Papyrus, Cyperus papyrus
, Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
, Ebers papyrus
, Milan Papyrus
, Magdalen papyrus
, Papyrus 46
, Romance Papyrus
, Heracles Papyrus
is an early form of paper
made from the pith
of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus
, a wetland sedge
that grows to 5 meters (15 ft) in height and was once abundant in the Nile Delta
. Papyrus is first known to have been used in ancient Egypt
(at least as far back as the First dynasty
), but it was also widely used throughout the Mediterranean
region, as well as inland parts of Europe
and south-west Asia
derives, via Latin
, from Greek
. It is interesting to note that 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 BC
, 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. This latter usage finds its way into English in such words as bibliography
, and bible
is also the etymon of "paper", a similar substance.
It is often claimed
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
. Thus in reality, Greek papyros
has no known relation to any Egyptian word or phrase.thumb|right|200px|Papyrus plant Cyperus papyrus at Kew Gardens, London
Manufacture and Use
A sheet of 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 40 cm 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. 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. Also they made shoes out of papyrus.
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, 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 http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Egerton/BellSkeat2.html
.thumb|left|300px|A section of the Egyptian [Book of the Dead
written on papyrus]
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 mold
s attacking and eventually destroying the material. Imported papyrus that was once commonplace in Greece
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
and Nag Hammadi
. The Villa of the Papyri
, 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.
In the first centuries BC and AD Papyrus scroll
s 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 in order to form codices.
By 800 AD the use of parchment
had replaced papyrus in many areas, though its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by more inexpensive paper introduced by Arabs
. The reasons for this switch include the significantly higher durability of the hide-derived materials, particularly in moist climates, and the fact that they can be manufactured anywhere. The latest certain dates for the use of papyrus are 1057 for a papal decree and 1087 for an Arabic document. Papyrus was used as late as the 1100s in the Byzantine Empire
, but there are no known surviving examples.
There have been sporadic attempts to revive the http://www.horuspapyrus.com/ManufacturingPapyrus.html manufacture of papyrus
during the past 250 years. The Scottish
explorer James Bruce
experimented in the late eighteenth century
with papyrus plants from the Sudan
, for papyrus had become extinct in Egypt. Also in the eighteenth 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 continue to have centres of limited papyrus production.
*http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Egerton/BellSkeat2.html H. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935. "Papyrus and its uses"
*Bierbrier, Morris Leonard, ed. 1986. Papyrus: Structure and Usage
. British Museum Occasional Papers 60, ser. ed. Anne Marriott. London: British Museum Press.
*Černý, Jaroslav. 1952. Paper and Books in Aancient Egypt: An Inaugural Lecture Delivered at University College London, 29 May 1947
. London: H. K. Lewis. (Reprinted Chicago: Ares Publishers inc., 1977).
*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.
*Papyrus sanitary pad
*For Egyptian papyri:
, and Edwin Smith papyrus
; (Topics: medical)
**Moscow Mathematical Papyrus
**Papyrus Harris I
**Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
**Turin King List
**Turin Papyrus Map
**Nag Hammadi library
**Greek Magical Papyri
*The papyrus plant in Egyptian art
*http://lhpc.arts.kuleuven.ac.be/index.html Leuven Homepage of Papyrus Collections
*http://www.papyrusinstitute.com/asp/Index.asp Papyrus Institute
: Homepage of the company founded by Dr. Hassan Ragab.
* http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/texte/Papyri-list.html Complete List of Greek NT Papyri
*http://www.horuspapyrus.com/ManufacturingPapyrus.html How to make Egyptian Papyrus
: Learn how Egyptian papyrus is made (with links to images)Category:Ancient Egyptian literatureCategory:Egyptian artefact typesCategory:ManuscriptsCategory:Materialsaf:Papirusar:ورق البرديcs:Papyrusda:Papyrusde:Papyrus (Schreibmaterial)es:Papiroeo:Papirusofr:Papyrus (papier)gl:Papirohr:Papirusko:파피루스id:Papirusit:Papirohe:פפירוסlb:Papyrus (Material)nl:Papyrusja:パピルスno:Papyruspl:Papiruspt:Papiroru:Папирусsr:Папирусfi:Papyrussv:Papyrustr:Papiruszh:莎草纸