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Manuscript

accomplished by making the revolutions with his two hands while he held the revolving material steady under his chin. Although the codex or manuscript in book-form began to make its way in Greek and Roman literature as early as the 1st century of our era, the roll maintained its position as the recognized type of literary document down to the 3rd, and even into the 4th, century, when it was altogether superseded. We shall proceed to describe the codex after giving some account of the waxen, or, to speak more correctly, the waxed, tablet, its precursor in the book-form.

The ordinary waxen tablet in use among the Greeks and Romans was a small oblong slab of wood, beech, fir, and especially box, the surface of which on one or both sides, with the exception of the surrounding margins which were left intact in order to form a frame, was sunk to a slight depth and was therein coated with a thin layer of wax, usually black. The tablet thus presented the appearance of a child's school-slate of the present day. Such tablets were single, double, triple, or of several pieces or leaves. In Greek they were called 1ri1/af, 1ru/axis, 6é)-ros, 56ATf01/.I in Latin cera, labula, tabella, &c. Two or more put together and held together by rings or thongs acting as hinges formed a caudex or codex, literally a stock of wood, which a set of tablets might resemble, and from which they might actually be made by cleaving the wood. A codex of two leaves was called 6i0vpo1., 6|i7l'1'UXU., diptycha; of three, rpirrruxa, triptych: and so on. The triptych appears to have been most generally used. A general term was also libellus.

Tablets served for the ordinary minor affairs of life: for memoranda, literary and other notes and drafts, school exercises, accounts, &c. The writing incised with the stilus could be easily obliterated by smoothing the wax, and the tabula rasa was thus rendered available for a fresh inscription. But tablets were also employed for official purposes, when documents had to be protected from unauthorized scrutiny or from' injury. Thus they were the receptacles for wills, conveyances, and other legal transactions; and in such cases they were closed against inspection by being bound round with threads which were covered by the witnesses' seals.

Small tablets, codicilli, pugillares, often of more valuable material, such as ivory, served for correspondence among other purposes, very small specimens are mentioned as vilelliani, for the exchange of love-letters.

A certain number of Greek waxen tablets have been recovered, chiefly from Egypt, but none of them is very early. They are generally of the 3rd century, and are mostly inscribed with school exercises. The largest and most perfect extant codex is one in the British Museum (Add. MS. 33,270), perhaps of the 3rd century, being made up of nine leaves, measuring nearly 9 by 7 in., and inscribed with documents in shorthand.

Of Latin tablets we are fortunate in having a fairly large number of examples. Exclusive of a few isolated specimens, they are the result of two important finds. Twenty-four tablets containing the records of a burial club, A.D. 131-167, were recovered between 1786 and 1855 from some ancient mining works in Dacia. In 1875 as many as 1 27 tablets, containing deeds connected with sales-by auction and payment of taxes, A.D. 15-62, were found in the ruins of Pompeii. These specimens have afforded the means of ascertaining the mechanical arrangement of wa xen tablets when adopted for legal, instruments among the Romans. Most of them are triptychs, severally cloven from single blocks of wood. Subject to some variations, the triptych was usually arranged as follows. Of the six sides or pages of the codex, pages 1 and 6 (the outside pages) were of plain wood; pages 2, 3, 5 were waxed; and page 4, which had a groove cut across the middle was sometimes of plain wood, sometimes waxed. The authentic deed was inscribed with the stilus on the waxed pages 2 and 3; and the first two leaves were then bound round with three twisted threads which passed down the groove so as to close the deed from inspection. On page 4 the witnesses'names were then inscribed (in ink if the page was plain; with the stilus if waxed), and their seals were impressed in the groove, thus securing the threads. In addition to the protection afforded to the seals from casual injury by their position in the groove, the third leaf acted as a cover to them. On page 5 an abstract or duplicate of the deed, as required by law, was inscribed. The arrangement of the Dacian tablets differed in this respect, that page 4 was waxed, and that the duplicate copy was begun on that page in the space on the left of the groove, that on the right being reserved for the names of the witnesses. In the case of one of the Pompeian tablets the threads and seals still remain. The survival of the use of tablet.s to a late time should be noted. St Augustine refers to his tablets. and St Hilary of Arles also mentions their employ ment for the purpose of correspondence; there is a record of a letter Written in tabellri as late as A.D. 1148. They were very commonly used throughout the middle ages in all the west of Europe. Specimens inscribed wi th money accounts of the 13th and 14th centuries have survived in France, and similar documents of the 14th and 1 5th centuries are to be found in several of the municipal archives of Germany. Reference to their use in England occurs in literature, and specimens of the 14th or 1 5th century are said to have been dug up in Ireland. In Italy their employment is both recorded and proved by actual examples of the 13th and 14th centuries. With the beginning of the 16th century they seem to have practically come to an end, although a few survivals of the custom of writing on wax have lingered to modern times.

As already stated, the codex, or MS. in book-form, owed its existence to the substitution of vellum for papyrus as the common writing material for Greek and Roman literature. The The fact that vellum was a tough material capable of being codex inscribed on both sides, that writing, particularly if freshly written, could be easily washed off or erased from it, and that the material could thus be made available for second use, no doubt contributed largely to its ready adoption. In Rome in the 1st century B.C. it was used, like the waxen tablets for notes, drafts, memoranda, &c.; and vellum tablets began to take the place of the cerae. References are not wanting in the classical writers to its employment for such temporary purposes. To what extent it was at first pressed into the service of literature and used in the preparation of books for the market must remain V uncertain. But in the first three centuries of our era it may be assumed that vellum codices were not numerous. The papyrus roll still held its position as the liber or book of literature. Yet we learn from the poems of Martial that in his day the works of some of the best classical authors were to be had on vellum. From, the way in which, in his A po plzoreta, he has contrasted as exchangeable gifts certain works written respectively on papyrus and on vellum, it has been argued that vellum at that time was a cheap material, inferior to papyrus, and only used for roughly written copies. Up to a certain point this may be true, but the fact that the earliest great vellum Greek codices of the Bible and of Latin classical authors, dating back to the 4th century, are composed of very finely prepared material would indicate a perfection of manufacture of long standing.

But, apart from the references of writers, we have the results of recent excavations in Egypt to enable us to form a more correct judgment on the early history of the vellum codex. There have been found a certain number of inscribed leaves and fragments of vellum of early date which without doubt originally formed part of codices or MSS. in book-form. It is true that they are not numerous, but from the character of the writing certain of them can be individually assigned to the 3rd, to the 2nd, and even to the 1st century. We may then take it for an established fact that the codex form of MS. was gradually thrusting its way into use in the first centuries of our era.

The convenience of the codex form for easy reference was also a special recommendation in its favour. There can be little doubt that such compilations as public registers must at once have been drawn up in the new form. The jurists also were quick to adopt it, and the very title "codex" has been attached to great legal compilations, such as those of Theodosius and Justinian. Again, the book-form was favoured by the early Christians. The Bible, the book which before all others became