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Papyrus plant growing in a garden, Australia
Papyrus plant growing in a garden, Australia

Papyrus is an early form of thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt. Papyrus usually grows 2–3 meters (5–9 feet) tall, although some have reached as high as 5 meters (15 feet). 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 southwest Asia. Look up papyrus in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1600x1067, 295 KB) Papyrus plant growing in a garden, Australia If you are a (commercial) publisher and you want me to write you an email or paper mail giving you an authorization to use my works in your products or a... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1600x1067, 295 KB) Papyrus plant growing in a garden, Australia If you are a (commercial) publisher and you want me to write you an email or paper mail giving you an authorization to use my works in your products or a... For other uses, see Paper (disambiguation). ... The centre dark spot (about 1 mm diameter) in this yew wood is the pith Elderberry shoot cut longitudinally to show the broad, solid pith (rough-textured, white) inside the wood (smooth, yellow-tinged). ... Binomial name Cyperus papyrus L. Papyrus sedge, also known as Bulrush or Paper reed (Cyperus papyrus) is a monocot belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. ... Genera See text The Family Cyperaceae, or the Sedge family, is a taxon of monocot flowering plants that superficially resemble grasses or rushes. ... NASA satellite photograph of the Nile Delta (shown in false colour) The Nile Delta (Arabic:دلتا النيل) is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. ... Khafres Pyramid (4th dynasty) and Great Sphinx of Giza (c. ... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the First Dynasty. ... The Mediterranean region is one of the most important in world history and it is the origin point of Western Civilization. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Asia (disambiguation). ...



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 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, bibliophile, and bible. Papyrus is also the etymon of paper, a similar substance. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Phoenicia (or Phenicia ,[1] from Biblical Phenice [1]) was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon & Syria [2] Phoenician civilization was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC, between... The ruins of the Crusader castle in Byblos. ... Theophrastus (Greek Θεόφραστος, 370 — about 285 BC), a native of Eressos in Lesbos, was the successor of Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. ... The 4th century BC started the first day of 400 BC and ended the last day of 301 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period. ...

The plural of papyrus is papyri.

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. Folk etymology is a term used in two distinct ways: A commonly held misunderstanding of the origin of a particular word, a false etymology. ... Pr is the hieroglyph for house, the floor-plan of a walled building with an open doorway. ... Pharaoh was the ancient Egyptian name for the office of kingship. ... Spoken in: Ancient Egypt Language extinction: evolved into Demotic by 600 BC, into Coptic by AD 200, and was extinct by the 17th century Language family: Afro-Asiatic  Egyptian  Writing system: hieroglyphs, cursive hieroglyphs, hieratic, and demotic (later, occasionally Arabic script in government translations) Language codes ISO 639-1: none...

Papyrus plant Cyperus papyrus at Kew Gardens, London

ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1712x2288, 564 KB) Papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus) at Kew Gardens, London, England. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1712x2288, 564 KB) Papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus) at Kew Gardens, London, England. ...

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. The centre dark spot (about 1 mm diameter) in this yew wood is the pith Elderberry shoot cut longitudinally to show the broad, solid pith (rough-textured, white) inside the wood (smooth, yellow-tinged). ... “Spoilage” redirects here. ...

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 [1]. The recto of a broadsheet, pamphlet or any printed document is the side that is meant to be read first or the right-hand page of a folded sheet. ... The verso of a broadsheet, pamphlet or any printed document is the side that is meant to be read second or the left-hand page of a folded sheet. ...

A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus
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 molds attacking and eventually 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. Image:Egypt. ... Image:Egypt. ... The Book of the Dead comd A Section of Plate 3 from the Papyrus of Ani. ... Cellulose as polymer of β-D-glucose Cellulose in 3D Cellulose (C6H10O5)n is a polysaccharide of beta-glucose. ... It has been suggested that Toxic mold be merged into this article or section. ... A Jewish community at Elephantine, the island in the Nile at the border of Nubia, was probably founded as a military installation in about 650 BCE during Manassehs reign to assist Pharaoh Psammetichus I in his Nubian campaign. ... Oxyrhynchus (Greek: Οξύρυγχος; sharp-nosed; ancient Egyptian Per-Medjed; modern Egyptian Arabic el-Bahnasa) is an archaeological site in Egypt, considered one of the most important ever discovered. ... The town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt Nag Hammâdi (Arabic نجع حمادي; transliterated: Naj Hammādi) (26°03′N 32°15′E), is a town in the middle of Egypt, called Chenoboskion in classical antiquity, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor with some 30,000 citizens. ... The Villa of the Papyri is a private house of ancient Roman city of Herculaneum (current commune of Ercolano) owned by Julius Caesars father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus: its remains were first excavated in 1765 by Karl Weber. ... Herculaneum (in modern Italian Ercolano) is an ancient Roman town, located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano. ... Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus was a statesman of ancient Rome and the father-in-law of Gaius Julius Caesar. ... For other uses, see Julius Caesar (disambiguation). ... Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio, Latin: Mons Vesuvius) is a volcano east of Naples, Italy. ...

In the first centuries BC and AD, 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 in order to form codices. A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper which has been written upon. ... German parchmenter, 1568 Parchment is a material for the pages of a book or codex, made from fine calf skin, sheep skin or goat skin. ... First page of the Codex Argenteus A codex (Latin for block of wood, book; plural codices) is a handwritten book, in general, one produced from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. ...

Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll as the papyrus was not flexible enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required in order 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.

