The fifteenth century marked the commencement of two trends which signaled the end of the medieval era and the dawn of modernity: the emergence of centralized monarchies and the introduction of print culture. Both trends were gradual and in their infancy in the fifteenth century, but their successive paths of development were closely intertwined. Throughout the early modern era, monarchs with aspirations of imposing an absolute and uncontested authority on their often recalcitrant subjects utilized the “new art” (ars nova) of printing to realize their aims. Select printers became agents of absolutism, and the craft developed at the discretion and under the auspices of the royal governments of Europe.

Note on the Author

Donna A. Vinson is Assistant Professor of History.