From Textus Receptus
Papyrus usually grow 2–3 meters (5–9 ft) tall. Papyrus is first known to have been used in ancient Egypt (at least as far back as the First dynasty), but it was also used throughout the Mediterranean region. Ancient Egypt used this plant as a writing material and for boats, mattresses, mats, rope, sandals, and baskets.
Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt as far back as the third millennium BCE. In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus scrolls gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of parchment, which was prepared from animal skins. Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from which book-form codices 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 good 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 and vellum, of significantly higher durability in moist climates, though Henri Pirenne's connection of its disappearance with the Muslim overrunning of Egypt is contended. Its last appearance in the Merovingian chancery is with a document of 692, though it was known in 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 "bulls" were on papyrus until 1022), under Pope Victor II, and 1087 for an Arabic document. Its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by more inexpensive paper introduced by Arabs. Papyrus was documented as in use as late as the 12th century in the Byzantine Empire, but there are no surviving examples. Although its uses had transferred to parchment, papyrus therefore just overlapped with the use of paper in Europe, which began in the 11th century.
The English word papyrus derives, via Latin, from Greek πάπυρος papyros. Greek has a second word for papyrus, βύβλος byblos (said to derive from the name of the Phoenician city of Byblos). The Greek writer Theophrastus, who flourished during the 4th century BCE, uses papuros when referring to the plant used as a foodstuff and bublos for the same plant when used for non-food products, such as cordage, basketry, or a writing surface. 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 of paper, a similar substance.
It is often claimed Template:By whom that Egyptians referred to papyrus as pa-per-aa [p3y pr-ˁ3] (lit., "that which is of Pharaoh"), apparently denoting that the Egyptian crown owned a monopoly on papyrus production. However no actual ancient text using this term is known. In the Egyptian language, papyrus was known by the terms wadj [w3ḏ], tjufy [ṯwfy], and djet [ḏt]. The Greek word papyros has no known relationship to any Egyptian word or phrase.
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 it is kept—and numbered, such as "Papyrus Harris I". Often an abbreviated form is used such as "pHarris I".
Manufacture and use
Papyrus is made from the stem of the plant. The outer rind is first stripped off, and the sticky fibrous inner pith is cut lengthwise into thin strips of about Template:Convert 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 to begin, perhaps increasing adhesion, but this is not certain. It is also possible that the two layers 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 of papyrus is polished with some rounded object, possibly a stone or seashell or round hard wood.
To form the long strip that a scroll required, a number of such sheets were united, placed so that 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, 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. Pliny the Elder describes the methods of preparing papyrus in his Naturalis Historia.
In a dry climate like that of Egypt, papyrus is stable, formed as it is of highly rot-resistant cellulose; but storage in humid conditions can result in molds attacking and destroying the material. In European conditions, papyrus seems only to have lasted a matter of decades; a 200–year-old papyrus was considered extraordinary. Imported papyrus that was once commonplace in Greece and Italy has since deteriorated beyond repair, but papyrus is still being found in Egypt; extraordinary examples include the Elephantine papyri and the famous finds at Oxyrhynchus and Nag Hammadi. The Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, containing the library of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, Julius Caesar's father-in-law, was preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but has only been partially excavated.
There have been sporadic attempts to revive the manufacture of papyrus during the past 250 years. The Scottish explorer James Bruce experimented in the late 18th century with papyrus plants from the Sudan, for papyrus had become extinct in Egypt. Also in the 18th century, a Sicilian named Saverio Landolina manufactured papyrus at Syracuse, where papyrus plants had continued to grow in the wild. 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 (Maclean et al. 2003b; c). 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 are increasingly available, papyrus is still used as fuel.(Maclean 2003c).
Collections of papyri
- Amherst Papyri — This is a collection of Lord Amherst of Hackey. It includes biblical manuscripts, early church fragments, and classical documents from the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Byzantine eras. The collection was edited by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt in 1900–1901. It is housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York).
- Bodmer Papyri — This collection was purchased by Martin Bodmer in 1955–1956. Currently it is housed in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny. It includes Greek and Coptic documents, classical texts, biblical books, and writing of the early churches.
- Chester Beatty Papyri — collection of 11 codices acquired by Alfred Chester Beatty in 1930–1931 and 1935. It is housed at the Chester Beatty Library. The collection was edited by Frederic G. Kenyon.
- Colt Papyri — it is housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York).
- Egerton Papyrus 2 — it is housed at the British Museum
- Martin Schøyen Collection — biblical manuscripts in Greek and Coptic, Dead Sea Scrolls, classical documents
- 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. The publication of these papyri is still in progress.
- Princeton Papyri — it is housed at the Princeton University
- Rylands Papyri — this collection contains above 700 papyri, with 31 ostraca and 54 codices. It is housed at the John Rylands University Library
- Washington University Papyri Collection — includes 445 manuscript fragments, dating from the first century BC to the eighth century AD. Housed at Washington University Libraries.
- 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.
- Pliny the Elder
- Papyrus sanitary pad
- For Egyptian papyri:
- Other papyri:
- The papyrus plant in Egyptian art
Other ancient writing materials:
- Palm leaf manuscript India
- Amate Mesoamerica
- Paper invented in Han Dynasty China
- Wax tablets
- Clay tablets
- Birch bark document
- Langdon, S. 2000. Papyrus and its Uses in Modern Day Russia, Vol. 1, pp. 56–59.
- 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.
- How Papyrus Paper is being made
- Horst Blanck: Das Buch in der Antike. Beck, München 1992, ISBN 3-406-36686-4
- Rosemarie Drenkhahn: Papyrus. In: Wolfgang Helck, Wolfhart Westendorf (Hrsg.): Lexikon der Ägyptologie. Bd. IV, Wiesbaden 1982, Spalte 667-670
- David Diringer, The Book before Printing: Ancient, Medieval and Oriental, Dover Publications, New York 1982, pp. 113–169, ISBN 0-486-24243-9.
- Victor Martin (Hrsg.): Ménandre. Le Dyscolos. Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, Cologny- Genève 1958
- Otto Mazal: Griechisch-römische Antike. Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, Graz 1999, ISBN 3-201-01716-7 (Geschichte der Buchkultur; Bd. 1)
- Leuven Homepage of Papyrus Collections
- Complete List of Greek NT Papyri
- Ancient Egyptian Papyrus - Aldokkan
- Yale Papyrus Collection Database at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
- Lund University Library Papyrus Collection