In ancient times, books were often written on materials like papyrus, parchment, and vellum.
Papyrus was a writing material made from the pith of the papyrus plant, which was commonly found in ancient Egypt. The pith was cut into thin strips and laid out in overlapping layers, then pressed and dried to create a smooth surface for writing. Papyrus was cheap and widely available, so it was often used for everyday documents like letters and receipts. However, it was not very durable and would quickly deteriorate if not stored carefully.
Parchment is a writing material made from animal skin, usually from cows, sheep, or goats. The skin was prepared by soaking it in water and lime, then stretching it on a frame and scraping it to remove any remaining flesh and hair. Parchment was more durable than papyrus and could be reused, making it a popular choice for documents that needed to last a long time, such as legal contracts and deeds.
Vellum is a finer quality parchment made from the skin of a calf, lamb, or kid. It is smoother and more flexible than regular parchment and was often used for important documents and books.
Books written on these materials were often hand-copied by scribes and were expensive to produce, so they were usually reserved for religious texts, legal documents, and other important works. Do you have any other questions about the materials used for writing in ancient times?