- Ancient writing materials
The oldest extant manuscript books, datable to the late 4th century BC, are rolls (volumina) made of papyrus, a type of writing material made from the papyrus plant (nos. 8-15) and introduced to Greece from Egypt very early. Before papyrus was adopted in Greece as the common writing medium for rolls, however, it seems that literary works were written—generally by incising—on hard or heavy materials such as strips of leather, slate, lead sheets (no. 7), wax tablets (nos. 5-6) and ostraca, or potsherds (nos. 1-4). Of all these materials, only lead sheets, wax tablets and ostraca continued to be used well after the archaic period, albeit for different purposes: sheets for esoteric and occult writings, tablets for sporadic and provisional texts or documents, and ostraca for schoolwork and other incidental uses.
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