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Professional Writers and Writing Materials

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Coptic

It is a name for Egyptians of the Christian faith and their Church. It is also the name for the last form of the ancient Egyptian language, which was written with mostly Greek letters. The Coptic language survives only as a liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Islam

the name of a religion that is centered on the Qur'an, the word of God as passed through the Prophet Muhammad

parchment

the skin of a sheep or goat prepared as a material on which to write

scribe

someone who could read and write; a highly respected title in ancient Egyptian times

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Professional Writers and Writing Materials
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Professional writers, known as scribes in Ancient Egypt and calligraphers and transcribers in Islamic Egypt, preserved writing traditions and created new scripts. They used specific tools such as pens, reeds, pigment, and ink. Egyptians mainly wrote on papyrus and pottery until parchment gained popularity during the Coptic period.

Ancient Egyptian Scribes

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Ancient Egyptian Scribes

Scribes were essential to intellectual life. Their basic task went beyond simply preserving the old texts. They had the creativity to revise many theological, medical, and magical texts as well as to compose new texts.

Ancient Egyptian Tools for Writing

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Ancient Egyptian Tools for Writing

The tools of a scribe were a palette, a rectangular case, which held pigment, a pot of water for wetting the pigment, and the reeds used for writing. Scribes typically wrote on papyrus, but used pottery, boards, and leather as well.

Use of Pottery for Written Records

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Pottery shards were used as a writing surface from the Ptolemaic era through Roman times. It was common to inscribe pottery with business documents, letters, and even commercial agreements, especially by the poor, because pottery was so cheap.

How Papyrus was Made

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How Papyrus was Made

Papyrus, a type of paper made from a swamp plant, was one of the most important surfaces for writing. Sheets of papyrus were stuck together and scrolled around a staff for storage.

Use of Papyrus for Written Records

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Use of Papyrus for Written Records

Writing on papyrus might date back to the middle of the fourth millennium BC. Writing was usually in the form of columns inscribed along the length of the sheet, read with the scroll in one hand and using the other to unroll the text.

History of Parchment

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History of Parchment

Parchment was used as a writing surface in ancient times, especially by the Jews to write their sacred texts because it lasted longer than papyrus.

The Process of Making Parchment

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The Process of Making Parchment

Parchment was made from the hide of small animals. It was a more durable material for writing than papyrus and was preferred by the Jews and the Christians.

Development of the Codex

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Development of the Codex

A codex is a set of individual sheets bound together in the manner of a modern book. Those who wrote on papyrus or ordinary leather considered the scroll the most suitable for keeping records, but it was easier to decorate the text of a codex with drawings.

Professional Writers in the Islamic Era

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Professional Writers in the Islamic Era

Professional calligraphers and transcribers perfected their skills in the Islamic era. Schools of transcribers and calligraphers were known for their reference books in all scientific and cultural fields. Transcribers also decorated many objects with beautiful script designs.

Islamic Writing Materials

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Islamic Writing Materials

Muslims used various tools and surfaces for writing including stone and papyrus. They used different pens, some made of metal or others made of bamboo, depending on the surfaces to be written on.

Writing as Decoration for Islamic Objects

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Writing as Decoration for Islamic Objects

Muslims used words to create decorations on objects such as lamps, candlesticks, plates, and gravestones to avoid the problem of using pictorial images, which was not encouraged by Islamic law.

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Coptic
  Islamic
  Pharaonic
  Greco-Roman
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