PAPYRUS: The Predecessor to Paper

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How Many Greek New Testament Papyri Manuscripts Do We Have and How Early Are They?

There is likely a passing thought today, as to the availability of paper and notebooks. In fact, because of technology, the need for paper has decreased to the extreme. However, this has not always been the case. It might be difficult to perceive, but prior to paper, things that received writing were stone, clay, potsherds, metals, wood, bark, leaves, leather, papyrus, vellum (calfskin), and parchment (sheepskin). Potsherds (pieces of broken pottery found in garbage dumps), are often referred to as the ‘poor man’s paper.’ Known as ostraca, they were used then, much like what we would use a piece of scrap paper today, and they are a great benefit to archaeologists.

Papyrus (P. BM EA 10591 recto column IX, beginning of lines 13–17)

Papyrus is a writing material made from the water plant by the same name, which name means “product of the river.” Papyrus (/pəˈpaɪrəs/ pə-PYE-rəs) 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 papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus,[1] a wetland sedge. Papyrus (plural: papyri) can also refer to a document written on sheets of such material, joined together side by side and rolled up into a scroll, an early form of a book. Papyrus is writing material used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans that was made from the pith of the stem of a water plant. It had a root the size of a man’s wrist that grew along the bottom of the shallow waters of the Nile, in about three feet of water, and sent up shoots that grew six or more feet high. It was cut in strips, with one layer being laid out horizontally and the other vertically. Scholarship has suggested that paste may have been used between layers as a type of adhesive, placing a large stone placed on top until dry, creating a sheet of papyrus paper between 6–9 inches in width and 12–15 inches long. These sheets would then be glued from end to end until they had enough length to copy the book they were working on. Writing was done only on the horizontal side and it was rolled so that the writing would be on the inside. As you can visualize, there would be great difficulty, if one were to attempt writing across the vertical side because of the fibers of the papyrus. The scribe or copyist would have used a reed pen[2] to write on the papyrus sheets. (3 John 13) The papyrus plant was the main product used to receive writing until about 300 C.E. It was used with the roll,[3] as well as the codex form.[4] Papyrus is possibly the longest used writing material, with the oldest known fragment dating to about 2400 B.C.E., and the use of it coming to almost an end around 600 C.E., some 3000 years of use. However, some up until the 20th century were still producing it.

An official letter on a papyrus of the 3rd century BCE

Papyrus is first known to have been used in Egypt (at least as far back as the First Dynasty), as the papyrus plant was once abundant across the Nile Delta. It was also used throughout the Mediterranean region and in the Kingdom of Kush. Apart from a writing material, ancient Egyptians employed papyrus in the construction of other artifacts, such as reed boats, mats, rope, sandals, and baskets.[5]

THE UNKNOWN GOSPEL: Egerton Papyrus 2

The papyrus plant served the Egyptians in many ways, as they used it for fuel, for making boats, sails, rope, mats, and sandals. As any Bible reader will be able to tell, the baby Moses was taken by the Pharaoh’s daughter out of a basket made of papyrus reeds, which was floating in the Nile River. Papyrus was the primary manufactured product in Egypt for some time. Ex 2:3; Isa 18:2

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

The soft center or pith was used to receive the writing. The Greeks called it biblos, the name that was given to scrolls or rolls of papyrus, which brought us the name Bible. “During the 1st millennium BC Byblos was the intermediary in an extensive papyrus trade from Egypt to the Greek world. This is reflected in the Greek name for the city, Byblos, which in Greek also meant papyrus.”[6] Gal 3:10; 2 Tim 4:13

 

A papyrus sheet as to height and width could vary dramatically. Generally, the size ran from 6 by 9 inches to 12 by 15 inches. Usually, twenty sheets were pasted together to make up a scroll, with the best sheets being placed on the ends, as they would receive the most wear. It would then be fastened to a stick. A roll could average from about 14 to 20 feet in length, with very few every going over 30 feet. However, some documents of the state could reach great lengths, one being discovered that is 133 feet long. There was even a saying, “A great book, a great evil.”

