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Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * ...

paper
that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the
pith shoot cut longitudinally to show the broad, solid pith (rough-textured, white) inside the wood (smooth, yellow-tinged). Scale in mm. shoot cut longitudinally to show the chambered pith found in this genus. Scale in mm. Image:Taxus wood.jpg, 250 ...
of the papyrus plant, ''
Cyperus papyrus ''Cyperus papyrus'', papyrus, papyrus sedge, paper reed, Indian matting plant or Nile grass, is a species of aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...

Cyperus papyrus
'', a wetland
sedge The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...

sedge
. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a document written on sheets of such material, joined side by side and rolled up into a
scroll '', Vatican Library The Vatican Apostolic Library ( la, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, it, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library A library is a curated co ...

scroll
, an early form of a book. Papyrus is first known to have been used in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
(at least as far back as the First Dynasty), as the papyrus plant was once abundant across the
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), ...
. It was also used throughout the Mediterranean region and in the
Kingdom of Kush The Kingdom of Kush (; : 𓎡𓄿𓈙 ''kꜣš'', : ''Ku-u-si'', in grc, Κυς and Κυσι; cop, ; he, כּוּשׁ) was an ancient kingdom in , centered along the in what is now northern and southern . The region of Nubia was an ea ...
. Apart from a writing material, ancient Egyptians employed papyrus in the construction of other artifacts, such as
reed boats Reed boats and rafts, along with dugout canoe A dugout canoe or simply dugout is a boat made from a hollowed tree. Other names for this type of boat are logboat and monoxylon. ''Monoxylon'' (''μονόξυλον'') (pl: ''monoxyla'') is Greek -- ' ...
,
mat A mat is a piece of fabric material that generally is placed on a floor or other flat surface. Mats serve a range of purposes including: * serving to clean items passed over it, such as a doormat, which removes dirt from the soles of shoes * ...

mat
s,
rope A rope is a group of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, or ropemaking. Thread (yarn), Thread is a type of yarn inte ...

rope
,
sandals Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a Sole (shoe), sole held to the wearer's foot by straps going over the instep and around the ankle. Sandals can also have a heel. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwe ...

sandals
, and
basket A basket is a container that is traditionally constructed from stiff fibers and can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, runners, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair ...

basket
s.


History

Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt as far back as the fourth millennium BCE.H. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935
"Papyrus and its uses"
(
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
pamphlet).
The earliest archaeological evidence of papyrus was excavated in 2012 and 2013 at
Wadi al-Jarf Wadi al-Jarf ( ar, وادي الجرف) is the present name for an area on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, south of Suez, that is the site of the oldest known artificial harbour in the world, developed about 4500 years ago. It is located at the mouth ...
, an
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
ian
harbor A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engl ...

harbor
located on the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
coast. These documents, the
Diary of Merer The Diary of Merer (also known as ''Papyrus Jarf'') is the name for papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick that was used in ancient times as a . It was made from the of the papyrus plant, ', a wetland . ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''p ...
, date from c. 2560–2550 BCE (end of the reign of
Khufu Khufu (, full name Khnum Khufu , known to the ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to ...

Khufu
). The papyrus rolls describe the last years of building the
Great Pyramid of Giza The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the Egyptian pyramids, pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt. It is the olde ...

Great Pyramid of Giza
. In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus
scrolls A scroll (from the Old French ''escroe'' or ''escroue''), also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick that was used in ancient times as a . It was made from the of the papyrus plant, ', a wetl ...
gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
, which was prepared from animal skins. Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from which were fashioned. Early Christian writers soon adopted the codex form, and in the Græco-Roman world, it became common to cut sheets from papyrus rolls to form codices. Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll, as the papyrus was not pliable enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required to create large-volume texts. Papyrus had the advantage of being relatively cheap and easy to produce, but it was fragile and susceptible to both moisture and excessive dryness. Unless the papyrus was of perfect quality, the writing surface was irregular, and the range of media that could be used was also limited. Papyrus was replaced in Europe by the cheaper, locally produced products
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
and
vellum 267px, A vellum seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaqua ...

vellum
, of significantly higher durability in moist climates, though
Henri Pirenne Henri Pirenne (; 23 December 1862 – 24 October 1935) was a Belgium, Belgian historian. A Medieval studies, medievalist of Wallonia, Walloon descent, he wrote a multivolume history of Belgium in French and became a prominent public intellectual. ...
's connection of its disappearance with the Muslim conquest of Egypt is contested. Its last appearance in the
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and ...
chancery is with a document of 692, though it was known in
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
until the middle of the following century. The latest certain dates for the use of papyrus are 1057 for a papal decree (typically conservative, all
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle a ...
s were on papyrus until 1022), under
Pope Victor II Pope Victor II (c. 1018 – 28 July 1057), born Gebhard of Dollnstein-Hirschberg, was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of ...