By 800 AD the use of parchment and vellum 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 (typically conservative, all papal "bulls" were on papyrus until 1022) 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. Although its uses had transferred to parchment, papyrus therefore just overlapped with the use of paper in Europe, which began in the 11th century. German parchmenter, 1568 Parchment is a material for the pages of a book or codex, made from fine calf skin, sheep skin or goat skin. ... Vellum (from the Old French Vélin, for calfskin[1]) is a sort of parchment, a material for the pages of a book or codex, characterized by its thin, smooth, durable properties. ... Languages Arabic other minority languages Religions Predominantly Sunni Islam, as well as Shia Islam, Greek Orthodoxy, Greek Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Alawite Islam, Druzism, Ibadi Islam, and Judaism Footnotes a Mainly in Antakya. ... Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ... For other uses, see Paper (disambiguation). ...

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 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. This article is about the country. ... James Bruce (December 14, 1730 – April 27, 1794) was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where he traced the Blue Nile. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Syracuse (Italian, Siracusa, ancient Syracusa - see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a city on the eastern coast of Sicily and the capital of the province of Syracuse, Italy. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

Papyrus is still much used by communities living in the vicinity of swamps for other reasons, to the extent that rural householders derive up to 75% of their income from swamp goods and are most important for the poorer sectors of society (Maclean et al. 2003b; c). Particularly in East and Central Africa, people harvest papyrus, which is used to manufacture handcrafts that are sold or used by makers themselves. Examples include baskets, hats, fish traps, trays or winnowing mats and floor mats. Papyrus is also used to make roofs, ceilings, rope and fences, or as fuel (Maclean 2003c). Although increasingly, alternative fuel sources, such as eucalyptus, are available, the use of papyrus as fuel is still practised by a minority of residents, particularly those without land or beverage makers. In western Kenya, other wetland plants associated with papyrus swamps are used as condiments or have medicinal purposes. Several fish are also extracted directly from papyrus swamps, particularly catfish, lungfish and in some areas, introduced Louisiana crayfish. Fish are the most important source of animal protein in African diets. Game such as sitatunga are also occasionally captured from swamps and are another important source of protein. The swamps are also a source of brick-making clay, an increasingly important resource given rapid population growth, urbanization and desire for better housing in Africa. natural range Species About 700; see the List of Eucalyptus species Eucalyptus (From Greek, ευκάλυπτος = Well covered) is a diverse genus of trees (and a few shrubs), the members of which dominate the tree flora of Australia. ... Binomial name Procambarus clarkii Girard, 1852 Procambarus clarkii is a freshwater crayfish species, native to the Southeastern United States, but found also on other continents, where it is often an invasive pest. ... Binomial name Tragelaphus spekeii Sclater, 1863 The sitatunga or marshbuck (Tragelaphus spekeii) is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout Central Africa centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Botswana and in Zambia. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...

See also

Other ancient writing materials: Papyrology is the study of ancient literature as preserved in manuscripts written on papyrus, the most common form of paper in the Egyptian, Greek and Roman worlds. ... A papyrus sanitary pad, or Makapad, is a sanitary napkin made from papyrus, a natural material. ... Ebers medical papyrus giving the treatment of cancer. ... Plates vi & vii of the Edwin Smith Papyrus at the Rare Book Room, New York Academy of Medicine The Edwin Smith papyrus is the worlds earliest known medical document, written around 1600 BC, but thought to be based on material from as early as 3000 BC. It is an... The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All[1] is an ancient Egyptian poem preserved in a single papyrus, Leiden Papyrus I 344, which is housed in the National Archeological Museum in Leiden, Netherlands. ... The Milan Papyrus is a papyrus scroll written in the 3rd century BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt. ... The Moscow and Rhind Mathematical Papyri are two of the oldest mathematical texts discovered. ... 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). ... The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus ( papyrus British Museum 10057 and pBM 10058), 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. ... The Turin King List also known as the Turin Royal Canon, is a unique papyrus, written in hieratic, currently in the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) at Turin, to which it owes its modern name. ... The Turin Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian map, generally considered the oldest surviving map of topographical interest from the ancient world. ... Westcar Papyrus is a document about Khufu, a 4th-Dynasty Egyptian leader, and contains a cycle of five stories about marvels performed by priests. ... A Jewish community at Elephantine, the island in the Nile at the border of Nubia, was probably founded as a military installation in about 650 BCE during Manassehs reign to assist Pharaoh Psammetichus I in his Nubian campaign. ... The Magdalen papyrus was purchased in Luxor, Egypt in 1901 by Rev Charles B. Huleatt (1863-1908), who identified the Greek fragments as portions of the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 26:23 and 31) and presented them to Magdalen College, Oxford, where they are cataloged as (Gregory-Aland P64) and... The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... The Greek Magical Papyri (papyri is plural of papyrus) (commonly abbreviated to PGM from the Latin title Papyri Graecae Magicae) is a collective term for a collection of texts, mostly in Ancient Greek, found on papyrus in the deserts of Egypt, which cast light in some way on the magico... An antefix in the form of a palmette As an illustration of the way in which the palmette motif was seen by 19th century architects and decorators, who in Europe, America and elsewhere in colonial cities created their own unending variations on the motif as a kind of hallmark of...

  • Palm leaf manuscript India
  • Amate Mesoamerica

Part of the Huexotzinco Codex, printed on amatl Amatl (from the Nahuatl paper) or Amate (Spanish) is a type of paper developed in Pre-Columbian Maya civilization. ...


  • H. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935. "Papyrus and its uses" (British Museum pamphlet).
  • 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).
  • 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.

The British Museum in London, England is one of the worlds greatest museums of human history and culture. ... is the 149th day of the year (150th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

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