Papyrus Fouad 266 Is a Greek Septuagint Copy of the Pentateuch

The colophon is publication details at the end of a manuscript: the details of the title, summary of the content, a statement concerning its production, and publication date. At the beginning of the 2nd century C.E., the papyrus scroll was being gradually replaced by the papyrus booklike manuscript, known as the codex. In concert with this, soon thereafter, the parchment codex gradually replaced the papyrus codex in the 4th century C.E. Ezek 2:10; Rev. 5:1

A typical four-leaf quire can be formed from a single sheet of papyrus, parchment, or paper by folding and then cutting the sheet.

There is no doubt that all our early extant papyrus manuscripts were copied with a reed pen, which writing has the potential to be impressive and pleasing to the eye. It was moistened to make the tip soft. As to the ink, this was produced by mixing gum soot and water. The columns of writing were generally two to four inches wide. The papyrus scrolls were stored in a cylinder-shaped case or chest known as a capsa.

A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus

The History of Papyrus

Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt as far back as the fourth millennium BCE.[7] The earliest archaeological evidence of papyrus was excavated in 2012 and 2013 at Wadi al-Jarf,[8] an ancient Egyptian harbor located on the Red Sea coast. These documents, the Diary of Merer, date from c. 2560–2550 BCE (end of the reign of Khufu).[9] The papyrus rolls describe the last years of building the Great Pyramid of Giza.[10] In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus scrolls[11] gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of parchment, which was prepared from animal skins.[12] Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from which book-form codices were fashioned. Early Christian writers[13] soon adopted the codex form, and in the Græco-Roman world, it became common to cut sheets from papyrus rolls to form codices.

Roman portraiture fresco of a young man with a papyrus scroll, from Herculaneum, 1st century AD

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.

THE NASH PAPYRUS: The Hebrew Manuscript

Papyrus was replaced in Europe by the cheaper, locally produced products parchment[14] and vellum,[15] of significantly higher durability in moist climates, though Henri Pirenne‘s[16] connection of its disappearance with the Muslim conquest of Egypt is contested.[17] Its last appearance in the Merovingian[18] chancery is with a document of 692, though it was known in Gaul[19] 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,[20] and 1087 for an Arabic document. Its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by less expensive paper introduced by the Islamic world who originally learned of it from the Chinese. By the 12th century, parchment and paper were in use in the Byzantine Empire,[21] but papyrus was still an option.[22]

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

Papyrus was made in several qualities and prices. Pliny the Elder[23] and Isidore of Seville[24] described six variations of papyrus that 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.[25]

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

Until the middle of the 19th century, only some isolated documents written on papyrus were known, and museums simply showed them as curiosities.[26] They did not contain literary works.[27] The first modern discovery of papyri rolls was made at Herculaneum[28] in 1752. Until then, the only papyri known had been a few surviving from medieval times.[29] Scholarly investigations began with the Dutch historian Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens[30] (1793–1835). He wrote about the content of the Leyden papyrus,[31] published in 1830. The first publication has been credited to the British scholar Charles Wycliffe Goodwin[32] (1817–1878), who published for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society,[33] one of the Papyri Graecae Magicae[34] V, translated into English with commentary in 1853.[35]

Documents Written on Papyrus

Bill of sale for a donkey, papyrus; 19.3 by 7.2 cm, MS Gr SM2223, Houghton Library, Harvard University

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.”[36] 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,[37] the Egyptian Book of the Dead,[38] Egyptian treatises on medicine (the Ebers Papyrus[39]), and on surgery (the Edwin Smith papyrus[40]), Egyptian mathematical treatises (the Rhind papyrus[41]), and Egyptian folk tales (the Westcar papyrus). When, in the 18th century, a library of ancient papyri was found in 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.

