Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(979 words)

1. Origins

Parchment is made by dehairing and drying the skins of various animals, and has since ancient times been used as a writing material. Ancient authors (e.g. Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia 13,70) report that Eumenes II of Pergamum in the 2nd century BCE reacted to the lack of papyrus while he was assembling his library by “inventing” parchment. The earliest surviving documents written on parchment, however, date only from the 3rd century BCE, in the region of the Euphrates.

From their introduction in the…

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Reith, Reinhold, “Parchment”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025383>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721

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