Always searching for new ways to share information, humans wrote on the walls of caves and carved on tablets, but it was with the advent of papyrus paper that ideas could be recorded and transmitted from the Nile throughout the Mediterranean?and the civilized world?for the first time in human history. Ecologist John Gaudet looks at this pivotal transition to papyrus paper, which would become the most commonly used information medium in the world for more than 4,000 years. Far from fragile, papyrus paper is an especially durable writing surface; papyrus books and documents in ancient and medieval times had a usable life of hundreds of years, and this durability has allowed items like the famous Nag Hammadi codices from the third and fourth century to survive. The story of this material that was prized by both scholars and kings reveals how papyrus paper is more than a relic of our ancient past, but a key to understanding how ideas and information shaped humanity in the ancient and early modern world.
"This fascinating and beautifully written book is an absolute eye opener. John Gaudet has a remarkable story to tell, and he tells it extremely well. A wonderful, enlightening book."—Alexander McCall Smith