Starting in the late 1st century AD, rolls were slowly supplanted by a new form of manuscript, the codex, which originated in Rome and the Roman world, and was modelled after tablets assembled to form polyptychs. The new codex book form arose when tablets were replaced by sheets of parchment (nos. 18, 20) or papyrus (nos. 17, 19). The codex offered various advantages that ensured its success. For example, it saved writing material, as the codex was written on both sides of the leaf; it was easy to use, as it could be held and read with just one hand or could be set on a bookrest; it had a larger capacity, as the codex could hold a much longer text than a roll; and its layout facilitated reading and consultation, and made it easier to find or reread certain passages. The codex manuscript spread throughout the Graeco-Roman world between the late 1st and the 4th centuries, and by the end of the 4th century it had largely replaced the roll.
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