From the Qin Dynasty to Concord, MA: A History of Book Banning

Kristen Twardowski

Words can be dangerous. Though we tend to think of censorship and book banning as modern phenomena, the prohibition of books has existed since the creation of the written word. In honor of Banned Book Week (Sept. 25-Oct. 1), I want to take a quick look back at censored books in history.

Servius_Tullius_by_Frans_Huys.jpgTraditionally the people who banned books considered the words within them to be morally or politically destructive. These writings threatened the power structures of their given societies, and those societies recognized this threat early.
Rome established its first Office of the Censor, a position overseeing public morality, in 443 BC, and Qin Shi Huang, the ruler who consolidated the Chinese Qin Dynasty, is said to have burned Confucian writings beginning in 221 BC.

Though ancient societies frequently banned writings, the invention of the printing press and the subsequent explosion of the number of books resulted in increased restrictions on literature. 800px-Index_1557.jpgIn 1559…

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