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Johannes Gutenberg: The Beginning Through The End

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Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, more commonly known as Johannes Gutenberg, was a man of the Renaissance. Johannes was born in approximately 1400 in Mainz, Germany into an upper-class family. His father was named Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden. According to some, he was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most believe he was involved in the cloth trade. Johannes did many things to help the Renaissance times, and also to help us today. He invented the Printing Press and was also a goldsmith. Once he had invented the Printing Press, he created what is known today as the Gutenberg Bible, or the 42-line Bible. The world would be much farther back in technology if it weren’t for this man.

Johannes moved away from his hometown of Mainz to Strasburg, Germany in 1430 and then Johannes invented the Printing Press in 1439. Earlier in Johannes’ life, Europeans started what is called xylography, which is carving into pieces of wood to make books, also known as “Block Printing”.However, Johannes was not the first man to invent the Printing Press. In approximately 1041, an Asian man named Bi Sheng of Japan invented the first technology that allowed clay movable type. However, his methods of movable type were not practical, or useful, for large-scale printing. Gutenberg’s Printing Press fixed this problem. Many believe that Gutenberg printed up to 200 Gutenberg Bibles. Legal documents indicate that Gutenberg probably began printing the Bible around 1450. It was in this year that Gutenberg entered into a partnership with Johann Fust who lent him money to finance the production of a Bible. Johannes’ Gutenberg Bible was the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. Much evidence suggests that to make his Gutenberg Bible, it would have taken 100,000 pieces of type. One piece of type is just a piece of very thin metal that they would use to press into the paper with a composing stick. With his Printing Press, Johannes started a business. He didn’t create the Bible until this business had been brought up.

Johannes moved back to Mainz and started his business in 1444, five years after moving to Strasburg. In Mainz, Gutenberg started his own printing business. In 1446 and 1448, Johannes printed two things, “Poem of the Last Judgment” and “Calendar for 1448”. In 1450, Johannes acquainted the very wealthy, Johann Fust. Fust gave Johannes the money to start making/printing his Bibles. Right away, Johannes started making Bibles, and he had finished his work on up to 200 Gutenberg Bibles in 1455. It took Johannes five years to make these Bibles, making approximately one Bible every nine days. In 1454, Johannes printed Indulgences for Pope Nicholas V. Indulgences are “tickets” from the Catholic Church that supposedly forgave all sins. These indulgences were sold to Europeans that wanted their sins lifted so they could go to Heaven. Johannes’ business soon started to fall after 11 years of service. In 1455, after he had completed his Bibles, Johannes became effectively



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