Pope Victor II
, and 1087 for an Arabic document. Its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by less expensive
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * ...

paper
introduced by the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...

Islamic world
who originally learned of it from the Chinese. By the 12th century, parchment and paper were in use in the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, but papyrus was still an option.Bompaire, Jacques and Jean Irigoin. ''La paleographie grecque et byzantine'', Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1977, 389 n. 6, cited in Alice-Mary Talbot (ed.). ''Holy women of Byzantium'', Dumbarton Oaks, 1996, p. 227. . Papyrus was made in several qualities and prices.
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
and
Isidore of Seville Isidore of Seville (; la, Isidorus Hispalensis; c. 560 – 4 April 636) was a Spanish scholar and cleric. For over three decades, he was Archbishop In many Christian denomination, Christian Denominations, an archbishop (, via Latin ...
described six variations of papyrus which were sold in the Roman market of the day. These were graded by quality based on how fine, firm, white, and smooth the writing surface was. Grades ranged from the superfine Augustan, which was produced in sheets of 13 digits (10 inches) wide, to the least expensive and most coarse, measuring six digits (four inches) wide. Materials deemed unusable for writing or less than six digits were considered commercial quality and were pasted edge to edge to be used only for wrapping. Until the middle of the 19th century, only some isolated documents written on papyrus were known, and museums simply showed them as curiosities. They did not contain literary works. The first modern discovery of papyri rolls was made at
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
in 1752. Until then, the only papyri known had been a few surviving from medieval times. Scholarly investigations began with the Dutch historian Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens (1793–1835). He wrote about the content of the Leyden papyrus, published in 1830. The first publication has been credited to the British scholar
Charles Wycliffe Goodwin Charles Wycliffe Goodwin (1817–1878) was an English Egyptologist, bible scholar, lawyer and judge. His last judicial position was as Acting Chief Judge of the British Supreme Court for China and Japan. Early life Goodwin was born on 2 April 181 ...

Charles Wycliffe Goodwin
(1817–1878), who published for the
Cambridge Antiquarian SocietyThe Cambridge Antiquarian Society is a society dedicated to study and preservation of the archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often conside ...
, one of the
Papyri Graecae Magicae The Greek Magical Papyri (Latin ''Papyri Graecae Magicae'', abbreviated ''PGM'') is the name given by scholars to a body of papyrus, papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, written mostly in ancient Greek (but also in Coptic language, Old Coptic, Demotic ( ...
V, translated into English with commentary in 1853.


Etymology

The
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
word "papyrus" derives, via
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
πάπυρος (''papyros''), a loanword of unknown (perhaps
Pre-Greek The Pre-Greek substrate (or Pre-Greek substratum) consists of the unknown pre-Indo-European language(s) spoken in prehistoric Greece before the coming of the Proto-Greek language The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is ...
) origin. Greek has a second word for it, βύβλος (''byblos''), said to derive from the name of the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n city of
Byblos Byblos ( ar, جبيل ''Jubayl'', locally ''Jbeil''; gr, Βύβλος; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋 (GBL) , (probably ''Gubal'') is a city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic ...

Byblos
. The Greek writer
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
, who flourished during the 4th century BCE, uses ''papyros'' when referring to the plant used as a foodstuff and ''byblos'' for the same plant when used for nonfood products, such as cordage, basketry, or writing surfaces. The more specific term βίβλος ''biblos'', which finds its way into English in such words as 'bibliography', 'bibliophile', and 'bible', refers to the inner bark of the papyrus plant. ''Papyrus'' is also the
etymon Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' (''ODE'') is a single-volume English dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arr ...
of 'paper', a similar substance. In the
Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamiti ...
, papyrus was called ''wadj'' (''w3ḏ''), ''tjufy'' (''ṯwfy''), or ''djet'' (''ḏt'').


