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Lionel Casson – The early student codex

October 4, 2014

“[R]emarks dropped by Libanius, a fourth-century intellectual whose multifarious activities included teaching law, show that his students’ textbooks were also parchment codices. There were good reasons for this: parchment could take the hard treatment such books got, and the codex format permitted the quick and easy checking of the wording of statutes, judicial decisions, and so on. The parchment that went into them must have been the lowest grade, skins so thick that the books ended up heavy enough to make a student lugging them sag at the knees. The weight also provided an extracurricular virtue: in student fights, the books could be used instead of rocks for heaving at opponents.”

(from Libraries in the Ancient World [2001])


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