Instructions of Amenemope, circa 12th century B.C.E. Ink on papyrus, British Museum, London.
This copy of the Instructions of Amenemope is written on a scroll of papyrus approximately 12 feet long by 10 inches wide. One side contains the hieratic text of the Instruction, while the reverse side is filled with a miscellany of lesser texts. Papyrus is not a true paper but a laminated material made from the inner fibers of the papyrus plant. The pith is laid out crosswise to form a mat, then pounded with a mallet into a sticky sheet and left to dry. The Greek term for papyrus is bubloi. Texts on sheets of papyrus were known as biblos. Egyptians inks were made from finely ground charcoal and water with gum arabic added as a binder. Red ink made from ocher was used for subtitles and chapter titles. This tradition survived well into the modern era. The term rubric means “red ocher” and came to mean any heading in a document.