Men splitting papyrus, Tomb of Puyemré; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Manufacture and Use

Papyrus is made from the stem of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus.[42] The outer rind is first removed, and the sticky fibrous inner pith[43] is cut lengthwise into thin strips of about 40 cm (16 in) 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[44] to begin, perhaps increasing adhesion, but this is not certain. The two layers possibly were glued together.[45] 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.[46]

The Scribe and Correctors of P66 (Papyrus 66)

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

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.[47] To form the long strip scrolls required, a number of such sheets were united, placed so all the horizontal fibers parallel with the roll’s length were on one side and all the vertical fibers on the other. Normally, texts were first written on the recto,[48] the lines following the fibers, parallel to the long edges of the scroll. Secondarily, papyrus was often reused, writing across the fibers on the verso.[49] Pliny the Elder[50] describes the methods of preparing papyrus in his Naturalis Historia.[51]

Different ways of cutting papyrus stem and the making of papyrus sheet

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[52] 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.[53] 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 and Italy has since deteriorated beyond repair, but papyri are still being found in Egypt; extraordinary examples include the Elephantine papyri[54] and the famous finds at Oxyrhynchus[55] and Nag Hammadi.[56] The Villa of the Papyri[57] at Herculaneum,[58] containing the library of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, Julius Caesar‘s[59] father-in-law, was preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius,[60] but has only been partially excavated.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

Sporadic attempts to revive the manufacture of papyrus have been made since the mid-18th century. Scottish explorer James Bruce[61] experimented in the late 18th century with papyrus plants from the Sudan, for papyrus had become extinct in Egypt. Also, in the 18th century, Sicilian Saverio Landolina manufactured papyrus at Syracuse, where papyrus plants had continued to grow in the wild. During the 1920s, when Egyptologist Battiscombe Gunn[62] lived in Maadi,[63] 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 in Cairo.[64] 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.

The Heracles Papyrus

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.[65] 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.[66] Papyrus is also used to make roofs, ceilings, rope and fences. Although alternatives, such as eucalyptus,[67] are increasingly available, papyrus is still used as fuel.[68]

by Wikipedia and Edward D. Andrews

Textual Character and the Scribe of P75 (Papyrus 75)

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[1] Cyperus papyruspapyruspapyrus sedgepaper reedIndian matting plant or Nile grass, is a species of aquatic flowering plant belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a tender herbaceous perennial, native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water.

[2] The reed pen was used with ink to write on papyrus or parchment manuscripts. Kalamos is the Greek word for “pen.” (2 John 12; 3 John 13)

[3] A scroll is a roll of paper, parchment, leather, or other material, used for a written document, or a document written on such a roll.

[4] A codex is an ancient manuscript text, especially of the Biblical Scriptures, in book form.

[5] “Ebers Papyrus”Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 March 2014.

[6] Avraham Negev, The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, 3rd ed. (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1996).

[7] Houston, Keith, The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of our Time, W. W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp.4-8

Tallet, Pierre (2012). “Ayn Sukhna and Wadi el-Jarf: Two newly discovered pharaonic harbours on the Suez Gulf” (PDF). British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan18: 147–68. 

  1. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935. “Papyrus and its uses” (British Museum pamphlet). Archived 18 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine

[8] Wadi al-Jarf is the present name for an area on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, 119 km (74 mi) 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 of the Wadi Araba, a major communication corridor between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea, crossing the Eastern Desert. The site is across the Gulf of Suez from the small Sinai fortress of Tell Ras Budran. A somewhat similar ancient port is at Ain Sukhna, a little north of Wadi al-Jarf.

[9] Tallet, Pierre (2012). “Ayn Sukhna and Wadi el-Jarf: Two newly discovered pharaonic harbours on the Suez Gulf” (PDF). British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan18: 147–68.

[10] Stille, Alexander. “The World’s Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us About the Great Pyramids”. Retrieved 27 September 2015.

[11]scroll, also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus, parchment, or paper containing writing.

