According to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, a book is defined as, “a set of printed sheets of paper that are held together inside a cover; a long written work.”
It’s hard to trace back to the exact time when a book came into being but we’ve tried to pull together an interesting range of some of the oldest surviving books in the world for you to look at. These books date back a thousand years and are the oldest ones known to us which have survived to this day.
1. THE GUTENBERG BIBLE // ESTIMATED AGE: 561 YEARS OLD
The Gutenberg Bible is the first major book in the West which was printed with moveable type. It was created by the inventor of the modern printing press, Johann Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany around 1455. 50 copies of the Gutenberg Bible are known to survive to this day, and only 21 of those are complete. Various libraries and institutions often have them on display.
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2. THE CODEX CALIXTINUS // ESTIMATED AGE: 866 YEARS OLD
The Codex Calixtinus was written in the mid-12th century and has been attributed to the French monk Aymeric Picaud. It consists of five books. In 2011 this book was stolen from the cathedral archives. It was uncovered in the garage of a former electrician of the cathedral, and since its recovery, the Codex Calixtinus has been kept with much-increased security measures.
3. THE UTA CODEX // ESTIMATED AGE: 991 YEARS OLD
This book is seen as one of the more important examples of 11th-century Western illumination. It is a beautifully illuminated Bavarian Gospel lectionary that was created for Abbess Uta of Niedermünster around 1025.