The Christians popularized the codex, using it for the Gospels. Most European scripts descend from Greek and Roman capital letters, but variations are enormous.It is a European convention that writing starts on the left at the top and works line by line down the page.The roll was an inconvenient form of book, difficult to consult, which probably accounts for the inaccurate quotations found in early literature, caused by an author relying on his memory rather than troubling to unwind a long roll.
In the early classical world the standard form of book was the , taking its name from the material of which it was made.It consisted of papyrus sheets pasted edge to edge with a slight overlap.The great writing material of the ancient world was ) growing in the Nile Delta were laid side by side, while other strips were laid across at right angles, and the whole impregnated with paste.After treatment a fine smooth surface was obtained.The codex is almost always of parchment, since papyrus cracks when folded.
The codex seems first to have been used for notebooks or account books, the conservatism of booksellers and readers ensuring the survival of the roll for centuries. From about 300 The essential skill of a paleographer is the ability to recognize the numerous styles of handwriting prevalent in different ages and places.
Much of the administration of the Roman Empire depended upon papyrus, in the same way that modern bureaucracies depend upon paper.
Warfare and a damp climate resulted in an almost total disappearance of papyrus from Europe, though the dry (if war-scarred) sands of Egypt have preserved vast numbers of documents.
A paleographer must be familiar with writing materials.
Any smooth surface able to accept writing has served in the past, notably, pottery fragments, animals’ shoulder blades, slabs of wood, bark, cloth, and metal.
Parchment could be more readily reused, because it is tougher and can be washed or scraped clean.