase several books. I had also learned that I was chosen to create a copy of “Parzival” that Karl der Große had personally requested. It took three months for me to complete the copy of “Parzival” and soon after, Karl der Große arrived. He briefly visited with the archbishop, collected his books and left behind a hefty donation to the church.

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Further down the history time-line, I was a nobleman from 12th century Köln. I had traveled to Mainz to attend the knighting ceremony of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa’s two sons and stay for the celebration afterward. All of the guests invited to the celebration had set-up camp all around Barbarossa’s court, each camp decorated with flags and banners of prices, archbishops, abbots, dukes, margraves, counts palatine, other counts, and noblemen. My camp was relatively small in comparison to the more lavish camps around the site. Most guests of this celebration brought members of their own court who helped carry in and arrange the their lord’s possessions so that the political/social status of the guests would be known to all. After the knighting of Emperor Barbarossa’s two sons, a tournament was held so that all of the knights in attendance (over 20,000) would have a chance to demonstrate their skill with lances, shields and banners. Even Emperor Barbarossa participated, but only challenged knights he knew to be weaker than himself.

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During the 15th century, I was an employee of Johann Gutenberg at his first printing press. I was in charge of organizing printed pages of books and made sure that they stayed in proper order. This was a rather boring job especially when the Bible was being run through the press, although the exhibition of the new technology was enough to keep my job interesting. When Gutenberg first unleashed his invention, copies of the Bible were in high demand. Many other printing presses formed for the sole purpose of copying Bibles. The problem was that the Bibles were very expensive, often forcing printing presses to shut down prematurely because of overproduction and over-budgeting.

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In the 16th century I was still in the printing industry, although I now worked with Martin Luther. He would give me pages of his new translation of the Bible from Latin to German, and I would arrange movable type in the printing press to begin making copies. Luther not only translated the Bible to a form of German spoken by most people, but he also incorporated different fonts into his bible to put different emphases on words or phrases without changing the meaning. This allowed the scripture to interpret itself so that the reader would not become confused on how to understand certain passages. When enough Bibles were completed, I traveled with Luther around the country visiting parish churches. Luther informed leaders of these churches about his new translation and offered to help them with interpretation issues and gave them tips on what subjects to teach their congregations. Because of Luther’s translation of the Bible, many people now spoke the same form of German all over thus bringing about standard German. That concludes the short examples of what one would see and experience having lived in the times of such revolutionary people and events that have shaped modern Germany and its people into who they are today.

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3 Responses

  1. Brett! Dein Blog ist gut!. Die Fantasie und dein Leben ist ganz interessant. Ich habe von der Drueckerei gelesen und wie du gearbeitet hattest. Ich finde der Anfang auch interessant wie du sehr fromm als ein Kleine warst. Sehr gut!

  2. Brett,
    Dein Blog hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Ich muss mit dir übereinstimmen, dass es sehr viel Spass macht arm aufzuwachsen. Deswegen bin ich auch in die Stadt eingezogen. ha ha ha! Sehr gut geschrieben.

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Counterculture!!

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