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Home Books The oldest surviving books in the world, the 10 oldest

The oldest surviving books in the world, the 10 oldest

The oldest surviving books in the world, the 10 oldest


  •  Writing and literature arose between the seventh and fourth millennia BC. A wide variety of materials were used to write the text, including clay, silk, ceramics, papyrus, and even gold. So the question of the oldest book on Earth depends a lot on how you classify it.


  •  We have tried to combine into a single list the ten oldest surviving books in the world.

10. Gutenberg Bible – estimated age: 559 years


  •  This book, also known as the 42-line Bible (according to the number of lines per page), is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive Bible in the world. It is also considered by many to be the world's first printed book. Actually it is not. The book created by Gutenberg is one of the first printed editions. It differs from other incunabula in its excellent quality of design.

  •  Its first copies were printed in 1454-1455. Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany. There are 48 original copies of the Gutenberg Bible known.

9. Celtic Psalter – 938 years


  •  Next in the top 10 oldest books in the history of mankind is a pocket hymnal, kept at the University of Edinburgh. It is believed to have been created in the 11th century AD. This makes it the oldest surviving book in Scotland.

  •  It is assumed that the Celtic Psalter was created for a very important person. And the fact that some of the book's decorations were in the English Winchester style may indicate that the book was intended for Saint Margaret of Scotland, who descended from the Anglo-Saxon royal family.

8. Diamond Sutra – 1150 years


  •  This Buddhist sacred text is the second oldest printed book in the world.

  •  The Diamond Sutra was discovered in the Mogao caves in China in the early twentieth century. It contains sayings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, which should be rethought by those who aspire to comprehend the path of the bodhisattvas.

  •  Now one of the oldest books in the world is kept in the British Museum, but is not available to visitors. Light is detrimental to her, so we can only look at the photos posted on the Web.

7. Siddur – 1178 years


  •  Found in 2013, an ancient Jewish siddur prayer book dates back to around 840 AD. This parchment, containing 40 sacred texts, is so old that it contains Babylonian vowels. This allowed the experts to attribute the book to the times of activity of the Gaons (spiritual leaders of the Jewish people) in Babylon.

6. Book of Kells – 1218 years


  •  The Book of Kells, also known as the Book of Columba, is kept in the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. It is believed to have been created by Celtic monks around 800 AD.

  •  The book is lavishly decorated with colored miniatures and ornaments, and contains the four Gospels in Latin. Due to numerous decorations, the text of the manuscript on some pages is difficult to distinguish. However, the Book of Kells was hardly intended to be read, but rather to be used during worship. And the reader quoted the text from memory.

5. Ushnisha Vijaya Dharani Sutra – 1314 years


  •  In 1966, the sutra "Ushnisha Vijaya Dharani" was found in the South Korean Buddhist temple of Bulguksa. It was created using the woodcut method and is the earliest example of a printed book in the world.

  •  This scroll was printed between 704 and 751 AD. on Japanese paper tree paper. The printed letters of the sutra found in Korea compare favorably with the Chinese Diamond Sutra, as does the thin paper.

4. Cuthbert Gospel – 1320 years


  •  The oldest book in Europe is St. Cuthbert's Gospel, bought by the British Library in 2012 for £9 million.

  •  The book was a gift placed in the tomb of Saint Cuthbert, one of the earliest British Christian leaders. It dates from around 698 AD.

  •  Subsequently, the book, along with the relics of the saint, was transferred to Durham Cathedral so that they would not be destroyed by one of the Viking raids.

3. Library from Nag Hammadi – 1693


  •  This is one of the oldest libraries in the world. It contains 13 leather papyrus codices that were discovered in 1945 in the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi.

  •  Books containing Gnostic texts date from about the first half of the fourth century AD. They are written in Coptic, and presumably copied from the original Greek. The Nag Hammadi codices are currently in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt.

2. Golden tablets from Pyrga – over 2500 years old


  •  Three gold plates were found in 1964 during the excavation of a sanctuary in the ancient Etruscan port of Pirgi, Italy. They have holes along the edges, and scientists believe that the plates were once connected to each other.

  •  On two plates there are inscriptions in the Etruscan language, and one contains text in the Phoenician (Punic) language.

  •  The tablets from Pirgi tell that the ruler of Tefariy Veliana from the city of Caere brought gifts to the Phoenician goddess Astarte, also known as Ishtar.

1. Golden Book of the Etruscans – 2678 years


  •  In May 2003, the Bulgarian National Historical Museum in Sofia put on public display an ancient book consisting of six gold pages connected by two gold rings. The plates, measuring 5 by 4,5 cm, contain an Orphic text written in the Etruscan language, as well as an image of a horse, a rider, a siren, a lyre, and a soldier. The content of the book suggests that it was created for the funeral of a noble person who was a member of the Orpheus cult that originated in Ancient Greece.

  •  The oldest multi-page book in the world dates back to approximately 660 BC. It was donated to the museum by an 87-year-old Bulgarian man from Macedonia, who wished to remain anonymous. He discovered the treasure in a grave excavated 60 years ago when he was a soldier working on the construction of a canal along the Struma River. According to museum director Bozhidar Dimitrov, the find was confirmed by experts in Sofia and London.

  •  The Etruscans were an ancient people who migrated from Lydia (located in present-day Turkey) and settled in central Italy in the first millennium BC.