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Three florins

Posted by R. Berg on April 25, 2003

In Reply to: Three florins posted by Mei on April 25, 2003

: Hi,

: I am stuggling with the follwing sentences. Could anyone do me a favor and tell me what they mean.

: In 1483 the owner of one press charged three florins for each twenty pages to print a book that a scribe might have copied for one florin for twenty pages. But the press could produce 1025 copies for the money, the scribe one copy.

: Thanks a lot.

: Mei

A florin was a gold coin. The first florins were made at Florence, Italy; later some other countries produced florins too. So a florin is an amount of money, like a dollar or a pound. "Three florins for each twenty pages" is the rate that the printer charged to print a book. If I've written a book 20 pages long, the printer will print it if I pay 3 florins. If my book is 200 pages long, I have to pay the printer 30 florins. A scribe is a person who copies books by hand. The scribe will make a handwritten copy of my 20-page book if I pay 1 florin. If my book is 200 pages, I have to pay the scribe 10 florins. But the scribe makes just one copy and the printer makes 1025 copies.