When we talk about roll manuscripts from the Greek and Roman periods (from the 4th century BC to the 4th century AD), we are generally referring to papyrus rolls (no. 16). Sheets of papyrus, which were made from thin overlaid strips that were pressed and dried in the sun, were joined laterally to form rolls. The text was written without any word division as the contents were generally read aloud—the most common practice in the ancient world, as opposed to silent reading—and it was arranged in columns. Once the text was written, the material would either be wound around rods or rolled up around the initial section, which was tightly coiled and glued. To read the text, one would hold the roll in his right hand, using his left to unwind it and simultaneously rewind the part that had already been read. When the reader was done, the roll would be completely wound in his left hand, so that to read it again he had to unwind and then rewind it to return to the beginning of the work.
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