RedState's Water Cooler - November 18, 2018 - Open Thread - "The Greate Days of Middle Englysh"

While going through the Way, Way, Wayback Machine this week, RedState Department of History staff underwent a mysterious transformation.

Today is the anniversary of publishing of the the first dated book printed by printing press in England. On this date in 1477, a man named William Caxton published “The Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers“.


Reading this book threw our staff into a tizzy and in fact crossed our eyes on numerous occasions.

The classic text begins with what to Caxton must have seemed an obvious statement:

“Where it is so that euery humayn Creature by the suffrance of our lord god is born & ordeigned to be “subgette and thral unto the stormes of fortune …”

As suche, in Readyng the Texte, the staff soone found itself Unable to control the various Maners and Habitts of its Speeche.

In the booke, we learne that:

“Sedechias was the first Philosophir by Whom thorugh the Wil and pleaser of oure lorde god Sapience was understande and lawes rescyued …”

Caxton was Borne betweene the Years of 1415 and 1421, but No One knowse the exact Date.

He was a Diplomate and Printer, who spente the Earlie Years of his lyfe in Belgium before sailing to England in 1476.

Not only did Caxton Dabble in the Sayenges of the Phylosophers (a Booke which was translated first frome the Arabic and then from the French languages), he also was Firste to print an Englysh Translation of the Holie Byble and Aeseop’s Fables.

Happily, Caxton was also one of the Firste to begin a Revolution in Englysh — that of Ending the Style of Middle Englysh and leading the way to the Modern Version of the Same.

In factte, Caxton was believed to be the First Wryter of His Day to spelle the word “ghost” with an “h”, out of the Flemish Tradytion with which He was Familiar.


In those days, writers often Spelled words in whatever manner came to Them, as a change from the Olde Englysh languages prior to the 11th Centurie.

For nearly 500 Years, writers simply Wrote and Spoke in the way words sounded to them, observing few Rules and Regulations in the Manner of Theyr Presentation, specialy in the science of Capitalization.

Caxton helped to change that.

It was a Time of Standardyzation of the Language and Caxton, who translated about one-quarter of his Books Himselfe, was not a master of the translating Arte.

But he did playe a Leading role in helpinge transform what we reade and wryte into the Language we enjoy today. He dyed in approximately 1491, the Publisher of 108 Books, 87 of whiche were Unique Tytles.

If you would like to attempte to read the Booke in its original Gothic scrypt, click here.

A Blessed Sundaye to you all and Enjoye today’s Open Threade!






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