The threat to go to the gallows may seem unnecessarily harsh for stealing a book, but this is just one example of a long-standing tradition of book curses. Before the invention of the printing press in the West, the cost of a single book could be enormous. As explained by the scientist-specialist in the middle Ages Eric Kwakkel, theft of books in those days were more like stealing a car today. Today there is a car alarm, and then there were chains, chests and.. curses.
The earliest such curses date back to the seventh century BC. They are found in Latin, the languages of various European Nations, Arabic, Greek, and other languages. Curses existed in some cases even in the age of printing, gradually disappearing as books became cheaper. Continue reading