Documents written on papyrus

The word for the material papyrus is also used to designate documents written on sheets of it, often rolled up into scrolls. The plural for such documents is papyri. Historical papyri are given identifying names – generally the name of the discoverer, first owner or institution where they are kept – and numbered, such as "
Papyrus Harris I Papyrus Harris I is also known as the Great Harris Papyrus and (less accurately) simply the Harris Papyrus (though there are a number of other papyri in the Harris collection). Its technical designation is ''Papyrus British Museum EA 9999''. At 41 m ...
". Often an abbreviated form is used, such as "pHarris I". These documents provide important information on ancient writings; they give us the only extant copy of
Menander Menander (; grc-gre, Μένανδρος ''Menandros''; c. 342/41 – c. 290 BC) was a Greek dramatist A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play (theatre), plays. Etymology The word "play" is from Middle English pleye, from Old ...

Menander
, the Egyptian
Book of the Dead The ''Book of the Dead'' is an ancient Egyptian funerary text The literature that makes up the ancient Egyptian funerary texts is a collection of religious documents that were used in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization o ...
, Egyptian treatises on medicine (the
Ebers Papyrus The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyri, Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge dating to circa 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor i ...
) and on surgery (the
Edwin Smith papyrus The Edwin Smith Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical text, named after Edwin Smith who bought it in 1862, and the oldest known surgical treatise A treatise is a formal Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or ...
), Egyptian mathematical treatises (the
Rhind papyrus The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (RMP; also designated as papyrus British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London. It is considered a fashionable residential area, and is the locatio ...
), and Egyptian folk tales (the Westcar papyrus). When, in the 18th century, a library of ancient papyri was found in
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
, ripples of expectation spread among the learned men of the time. However, since these papyri were badly charred, their unscrolling and deciphering is still going on today.


Manufacture and use

Papyrus is made from the stem of the papyrus plant, ''
Cyperus papyrus ''Cyperus papyrus'', papyrus, papyrus sedge, paper reed, Indian matting plant or Nile grass, is a species of aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...

Cyperus papyrus
''. The outer rind is first removed, and the sticky fibrous inner
pith shoot cut longitudinally to show the broad, solid pith (rough-textured, white) inside the wood (smooth, yellow-tinged). Scale in mm. shoot cut longitudinally to show the chambered pith found in this genus. Scale in mm. Image:Taxus wood.jpg, 250 ...
is cut lengthwise into thin strips of about long. The strips are then placed side by side on a hard surface with their edges slightly overlapping, and then another layer of strips is laid on top at a right angle. The strips may have been soaked in water long enough for
decomposition Decomposition is the process by which dead organic substance , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds co ...
to begin, perhaps increasing adhesion, but this is not certain. The two layers possibly were glued together. While still moist, the two layers are hammered together, mashing the layers into a single sheet. The sheet is then dried under pressure. After drying, the sheet is polished with some rounded object, possibly a stone or seashell or round hardwood. Sheets, or kollema, could be cut to fit the obligatory size or glued together to create a longer roll. The point where the kollema are joined with glue is called the kollesis. A wooden stick would be attached to the last sheet in a roll, making it easier to handle. To form the long strip scrolls required, a number of such sheets were united, placed so all the horizontal fibres parallel with the roll's length were on one side and all the vertical fibres on the other. Normally, texts were first written on the ''
recto ''Recto'' is the "right" or "front" side and ''verso'' is the "left" or "back" side when text is written or printed on a leaf of paper () in a bound item such as a codex The codex (plural codices ()) was the historical ancestor of the mo ...
'', the lines following the fibres, parallel to the long edges of the scroll. Secondarily, papyrus was often reused, writing across the fibres on the ''
verso File:Recto and verso RTL.svg, Right-to-left language books: recto is the front page, verso is the back page (Horizontal and vertical writing in East Asian scripts#Japanese and Traditional Chinese, vertical Chinese, vertical Japanese, Arabic, or ...

verso
''.
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
describes the methods of preparing papyrus in his ''
Naturalis Historia The ''Natural History'' ( la, Naturalis Historia) is a work by Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, ...
''. In a dry
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
, like that of Egypt, papyrus is stable, formed as it is of highly rot-resistant
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior ...