[12] Stille, Alexander. “The World’s Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us About the Great Pyramids”. Friday, March 5, 2021.

[13] Various Early Christian writers wrote gospels and other books, some of which were canonized as the New Testament canon developed. The Apostolic Fathers were prominent writers who are traditionally understood to have met and learned from Jesus’ personal disciples. The Church Fathers are later writers with no direct connection to the disciples. Apologists defended Christianity against its critics, especially Greek and Roman philosophers. Dates given, if not otherwise specified, are of their writings or bishopric, not of their lives.

[14] Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia. Vellum is a finer quality parchment made from the skins of young animals such as lambs and young calves.

Vellum is prepared animal skin or “membrane”, typically used as a material for writing on. Parchment is another term for this material, and if vellum is distinguished from this, it is by vellum being made from calfskin, as opposed to that from other animals, or otherwise being of higher quality. Vellum is prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. The word is borrowed from Old French vélin ‘calfskin’, from the Latin word vitulinum ‘made from calf’.

[16] Henri Pirenne was a Belgian historian. A medievalist of Walloon descent, he wrote a multivolume history of Belgium in French and became a prominent public intellectual. Pirenne made lasting contribution to the study of cities that was a controversial interpretation of the end of Roman civilization and the rebirth of medieval urban culture. He also became prominent in the nonviolent resistance to the Germans who occupied Belgium in World War I.

[17] Pirenne, Mohammed and Charlemagne, critiqued by R.S. Lopez, “Mohammed and Charlemagne: a revision”, Speculum (1943:14–38.).

[18] The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as “Kings of the Franks” in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the breaking up of the empire of Theoderic the Great.

[19] Gaul was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, particularly the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.

[20] David Diringer, The Book before Printing: Ancient, Medieval and Oriental, Dover Publications, New York 1982, p. 166.

Pope Victor II, born Gebhard of Dollnstein-Hirschberg, was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 April 1055 until his death in 1057. Victor II was one of a series of German-born popes who led Gregorian Reform.

[21] The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe.

[22] 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. 

[23] Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of emperor Vespasian. He wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias. He spent most of his spare time studying, writing, and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field.

[24] Isidore of Seville was a Spanish scholar and cleric. For over three decades, he was Archbishop of Seville. He is widely regarded, in the words of 19th-century historian Montalembert, as “the last scholar of the ancient world.”

 

[25] Lewis, N (1983). “Papyrus and Ancient Writing: The First Hundred Years of Papyrology”. Archaeology36 (4): 31–37.

[26] Hans Dieter Betz (1992). The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, Volume 1

[27] Frederic G. Kenyon, Palaeography of Greek papyri (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1899), p. 1.

[28] Herculaneum was an ancient town, located in the modern-day comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. The city was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

[29] Frederic G. Kenyon, Palaeography of Greek papyri (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1899), p. 3.

Diringer, David (1982). The Book Before Printing: Ancient, Medieval and Oriental. New York: Dover Publications. pp. 250–256.

[30] Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens was a Dutch historian and archaeologist. He was the founding director of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, the world’s first ever professor of archaeology, and conducted the first excavations at the Roman provincial site Forum Hadriani in the Netherlands.

[31] The Leyden papyrus X is a papyrus codex written in Greek at about the end of the 3rd century A.D. or perhaps around 250 A.D. and buried with its owner, and today preserved at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

[32] 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.

[33] The Cambridge Antiquarian Society is a society dedicated to study and preservation of the archaeology, history, and architecture of Cambridgeshire, England.

[34] The Greek Magical Papyri is the name given by scholars to a body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, written mostly in ancient Greek, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns, and rituals. The materials in the papyri date from the 100s BCE to the 400s CE. The manuscripts came to light through the antiquities trade, from the 1700s onward. One of the best known of these texts is the Mithras Liturgy.

[35] Hans Dieter Betz (1992). The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, Volume 1.

