Papyrus scrolls

Scrolls from papyrus – this is what the book in ancient Greece looked, in ancient Rome, in Old Egypt. The papyrus was made of core of the reed plant. Scrolls and codes made later – books from papyrus – were very afraid of moisture and for the most part have not survived to this day. Only in the dry climate of Egypt, the papyrus scrolls remained a little better, although there they died from wars, fires and just from time to time also quite a lot.

Yes, it was difficult before to read, and to write out, it was even more difficult. This is now you can buy a Parker pen, a beautiful notebook and write your thoughts in it. In addition to the fact that it is convenient, it is still incredibly prestigious. And before only scrolls.

The first papyrus scrolls preserved in Europe were opened in 1752 during excavations of the ancient city of Herculanum, once covered with ash during the eruption of Vesuvius. They were in the house of Consul Kalpurtia Pizon, who had a large library. It is difficult to say how many precious scrolls died before people realized what it is. After all, flattened, charred remains least resembled the classic rolls of scrolls, well known in antique images. The workers took these strange objects simply for the charred tree and coal, and therefore the room where they were found most were called the “coal miner”.

When, finally, it became clear that the first meeting with an ancient book occurred, the impression made on contemporaries turned out to be incredibly strong. The famous writer Madame de Steel, who visited excavations, said that she was afraid to breathe, “so that her breath did not measure this dust, in which noble thoughts were still asleep”. However, not all faced with saved treasures were as careful as Madame de Steel. There was a certain Camillo Paderni, who, without the slightest sincere trepid, decided to deploy and read the books found. This business required the greatest patience, because the charred papyrus scattered very easily, but Paderni was a decisive person. He boldly cut a scroll along a sharp knife – and he broke up into two halves. Paderni redrawn the letters visible on the surface of each of them. Then he scraped the top layer to see the next one, which after redrawing also destroyed. Paderni worked quickly, and only in a year he destroyed 142 papyrus from the found 800… He probably would have managed to do much more if, fortunately, there was no talented person who knew the way to save the charred scrolls. It was the Genoese Antonio Piajio, a highly educated person, a former manager of an art gallery in the Vatican.

Пиаджио, всей душой стремясь спасти бесценные рукописи, приступил к работе с величайшим терпением. Он изобрел специальное приспособление, при помощи которого начал медленно разворачивать найденные свитки. Работа подвигалась медленно – за семь лет удалось развернуть и прочесть только семь свитков… В течение всего XIX века и первой половины XX века лучшие специалисты, химики и реставраторы тщетно пытались найти более быстрый способ развернуть геркуланумские свитки, не уничтожив их навсегда. Во время этих экспериментов многие рукописи были полностью испорчены, а положительных результатов так и не было получено.

Основано на материале из журнала «Семья и школа»