Monday, June 14, 2021

Roman Writing Equipment


A. Willi, Manual of Everyday Roman Writing. Volume 2. Writing Equipment 

Here is a very useful little e-book with some nice illustrations. 




  1. It’s a fine book, clear, well illustrated and well documented with ancient texts. Though it’s about Roman writing, the emphasis on material aspects may be helpful to compare to the Moses Shapira leather strips. (I consider them a modern fake, though am also waiting to hear from Matthew Hamilton.) Even though they are missing we have a description by Shapira in a letter to H. Strack (9 May 1883) “The ink is nearly undestroyable, neither by rubbing, nor by washing with water or spirits,“ an unusual “thing in oriental manuscripts.” (Ross K. Nichols, The Moses Scroll, 2021, 35). Unusual ink. Generally, ink on skin was erased by scraping, compared to washing for ink on papyrus.

    Menahem Haran, Book-Scrolls at the Beginning of the Second Temple Period; Transition from Papyrus to Skins, HUCA 54 (1983) 111-122 proposed that a first temple period text would probably be on papyrus. (Murabba’at 17 is that old and is a papyrus palimpsest.) Robert Duke, Parchment or Papyrus: Wiping Out False Evidence, SJOT 2007 144-53 criticized Haran’s articles for not addressing writing on other surfaces, and warnings not to blot them out, yet agrees that first temple writing was more probable on papyrus than on skin.

    Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra in a June 10 webinar discussed codicology of concertina or leporello book forms and demonstrated that comparisons of Shapira strips with Qumran mss have been overblown.

  2. Is it possible to download it?

    1. Hello Bill,

      Yes it is. Anna has it up on her Academia page:

      She just got a new follower!


    Some impressive finds are coming from here.