السبت، 8 أكتوبر، 2011

Use of Papyrus for Written Records

Papyrus was used as a writing surface very early in history. The oldest examples date back to the end of the fourth millennium BC, but many believe that writing on papyrus dates back to the middle of the fourth millennium BC.

While it is still not known exactly when the Greeks started writing on papyrus, it is estimated to have been in the sixth or end of the seventh century BC During this time, the Greeks managed to rid themselves of the Phoenicians as trading middle-men and started to acquire papyrus directly from Egypt.

A relatively large number of texts from the Greco-Roman period written on papyrus have survived. Most of these were found in Egypt, where the dry weather helps preserve this material that is prone to damage from water and dampness. Writing on papyrus was usually in the form of columns inscribed along the length of the sheet, connected from right to left. The reader would hold the scroll in one hand and use the other hand to open the text and read it from beginning to end. This column was called a "pagina" and the same term was used to denote the pages of the book when the scroll evolved into a codex, a set of individual sheets bound together in the manner of a modern book. If one scroll was not long enough for the text, two or three scrolls would be used.

A small piece of parchment or papyrus on which the title of the text was written was then inserted, especially if it was to be held in a library. The scroll might be wrapped in a leather cover or placed in a special box for protection .

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