Roman Leaf Tablets ?

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Clark3934
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Roman Leaf Tablets ?

Post by Clark3934 » Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:58 pm

First off, I don't know if this is in the right forum. Feel free to move it if it's not.

Well, a while ago I was assigned by my Latin teacher a project. My project consists of making different roman writing materials from scratch.

The Project Outline Reads:
Each student will be assigned to reaseaching 3 different writing materials in use by the Romans. This reseach will culminate in the actual construction of a sample liber for presentation to the class. The sample must be realistic and as accurate as possible. It must include a selection taken from Vergil as the content of the liber. Futhermore, each sample must be to scale. Approximations in material are acceptable if the final result is authentic.
Any ink used must be handmade based upon the materials which reseach indicates that the ancients employed.

The presentation will address the method of manufacture, materials used, how and for what kind of documentation each type of liber was used as well as when and where such types predominated in the Empire. the only written submission is a bibliographical page listing all sources consulted.

Papyrus or Vellum - A scroll made from papyrus or vellum.

Stylus Tablet - A diptych stylus tablet or waxed tablet, as it is sometimes called.

Leaf Tablet - A diptych leaf tablet.
Well, so far I have finished the Vellum and Wax Tablet. I even made my own ink from gum arabic and pure carbon. All I have left is the leaf tablet. I have looked all over the internet, only to find no information.

I finally remembered this great site, and I wondered if anyone here had some information on this.

Does anyone know what type of wood was used in a leaf tablet?

What size was it?

What was it used for?

What part of the empire was it used in?

What did it look like?

Where there string of such tying it together?

Are there any pictures or old actifacts that I can look at?

Thank you very much if you have any information. :)

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EmptyMan
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Post by EmptyMan » Sun Oct 24, 2004 5:31 pm

Did a quick google and found a few sites. The Catholic encyclopedia has a section on it. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05022a.htm And here are some images from Vindolanda Tablets Online, http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/4DLink2 ... ype=number

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Skylax
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Post by Skylax » Sun Oct 24, 2004 5:59 pm

I am no native English speaker, so I don't understand very well what is meant with "leaf tablets". It is surely not about tree leaves, like the Canadian "mapple leaf", although Romans wrote certainly on sheets of tree bark (It was a rather crude material). So I think a "leaf tablet" is made up of two ore more wax tablets bound together by means of rings or hinges. If so, I may suggest another website :

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... bulae.html

It is an old Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities but with some more modern additions and other internet links.

Good luck!

Clark3934
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Post by Clark3934 » Sun Oct 24, 2004 7:02 pm

Ok, I just got back from the library.

I've been to the Vidolanda site. It has *some* information, but unfortunatley not everything I need. :cry:

So far, all I know is that the writing material consists of two sheets bound together at a hindge (hence diptych). They two writing surfaces are made of very thin wood (possibly pine or oak. Is this bark??). This is not a wax tablet. The romans used a soot based (or gum based) ink.

Anyone know what kind of hinge the Romans used or exactly what kind of wood and how think the wood was?

What are the dimensions of the diptych leaf tablet?

Sorry for all the questions. I just cant seem to find anything that's not either a wax tablet or papyrus. :x

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Skylax
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Post by Skylax » Sun Oct 24, 2004 7:49 pm

Clark3934 wrote: Is this bark??).
Oh no !

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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:01 pm

So far, all I know is that the writing material consists of two sheets bound together at a hindge (hence diptych). They two writing surfaces are made of very thin wood (possibly pine or oak. Is this bark??). This is not a wax tablet. The romans used a soot based (or gum based) ink.
Look a bit further on the Vidolanda site.

The "hinge" was at the corners using a tie thong of hide or some such. The pictures show the holes. There could be more than just two surfaces as some of the sample show and they were written on both sides. They give the dimensions as, "1mm thick and about 20cm wide by 9 cm long, the size of a large postcard." It wasn't bark, it was strips of the trunk, probably shaved off with some sort of adz. The wood for the tables seems to have been not made from lime wood but from birch, alder and oak.

AFAICT, once the surface was written the center line was scored with a knife or sharp edge to allow folding. Then the hinge hole was bored and tied.
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Clark3934
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Post by Clark3934 » Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:03 pm

Here is what I drew up:


Image


Hope all of it is accurate. 8)

Also, how am I supposed to get a piece of wood 1mm thick?!?!?

The thinnest piece I could find at home depot was 6mm thick. :x

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classicalclarinet
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Post by classicalclarinet » Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:40 pm

I hope you have a carpenter friend...

This looks very advanced! Is this in college?

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Post by Clark3934 » Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:01 pm

classicalclarinet wrote:I hope you have a carpenter friend...

This looks very advanced! Is this in college?
Nope. :P I'm only in Latin 3. :wink:

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EmptyMan
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Post by EmptyMan » Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:27 am

Clark3934 wrote:
classicalclarinet wrote:I hope you have a carpenter friend...

This looks very advanced! Is this in college?
Nope. :P I'm only in Latin 3. :wink:
Yikes. Sounds like a fun school.

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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:35 am

Also, how am I supposed to get a piece of wood 1mm thick?!?!?
Use balsa wood. Should be available at most hobby stores. Flexible and easily shaped. Gives a fairly accurate material representation albeit of modern manufacture.
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Clark3934
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Post by Clark3934 » Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:55 am

Timothy wrote:
Also, how am I supposed to get a piece of wood 1mm thick?!?!?
Use balsa wood. Should be available at most hobby stores. Flexible and easily shaped. Gives a fairly accurate material representation albeit of modern manufacture.
Great Idea! Thanks. I'll be visiting the hobby store tomorrow. :lol:

Hmm, these were used for letters, correct? Do you know if leaf tablets were used in a specific geological region?

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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:27 am

Hmm, these were used for letters, correct?
They were used for everything. The soldiers used them for “All present” reports. They were used for all sorts of communication.
Do you know if leaf tablets were used in a specific geological region?
The Roman Empire. They have found Roman writing materials throughout the Empire. The Vidolanda site shows that when the Romans built permanent settlements, they used the materials at hand and applied their methods to them. The reason that these letters survived was due to the nature of the soil and the discovery was the use of wood and ink to write with. Still, Romans sent letters everywhere and the mail system was pretty good. In other climates and geographical locations, the leaf tablets would have degraded. They survived at Vidolanda.
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