[36] Papyrus Harris I is also known as the Great Harris Papyrus and simply the Harris Papyrus. Its technical designation is Papyrus British Museum EA 9999. At 41 metres long, it is “the longest known papyrus from Egypt, with some 1,500 lines of text.” It was found in a tomb near Medinet Habu, across the Nile river from Luxor, Egypt, and purchased by collector Anthony Charles Harris (1790–1869) in 1855; it entered the collection of the British Museum in 1872.

[37] Menander was a Greek dramatist and the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy. He wrote 108 comedies and took the prize at the Lenaia festival eight times. His record at the City Dionysia is unknown but may well have been similarly spectacular.

[38] The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text generally written on papyrus and used from the beginning of the New Kingdom to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw, is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day or Book of Emerging Forth into the Light. “Book” is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1,000 years.

[39] The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an 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 in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers. It is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany.

[40] 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 on trauma. This document, which may have been a manual of military surgery, describes 48 cases of injuries, fractures, wounds, dislocations and tumors. It dates to Dynasties 16–17 of the Second Intermediate Period in ancient Egypt, c. 1600 BCE. The papyrus is unique among the four principal medical papyri in existence that survive today. While other papyri, such as the Ebers Papyrus and London Medical Papyrus, are medical texts based in magic, the Edwin Smith Papyrus presents a rational and scientific approach to medicine in ancient Egypt, in which medicine and magic do not conflict. Magic would be more prevalent had the cases of illness been mysterious, such as internal disease.

[41] The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is one of the best known examples of ancient Egyptian mathematics. It is named after Alexander Henry Rhind, a Scottish antiquarian, who purchased the papyrus in 1858 in Luxor, Egypt; it was apparently found during illegal excavations in or near the Ramesseum. It dates to around 1550 BC. The British Museum, where the majority of the papyrus is now kept, acquired it in 1865 along with the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll, also owned by Henry Rhind; there are a few small fragments held by the Brooklyn Museum in New York City and an 18 cm central section is missing. It is one of the two well-known Mathematical Papyri along with the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus. The Rhind Papyrus is larger than the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus, while the latter is older.

 

[42] Cyperus papyruspapyruspapyrus sedgepaper reedIndian matting plant or Nile grass, is a species of aquatic flowering plant belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a tender herbaceous perennial, native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water.

[43] Pith, or medulla, is a tissue in the stems of vascular plants. Pith is composed of soft, spongy parenchyma cells, which store and transport nutrients throughout the plant. In eudicotyledons, pith is located in the center of the stem. In monocotyledons, it extends also into flowering stems and roots. The pith is encircled by a ring of xylem; the xylem, in turn, is encircled by a ring of phloem.

[44] Decomposition is the process by which dead organic substances are broken down into simpler organic or inorganic matter such as carbon dioxide, water, simple sugars and mineral salts. The process is a part of the nutrient cycle and is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biosphere. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Animals, such as worms, also help decompose the organic materials. Organisms that do this are known as decomposers. Although no two organisms decompose in the same way, they all undergo the same sequential stages of decomposition. The science which studies decomposition is generally referred to as taphonomy from the Greek word taphos, meaning tomb. Decomposition can also be a gradual process for organisms that have extended periods of dormancy.

[45] Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography, Maunde Thompson. archive.org

[46] Bierbrier, Morris Leonard, ed. 1986. Papyrus: Structure and Usage. British Museum Occasional Papers 60, ser. ed. Anne Marriott. London: British Museum Press.

[47] Lyons, Martyn (2011). Books: A Living History. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications. p. 21.

[48] 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, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet.

[49] 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, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet.

  1. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935. “Papyrus and its uses”(British Museumpamphlet). Archived 18 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine

[50] Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of emperor Vespasian. He wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias. He spent most of his spare time studying, writing, and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field.

