Transporting texts: the codex


The standard format for the production of longer texts in the ancient Mediterranean world was rolls or scrolls made from sheets of papyrus or parchment joined together. Shorter documents were often written on wooden tablets, sometimes with waxed-filled compartments. A group of tablets hinged or fixed together was called a ‘codex’. By the third century CE, groups of folded sheets of parchment or papyrus were being referred to by the same term. The codex was durable, portable, easy to use and economic. By the sixth century CE it had become the dominant format. This example is contained within a ‘chemise’ or wrapper, to protect the contents.

MS Add. 7220

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