cellulose
; but storage in humid conditions can result in
mold A mold () or mould () is a fungus A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of ...
s attacking and destroying the material. Library papyrus rolls were stored in wooden boxes and chests made in the form of statues. Papyrus scrolls were organized according to subject or author, and identified with clay labels that specified their contents without having to unroll the scroll. In European conditions, papyrus seems to have lasted only a matter of decades; a 200-year-old papyrus was considered extraordinary. Imported papyrus once commonplace in
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
has since deteriorated beyond repair, but papyri are still being found in Egypt; extraordinary examples include the Elephantine papyri and the famous finds at
Oxyrhynchus Oxyrhynchus (; grc-gre, Ὀξύρρυγχος, Oxýrrhynchos, sharp-nosed; ancient Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Pr-Medjed''; cop, or , ''Pemdje''; ar, البهنسا, ''Al-Bahnasa'') is a city in Middle Egypt located about 160 km sou ...

Oxyrhynchus
and
Nag Hammadi Nag Hammadi ( ; ar, نجع حمادى ) is a city in Upper Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile in the Qena Governorate, about north-west of Luxor. It had a population of close to 43,000 . History The town of Nag Hammadi is name ...
. The
Villa of the Papyri The Villa of the Papyri ( it, Villa dei Papiri, also known as ''Villa dei Pisoni'') was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
at
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
, containing the library of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
's father-in-law, was preserved by the eruption of
Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma A somma volcano (also known as a sommian) is a volcano, volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central volcanic cone, ...
, but has only been partially excavated. Sporadic attempts to revive the manufacture of papyrus have been made since the mid-18th century.
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...

Scottish
explorer
James Bruce James Bruce of Kinnaird (14 December 1730 – 27 April 1794) was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Ethiopia, to which it was wrongly attributed to be the first European to trace the orig ...

James Bruce
experimented in the late 18th century with papyrus plants from the
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...

Sudan
, for papyrus had become extinct in Egypt. Also in the 18th century, Saverio Landolina manufactured papyrus at
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa , or scn, Seragusa, label=none ; lat, Syrācūsae ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκοσ ...
, where papyrus plants had continued to grow in the wild. During the 1920s, when Egyptologist
Battiscombe Gunn Battiscombe George "Jack" Gunn, (30 June 1883 – 27 February 1950) was an English Egyptologist Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
lived in
Maadi Maadi ( ar, المعادي / transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → , Cyrillic ...

Maadi
, outside Cairo, he experimented with the manufacture of papyrus, growing the plant in his garden. He beat the sliced papyrus stalks between two layers of linen, and produced successful examples of papyrus, one of which was exhibited in the
Egyptian Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display an ...

Egyptian Museum
in Cairo. The modern technique of papyrus production used in Egypt for the tourist trade was developed in 1962 by the Egyptian engineer Hassan Ragab using plants that had been reintroduced into Egypt in 1872 from France. Both Sicily and Egypt have centres of limited papyrus production. Papyrus is still used by communities living in the vicinity of swamps, to the extent that rural householders derive up to 75% of their income from swamp goods. Particularly in East and Central Africa, people harvest papyrus, which is used to manufacture items that are sold or used locally. Examples include baskets, hats, fish traps, trays or winnowing mats, and floor mats. Papyrus is also used to make roofs, ceilings, rope and fences. Although alternatives, such as
eucalyptus ''Eucalyptus'' () is a of over seven hundred species of s, shrubs or in the , Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the , including ', they are commonly known as s. Plants in the genus ''Eucalyptus'' have bark that is either smooth, ...

eucalyptus
, are increasingly available, papyrus is still used as fuel.Maclean, I.M.D., R. Tinch, M. Hassall and R.R. Boar. 2003c.
Towards optimal use of tropical wetlands: an economic evaluation of goods derived from papyrus swamps in southwest Uganda
" Environmental Change and Management Working Paper No. 2003-10, Centre for Social and Economic Research into the Global Environment, University of East Anglia, Norwich.


Collections of papyri

* Amherst Papyri: this is a collection of
William Tyssen-Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney, (25 April 1835 – 16 January 1909) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Member of Parliament and collector of books and works of art. Background and education Born Will ...

