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Colophon: what's in a name?

it's a fact...

The original meaning of the word colophon was "finishing touch".

  • Medieval manuscripts from the 6th century onward contained a colophon - the final paragraph of a manuscript, giving the title of the work, name of the scribe, date and place of completion, and sometimes an expression of thanksgiving that the work had been completed.
  • A colophon first appeared in a book, the Mainz Psalter (the Book of Psalms), in 1457.The printers, Fust and Schoffer, added their emblem, two shields, at the end of the colophon.
  • The use of a colophon in books was replaced by the title page from around 1520 onward.
  • Some publishers today use a colophon in the form of an emblem of the publishing house on the spine or title page of their books.

Learn more about the meaning of Colophon