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manuscripts,--hitherto written on parchments, or the perishable papyrus,--have greatly enlarged the demand for such documents. This enlarged demand induced more to follow the occupation of Scribes, or Caligraphers. In the Eleventh century the Benedictine Monks exercised themselves in copying manuscripts; and to their industry we owe almost all we possess of Classic Latin Literature at the present day. The light of learning in this century shone brightest in France and England; in Italy but faintly, while in Germany its glimmerings were scarcely perceptible. In the Twelfth century a slight improvement may be traced ; John of Salisbury and William of Malmesbury being distinguished writers in
In the Thirteenth however, darkness prevailed again; and few, if any, were capable of appreciating the master-mind of Roger Bacon, who shone like a beacon in the realms of literature and science, but who was looked upon by his mole-eyed contem
poraries as a magician whose lore was derived from unholy sources.
The Church grew more and more corrupt. Ignorance and fanaticism every where abounded; and true Religion was scarcely to be discerned amid the prevailing superstitions of the age. It was in the moral world as in the physical: the darkest hour is that which precedes the dawn. Darkness at this period covered the earth and gross darkness the people. The mind of man had become, as it were, without form and void; and in that state, humanly speaking, it was long likely to remain. But such was not the will of God. As in the creation of the world, God said, Let there be Light, and Light was; so now the command went forth—“Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." And the light of truth burst forth ; not indeed at first with noontide splendour; but there came from the East a dawn, and a day-spring thence arose, which
announced the coming of that light which will only cease to shine when time shall be
The Fourteenth century was to that which followed it like the morning star that ushers in the dawn. The love of learning revived; and polite letters were restored in the person of Petrarch. Universities were established in Rome and Fermo, in Perugia, Treviso and Pisa, in Pavia and Florence, in Sienna, Lucca and Ferrara. In England, Richard Aungerville, Bishop of Durham and Chancellor of Edward III, but better known to fame as Richard of Bury, gave his library to the University of Oxford, with special injunctions that his valuable manuscripts should be lent out to scholars.* These, and like agencies elsewhere at work, paved the way for the era then about to commence.
* For, says the Bishop in his 'Philobiblon,' “Books are masters who instruct us without rods, without hard words and anger, without clothes and money. If you approach them they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them they never grumble; if you are ignorant they cannot laugh at you."
As the dangers which menaced the Eastern Empire at the close of the Fourteenth century increased, the most learned of the Greeks fled to the West, carrying with them the treasures of their language. Amongst the first of these was Emanuel Chrysoloras, who settled in Florence in 1395 as public teacher in Greek. He had been previously known as an Ambassador from Constantinople to the Western powers, his mission being to solicit aid against the Turks. From Florence he proceeded to various Italian Universities, and became the preceptor of several early Hellenists. In 1423, 238 manuscripts of Greek authors were brought into Italy by John Aurispa of Sicily, who thus put his country in possession of authors hardly known to her by name. By means of these, and the labours of Philelfo and other collectors, an ardent thirst for Classical and especially
Grecian Literature began to make itself manifest, which about the year 1440 was completely developed.
The kings of France and the Dukes of Burgundy were at this period the most munificent patrons of learning and literature. The fashion they set
was followed by their chief nobles, and many celebrated libraries were formed in their dominions. The Library of the Louvre was founded by King John of France in 1350. His third son, Jean, Duc de Berri, formed one at his Chateau de Bicêtre, near Paris, only inferior to that of his father. Philippe le Hardi, the youngest son, who became Duke of Burgundy, was also addicted to the collection of fine books, “and spared no expense in the employment of artists to adorn his library, and in the purchase of their most choice productions.” His son, Jean sans Peur, inherited his father's tastes and added to the collections already made. “But all