Bookbinding, Miniatures, Writing and Paper
As early as 3rd century — Roman script Half-Uncial gaining popularity—easier to write, took up less space, required less skill than Uncial. Smoother writing surfaces of parchment and vellum allowed for smoother, rounder writing using fewer strokes per letter. Early development does not use word separation. Later use incorporated separated words.
This post is part of an ongoing series on bookbinding, miniatures, writing and paper since the year 1. Please consider it a kick-start for your own private timeline and a springboard for further research. See my blog for the rest of the series.
There is definitely something to be said for making a mistake! In 1889 an Italian librarian looked at the writing on a parchment Torah scroll (the 5 Books of Moses) and decided that it was probably an inferior 17th century copy. He felt that the copyist must have been clumsy and that the letters were uncommon and strange.
Fast forward to the present time (and technology) and we find that the scroll was written between 1155 and 1225! The “uncommon and strange” letters were based on the Babylonian tradition of writing Hebrew rather than the Palestinian style with which our librarian was familiar. The benefit? The scroll is in perfect condition because it was mis-catalogued, and the world has the oldest existing complete Torah.
Read more about this wonderful find on National Geographic’s website: