ARMENIA AETERNA

Encyclopaedia Mundi currently has a work made up of documents in facsimile edition and its corresponding study book: Armenia Aeterna. It is a fundamental work that brings together unique and capital documentation to understand the origins of Armenia.

A facsimile book is the reproduction of a specific volume made with the greatest fidelity in each and every one of its details. Unlike anastatic copies, facsimiles not only reproduce the text but also all the material properties of the book as an object, such as the size of the pages, the weight of the sheets, the color range of the decorations, the materials of the binding and the precious elements, to the point of making them identical to those of the book. This implies also reproducing in the copy all the defects of the book (woodworm, traces of humidity, signs of use, impurities, missing parts), which represent, for all intents and purposes, traces of its history. The binding of the volume is done by hand, using materials similar to the originals to create a replica of the original. Only when all these requirements are met can we speak of a facsimile edition and not of other forms of reproduction of an original, such as an anastatic edition.

In almost all cases the books reproduced are handwritten works, mainly those decorated as medieval or Renaissance illuminated manuscripts.

The facsimile is accompanied by a volume of comments, which contains historical-artistic studies about the reproduced volume and, on some occasions, also the translation of the text of the book. The publisher also undertakes to guarantee not only the integrity of the facsimile and its fidelity to the original, but also certifies a limited print run (less than a thousand copies, unique and without the possibility of reprinting) and the number of copies of each volume.

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Reproduction techniques

The phases of elaboration of a quasi-original combine craftsmanship, the practices used by copyists and bookbinders of medieval times, with other techniques that come from new technologies.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Images of the manuscript are obtained with a high-precision camera. The snapshots are printed on photographic plates with extreme sensitivity, which allow us to recognize all the shades of color present on the pages of the original book. Image capture can also be done with digital cameras to avoid post-processing.

PRE-PRESS

Images of the manuscript are obtained with a high-precision camera. The snapshots are printed on photographic plates with extreme sensitivity, which allow all the shades of color present in the pages of the original book to be recognized. Image capture can also be done with digital cameras to avoid post-processing.

PROOFREADING

In order for the facsimile to be as faithful as possible to the original document, the result of the printing is contrasted with the original codex on a light table at 5,500 degrees Kelvin. All shades of colors and base paper are carefully compared, even respecting possible imperfections or deterioration due to the passage of time.

PRINTING

For the printing of the facsimile document, the definitive photolithographs that most closely resemble the original pigments are selected. The pages are arranged in booklets of eight, 16 or more pages. Some documents will be printed separately and then added to the final book by manual manipulation.

METAL APPLICATION

In books illuminated by metal paintings, such as codices and other books copied in monasteries, screen printing and stamping techniques are used. Miniatures in ancient manuscripts were often decorated with liquid gold, gold pigments, gold leaf, and burnished gold. To reproduce these ornaments, a copper sheet is used in which the areas where the metals have been embedded are reproduced in relief. A thin sheet of gold or silver is applied between the plate and the page, which, when receiving pressure and heat, adheres to the paper.

BINDING

This process is completely handmade, as in the Middle Ages. Hand-folded booklets are sorted, secured on the printing press, and stretched out on a loom where they are hand-sewn. The binding must be identical to that of the base document.