Pliny the Elder – Cyprus Grass
The ancient Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder writes here generally about Cyprus grass of which the paper or ‘papyrus’ is made. He lived in the first yr. AD. and died during the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeii. Here is his report on Cyprus grass …
Gaius Plinius Secundus Maior Historia naturalis XIII, 21
Until now we have left the swamp and water plants untouched, but before we depart Egypt we want to talk about the properties of papyrus since human culture and education is closely related particularly to the use of paper.
Also this has been found to Marcus Varro by the triumph of Alexander the Great in the founding of Alexandria in Egypt. Previously, the paper was not in use.
At first they wrote on palm leaves, then on the bast of certain trees, and later began to carve public Memoirs on lead plates, then for the private use on sheets of linen or on wax tablets. The use of whiteboards was in fact known as we find in Homer, before the Trojan War. But when he wrote this Egypt, as a country was not even developed yet to its full extent and the papyrus that grows in the “gebennitisch and gaitischen Romo” was only stranded by the Nile.
But according to him this island was the land of the Pharos, which is now connected by a bridge to Alexandria that is a day and night trip away with sailing ships.
But since jealousy arose between the kings Ptolemaois and Eumenes concerning the libraries Ptolemy banned the trade in paper and in the same Varro was reported about the Pergamum and therefore the parchment was invented.
Later, the use of one or the other whereupon human immortality was based on the same free choice.
Further reading material about ancient papyri can also be found in the Papyrus Blog
Soon there will be more from ancient sources about Cyprus grass and papyrus…
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