Papyrus & Parchment Bookmarks
The Apostolic Press is offering papyrus and parchment bookmarks for sale at our BOOKSTORE. Each bookmark has the Greek alphabet and a pronunciation guide handwritten upon it. Papyrus AB-Strong #3843.1 was the common material used at the time when the Greek Old & New Testaments were written upon a Biblion AB-Strong #975. Parchment (Gk. Membranas) AB-Strong #3200 was developed at Pergamus in Asia Minor as a writing material to replace papyrus which was in short supply. Eventually papyrus was discontinued during the early years after the writing of the New Testament and it was replaced by parchment. The parchment offered as our bookmarks is a first cut. At the time of the New Testament the first cut parchment may have been further thinned by rubbing.
Above: This is a papyrus bookmark.
PAPYRUS: Papyrus is the ancient Egyptians invention for writing paper, and it was the most important writing material in the ancient world. Our word “Paper” derives from the word “papyrus”, an ancient Egyptian word that originally meant “that which belongs to the house (i.e. the bureaucracy of ancient Egypt)”. Papyrus is a common marsh plant having a triangular reed that grew along the banks of the river Nile. The paper was made from the pith of a papyrus, the tall stems were cut down and carried off in bundles. Each stem was stripped of it is rind and cut into short pieces which were then cut lengthwise into narrow strips. The papyrus pith was kept soaked in water until the fibers become flexible and translucent. Two layers of papyrus strips arranged at right angles were put on a hard flat object and beaten or pressed to desorb the water until they fused together. The resulting sheets were left to dry in the direct sun for several days, then they were polished and glued together to form scrolls. See also: Wikipedia
Above: This is a parchment bookmark.
PARCHMENT: Parchment is untanned animal hide that has been dried under tension. It makes an excellent writing surface. The process of creating parchment often begins at the farm where the animal died, or at the butchery. Using a knife, the butcher removes the skin of the animal, cutting at the level of the hypodermis to separate the skin from the muscle. Care must be taken to avoid cutting or ripping the skin, while also leaving as little flesh on the skin as possible. After removal, the skin must be worked on immediately or preserved (by covering the flesh side generously with salt) until it is ready to be handled, or it will spoil.
The first step is removal of the hair from the outside of the skin, using a lime (calcium hydroxide) bath. Lime is the traditional solvent, but hair removal can be done with other chemicals in addition to or instead of lime. The bath takes place in a rotating drum that moves the skin continually to ensure the chemicals’ even distribution. When done correctly, the hair falls out or dissolves, and the skin swells noticeably. Next, the skin is fleshed, which involves removing the remaining flesh and fat from the inside (or flesh side) of the skin. This step was traditionally done by hand with large “fleshing” knives, but now the skin is run through a machine with a large cylindrical blade that removes the flesh quickly and easily. Afterwards, the skin is put back in the drum and re-limed. Repeating the process creates a better final product. After fleshing, the lime is washed out and the skin is neutralized. Enzymes are added to further remove impurities, clean the skin, and improve its feel. At this point the skin can be stretched immediately, or else dried and stored for later. If it has been dried, the skin is now rehydrated, simply by soaking in a tub of water. When it is hydrated and elastic once more, the skin is stretched. Stretched skins are de-fleshed once more by scraping with a lunarium or lunalarium (an ancient style of blade, shaped like a crescent moon), and left to dry, after which they are prepared to the desired thickness and finish by sanding and buffing. This is the point at which the characteristics of each skin become evident. The result of all this work is a naturally beautiful raw material, perfect for writing upon. See also: Wikipedia