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A book is both a usually portable physical object and the body of immaterial representations.

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Scrolls can be made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened. Papyrus was used for writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty.

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Amanda Watson

Scrolls can be made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened. Papyrus was used for writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty.

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Introduction

The technical term for this physical arrangement is codex in the plural, codices. In the history of hand-held physical supports for extended written compositions or records, the codex replaces its immediate predecessor, the scroll. As a physical object, a book is a stack of usually rectangular pages made of papyrus, parchment, vellum, or paper oriented with one longer side either left or right, depending on the direction in which one reads a script tied, sewn, or otherwise fixed together and then bound to the flexible spine of a protective cover of heavier, relatively inflexible material so that, when the opened front cover has received a massy enough stack of sheets, the book can lie flat.

A book is both a usually portable physical object and the body of immaterial representations or intellectual object whose material signs—written or drawn lines or other two-dimensional media—the physical object contains or houses.

As an intellectual object, a book is prototypically a composition of such great length that it takes a considerable investment of time to compose and a still considerable, though not so extensive, investment of time to read. This sense of book has a restricted and an unrestricted sense. In the restricted sense, a book is a self-sufficient section or part of a longer composition, a usage that reflects the fact that, in antiquity, long works had to be written on several scrolls, and each scroll had to be identified by the book it contained. So, for instance, each part of Aristotle’s Physics is called a book, as of course the Bible encompasses many different books. In the unrestricted sense, a book is the compositional whole of which such sections, whether called books or chapters or parts, are parts.

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The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD saw the decline of the culture of ancient Rome. Papyrus became difficult to obtain due to lack of contact with Egypt, and parchment, which had been used for centuries, became the main writing material.

Parchment is a material made from processed animal skin and used—mainly in the past—for writing on. Parchment is most commonly made of calfskin, sheepskin, or goatskin.

It was historically used for writing documents, notes, or the pages of a book. Parchment is limed, scraped and dried under tension. It is not tanned, and is thus different from leather.

The Codex Amiatinus anachronistically depicts the Biblical Ezra with the kind of books used in the 8th Century AD.

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