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Roman Writing

Roman Writing



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Published by corinne mills

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Published by: corinne mills on Mar 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Roman Wax tablets
In Britain until the Roman invasion in AD43 written language was almost unknown.During the Roman period there are however many examples of both formal and informal writing– apart from the wooden tablets at Vindolanda only those written on pottery and stone havemainly survived.Most people did their writing on re-usable wooden and wax tablets – these consisted on woodenleaves which were strung together – Tthere was a shallow recess in the wooden leaves which wasfilled with wax and was used as the writing surface. This allowed for the leaves to be closed andbound together without damaging the writing on the wax surface.A stylus (made from either iron, bronze or bone) was used for the writing on the wax – the stylushad one pointed end for writing – and a flat end which was used to erase any writing.The most common writing tablets had two wooden leaves and was called a diptych, ones withthree leaves were triptychs and those with more than three leaves were polyptychons.
Roman Stylus
These Roman writing implements are called stylus (styli plural).They were used to write on wax tablets. When the information on the tablets was no longerneeded, it could be rubbed out with the flat end of the stylus, or the tablet could be put in a warmplace where the wax would melt to give a flat clean surface.Although writing was not widely known or used before the Roman invasion in Britain, its usebecame widespread.The stylus was pointed at one end and blunt at the other for smoothing the wax. Styli werenormally plain but could sometimes be highly decorated, the decoration perhaps allowing a moresecure grip. They were made of metal, both bronze and iron (and occasionally precious metals),or bone.At Vindolanda over 200 styli have been excavated – most of them made of iron.

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