William Tyssen-Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney
. It includes biblical manuscripts, early church fragments, and classical documents from the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Byzantine eras. The collection was edited by
Bernard Grenfell Bernard Pyne Grenfell, Fellow of the British Academy, FBA (16 December 1869 – 18 May 1926) was an England, English scientist and Egyptologist. Life Grenfell was the son of John Granville Grenfell FGS and Alice Grenfell. He was born in Birmingham ...
and Arthur Hunt in 1900–1901. It is housed at the
Pierpont Morgan Library The Morgan Library & Museum, formerly the Pierpont Morgan Library, is a museum and research library in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United Sta ...

Pierpont Morgan Library
(New York). * Archduke Rainer Papyri: one of the world's largest collection of papyri (about 180,000 objects) in the
Austrian National Library The Austrian National Library (german: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) is the largest library in Austria, with more than 12 million items in its various collections. The library is located in the Hofburg#Neue Burg, Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg ...
. *
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
Papyri: housed in the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection. * Berliner griechische Urkunden (BGU): a publishing project ongoing since 1895 *
Bodmer Papyri The Bodmer Papyri are a group of twenty-two papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, p ...
: this collection was purchased by
Martin Bodmer Martin Bodmer (November 13, 1899 – March 22, 1971) was a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, Wisconsin Other uses *Swiss-sys ...
in 1955–1956. Currently it is housed in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in
Cologny Cologny () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Cologny is first mentioned in 1208 as ''Colognier''. The oldest trace of a settlement in the area is a Neolithic lake side village which w ...
. It includes Greek and
Copt The Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, translit=niremənkhēmi; ar, الْقِبْط, ) are an ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who a ...
ic documents, classical texts, biblical books, and writing of the early churches. *
Brooklyn Papyrus The Brooklyn Papyrus (''47.218.48'' and ''47.218.85'', also known as the Brooklyn Medical Papyrus) is a medical papyrus dating from ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated alon ...
: this papyrus focuses mainly on snakebites and its remedies. It speaks of remedial methods for poisons obtained from snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas. The Brooklyn Papyrus currently resides in the
Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or have ...

Brooklyn Museum
. *
Chester Beatty Papyri The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri or simply the Chester Beatty Papyri are a group of early papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papy ...
: collection of 11 codices acquired by
Alfred Chester Beatty Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (7 February 1875 – 19 January 1968),Seanad 1985: "Chester Beatty died at the Princess Grace Clinic, Monte Carlo, on 19 January 1968, .. (some sources give this as 20 January). who always signed his name A. Chester Beat ...

Alfred Chester Beatty
in 1930–1931 and 1935. It is housed at the
Chester Beatty Library The Chester Beatty is a museum and library in Dublin Dublin (, ; ) is the capital and largest city of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the Provinces of Ire ...
. The collection was edited by Frederic G. Kenyon. * Colt Papyri: housed at the
Pierpont Morgan Library The Morgan Library & Museum, formerly the Pierpont Morgan Library, is a museum and research library in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United Sta ...

Pierpont Morgan Library
(New York). * The
Herculaneum papyri The Herculaneum papyri are more than 1,800 papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poac ...
: these papyri were found in Herculaneum in the eighteenth century, carbonized by the eruption of
Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma A somma volcano (also known as a sommian) is a volcano, volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central volcanic cone, ...
. After some tinkering, a method was found to unroll and to read them. Most of them are housed at the
Naples National Archaeological Museum The National Archaeological Museum of Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 ...
. * The Heroninos Archive: a collection of around a thousand papyrus documents, dealing with the management of a large Roman estate, dating to the third century CE, found at the very end of the 19th century at Kasr El Harit, the site of ancient , in the Faiyum area of Egypt by Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt. It is spread over many collections throughout the world. * The Houghton's papyri: the collection at Houghton Library, Houghton Library, Harvard University was acquired between 1901 and 1909 thanks to a donation from the Egypt Exploration Fund. * Saite Oracle Papyrus: this papyrus located at the
Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or have ...

Brooklyn Museum
records the petition of a man named Pemou on behalf of his father, Harsiese to ask their god for permission to change temples. * Martin Schøyen Collection: biblical manuscripts in Greek and Coptic, Dead Sea Scrolls, classical documents * University of Michigan Papyrus Collection, Michigan Papyrus Collection: this collection contains above 10 000 papyri fragments. It is housed at the University of Michigan. * Oxyrhynchus Papyri: these numerous papyri fragments were discovered by Grenfell and Hunt in and around
Oxyrhynchus Oxyrhynchus (; grc-gre, Ὀξύρρυγχος, Oxýrrhynchos, sharp-nosed; ancient Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Pr-Medjed''; cop, or , ''Pemdje''; ar, البهنسا, ''Al-Bahnasa'') is a city in Middle Egypt located about 160 km sou ...

