The development of printing and paper meant that 20 million books were produced in the first fifty years after Gutenberg (1455). This dwarfed the literary output of the ancient world. Printing probably had an even greater effect than gunpowder, which, like the stirrup before it, revolutionised warfare and allowed Europeans to dominate the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the people of medieval Europe invented spectacles, the mechanical clock, the windmill and the blast furnace by themselves. Lenses and cameras, almost all kinds of machinery, and the industrial revolution itself all owe their origins to the forgotten inventors of the Middle Ages. Just because we don’t know their names, does not mean that we should not recognise their achievements.
They lived much tougher lives than we do and we are the ones reaping the rewards for their hard work.
The Middle Ages laid the foundation for modern science. It is simply untrue to say that there was no science before the ‘Renaissance’
In fact, when it comes to banning books, religion is the worst reason of the lot. Religion, uncontaminated by power, can be the source of a great deal of private solace, artistic inspiration, and moral wisdom. But when it gets its hands on the levers of political or social authority, it goes rotten very quickly indeed. The rank stench of oppression wafts from every authoritarian church, chapel, temple, mosque, or synagogue – from every place of worship where the priests have the power to meddle in the social and intellectual lives of their flocks, from every presidential palace or prime ministerial office where civil leaders have to pander to religious ones.