Book Production

John Lowden

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Book Production


Book production in Byzantium was a long and complex process, requiring a wide range of materials and skills. Every Byzantine book was a "manuscript", that is, handwritten, and mostly in Greek. The books were made primarily of papyrus, parchment, and paper. The typical Byzantine book, or codex, was made of folded and sewn leaves, generally in groups of four, forming quaternions/quires. Exemplars, consumers, and scribes all play important roles in production. Instead of following the macro-chronology of emperors and dynasties, this article examines the micro-chronology of the book-production process in the Byzantine Empire, focusing on major changes over time.

Keywords: book production; books; manuscript; Byzantium; codex; paper; parchment; papyrus; scribes; exemplars

Article.  4045 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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