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Re: Medieval book envy

Ahem! Shall we lay off the "peasants"?  We, members of a written culture, 
presume/assume that the illiterate held the literate and their books in 
awe.  No doubt some did, but to many it must have appeared useless foolishness.
In a subsistance economy, as much of early medieval Europe was, the money 
spent on elaborate bindings must have appeared to many as even such a cruel 
affront to the common lot of poverty as the block long limo with driver does
to many of us today (whose "poverty" is not quite so extreme).  As for a 
universal respect for relics, the brisk trade in stolen and fabricated relics 
was such as to rouse suspicion and contempt as often as credence. It may 
have been that the utility of a girdle book would have had greater popular 
approval than the bejeweled psalter.

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