[51] The Natural History is a work by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover all ancient knowledge. The work’s subject area is thus not limited to what is today understood by natural history; Pliny himself defines his scope as “the natural world, or life”. It is encyclopedic in scope, but its structure is not like that of a modern encyclopedia. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived, and the last that he published. He published the first 10 books in AD 77 but had not made a final revision of the remainder at the time of his death during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius. The rest was published posthumously by Pliny’s nephew, Pliny the Younger.

[52]mold or mould is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. In contrast, fungi that can adopt a single-celled growth habit are called yeasts.

[53] Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. New York, NY: Skyhorse. pp. 10–12

[54] The Elephantine Papyri consist of 175 documents from the Egyptian border fortresses of Elephantine and Aswan, which yielded hundreds of papyri in hieratic and demotic Egyptian, Aramaic, Koine Greek, Latin and Coptic, spanning a period of 100 years. The documents include letters and legal contracts from family and other archives and are thus an invaluable source of knowledge for scholars of varied disciplines such as epistolography, law, society, religion, language and onomastics. They are a collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts dating from the 5th century BCE. They come from a Jewish community at Elephantine, then called bw. The dry soil of Upper Egypt preserved the documents.

[55] Oxyrhynchus is a city in Middle Egypt located about 160 km south-southwest of Cairo in Minya Governorate. It is also an archaeological site, considered one of the most important ever discovered. Since the late 19th century, the area around Oxyrhynchus has been excavated almost continually, yielding an enormous collection of papyrus texts dating from the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt. Among the texts discovered at Oxyrhynchus are plays of Menander, fragments from the Gospel of Thomas, and fragments from Euclid’s Elements. They also include a few vellum manuscripts, and more recent Arabic manuscripts on paper.

[56] Nag Hammadi is a city in Upper Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile in the Qena Governorate, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north-west of Luxor. It had a population of close to 43,000 as of 2007.

[57] The Villa of the Papyri was an ancient Roman villa in Herculaneum, in what is now Ercolano, southern Italy. It is named after its unique library of papyri, discovered in 1750. The Villa was considered to be one of the most luxurious houses in all of Herculaneum and in the Roman world. Its luxury is shown by its exquisite architecture and by the very large number of outstanding works of art discovered, including frescoes, bronzes and marble sculpture which constitute the largest collection of Greek and Roman sculptures ever discovered in a single context.

[58] Herculaneum was an ancient town, located in the modern-day comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. The city was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

[59] Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

[60] Mount Vesuvius is a somma-stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy, about 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

[61] James Bruce of Kinnaird was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Ethiopia, where he was the first European to trace the origins of the Blue Nile.

[62] Battiscombe George “Jack” Gunn, was an English Egyptologist and philologist. He published his first translation from Egyptian in 1906. He translated inscriptions for many important excavations and sites, including Fayum, Saqqara, Amarna, Giza and Luxor. He was curator at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and at the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1934 he was appointed Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, a chair he held until his death in 1950.

[63] Maadi is a leafy suburban district south of Cairo, Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile about 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) upriver from downtown Cairo. The Nile at Maadi is parallelled by the Corniche, a waterfront promenade and the main road north into Cairo. There is no bridge across the Nile at Maadi; the nearest one is located at El Mounib along the Ring Road on the way north to the downtown.

[64] Cerny, Jaroslav (1947). Paper and books in Ancient Egypt. London: H. K. Lewis & Co. Ltd.

Lucas, A. (1934). Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 2nd Ed. London: Edward Arnold and Co.

[65] 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.

[66] Langdon, S. 2000. Papyrus and its Uses in Modern Day Russia, Vol. 1, pp. 56–59.

[67] Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, including Corymbia, they are commonly known as eucalypts. Plants in the genus Eucalyptus have bark that is either smooth, fibrous, hard or stringy, leaves with oil glands, and sepals and petals that are fused to form a “cap” or operculum over the stamens. The fruit is a woody capsule commonly referred to as a “gumnut.”

[68] 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.

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