Oxyrhynchus
. The publication of these papyri is still in progress. A large part of the Oxyrhynchus papyri are housed at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, others in the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
in London, in the
Egyptian Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display an ...

Egyptian Museum
in Cairo, and many other places. * Princeton Papyri: it is housed at the Princeton University * Papiri della Società Italiana (PSI): a series, still in progress, published by the Società per la ricerca dei Papiri greci e latini in Egitto and from 1927 onwards by the succeeding Istituto Papirologico "G. Vitelli" in Florence. These papyri are situated at the institute itself and in the Biblioteca Laurenziana. * Rylands Papyri: this collection contains above 700 papyri, with 31 ostraca and 54 codices. It is housed at the John Rylands University Library. * Tebtunis Papyri: housed by the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, this is a collection of more than 30,000 fragments dating from the 3rd century BCE through the 3rd century CE, found in the winter 1899–1900 at the site of ancient Tebtunis, Egypt, by an expedition team led by the British papyrologists Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. * Washington University Papyri Collection: includes 445 manuscript fragments, dating from the first century BCE to the eighth century AD. Housed at the Washington University Libraries. * Will of Naunakhte: found at Deir el-Medina and dating to the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt, 20th dynasty, it is notable because it is a legal document for a non-noble woman. * Yale Papyrus Collection: numbers over six thousand inventoried items and is cataloged, digitally scanned, and accessible online for close study. It is housed at the Beinecke Library. * 758 number, pre-800 Arabic papyrus or parchment documents have been catalogued in the papyrus collections of Egypt, Europe, and North America.:de:Andreas Kaplony, Andreas Kaplony, ''Comparing Qurʾānic Suras With Pre-800 Documents'', Der Islam, 2018


Papyrus art

Other ancient writing materials: *Palm leaf manuscript (India) *Amate (Mesoamerica) *Paper *Ostracon *Wax tablets *Clay tablets *Birch bark document *Parchment


See also

*
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
*Papyrology *Papyrus sanitary pad *Palimpsest *For Egyptian papyri: **List of ancient Egyptian papyri *Other papyri: ** Elephantine papyri **Magdalen papyrus **Nag Hammadi library **List of New Testament papyri, New Testament papyri **Strasbourg papyrus *The papyrus plant in Egyptian art **Palmette


References


Citations


Sources

* Leach, Bridget, and William John Tait. 2000. "Papyrus". In ''Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology'', edited by Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 227–253. Thorough technical discussion with extensive bibliography. * Leach, Bridget, and William John Tait. 2001. "Papyrus". In ''The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt'', edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 3 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 22–24. * Parkinson, Richard Bruce, and Stephen G. J. Quirke. 1995. ''Papyrus''. Egyptian Bookshelf. London: British Museum Press. General overview for a popular reading audience.


Further reading

* Horst Blanck: ''Das Buch in der Antike''. Beck, München 1992, * Rosemarie Drenkhahn: ''Papyrus''. In: Wolfgang Helck, Wolfhart Westendorf (eds.): ''Lexikon der Ägyptologie''. vol. IV, Wiesbaden 1982, Spalte 667–670 * David Diringer, ''The Book before Printing: Ancient, Medieval and Oriental'', Dover Publications, New York 1982, pp. 113–169, . * Victor Martin (Hrsg.): ''Ménandre. Le Dyscolos''. Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, Cologny – Genève 1958 * Otto Mazal: ''Griechisch-römische Antike''. Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, Graz 1999, (Geschichte der Buchkultur; vol. 1)


External links


Leuven Homepage of Papyrus Collections




at th
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

Lund University Library Papyrus Collection

Ghent University Library Papyrus Collection
* *
Finding aid to the Advanced Papyrological Information System records at Columbia University. Rare Book & Manuscript Library.



Papyrus-making in Egypt
(video), scidevnet, via youtube, April 2019. {{Authority control Papyrus, Egyptian artefact types Nile Delta Papyrology Textual scholarship Writing media Egyptian inventions