Given the extreme effort that went into creating books, scribes and book owners had a real incentive to protect their work. They used the only power they had: words. At the beginning or the end of books, scribes and book owners would write dramatic curses threatening thieves with pain and suffering if they were to steal or damage these treasures.
Drogin’s book, published in 1983, is the most thorough compendium of book curses ever compiled.
To those historians, the curses were curiosities, but to Drogin they were evidence of just how valuable books were to medieval scribes and scholars, at a time when even the most elite institutions might have libraries of only a few dozen books.
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