4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: All Eras   |   Theme: Paper / Papyrus / Parchment / Vellum


Circa 3,100 BCE – 3,050 BCE
The Word Bibliography is Derived from a Greek Word for Papyrus
Circa 2,900 BCE
The hieroglyphic name of Hemaka, highlighted in red.
The Oldest Known Papyrus Roll - Blank
2,500 BCE
One of many papyrii found at Wadi al Jarf.  Thought to be the oldest known papyrii from Egypt.
The Earliest Known Egyptian Papyri
Circa 2,300 BCE – 2,000 BCEWael Sherbiny Rediscovers the Oldest & Longest Egyptian Leather Roll Circa 2,000 BCE
A section of the Prisse Papyrus, which is believed to be the earliest known document written on papyrus. (View Larger)
One of the Earliest Surviving Documents Written on Papyrus
Circa 2,000 BCEOne of the Earliest Medical and Mathematical Documents Circa 1,600 BCE
The Oldest Surgical Treatise
Circa 1,186 BCE – 1,155 BCE
A papyrus of the 'Discourse of the Gods' section of the Great Harris Papyrus, showing Ramesses III before the Triad of Thebes. (View Larger)
The Longest Known Egyptian Papyrus
Circa 750 BCE
The "Fatal Letter" in the Iliad: Introduction of Written Language to the…
Circa 500 BCE
Paper in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
440 BCE – 435 BCE
One of the earliest surviving images of anyone reading a papyrus roll, preserved in the Louvre. (View Larger)
One of the Earliest Images of Someone Reading a Papyrus Roll
Circa 420 BCEThe Derveni Papyrus, The Earliest Surviving European Manuscript Circa 300 BCE
The Royal Library of Alexandria: The Largest Collection of Recorded Information…
Circa 275 BCEA "Wild" or "Eccentric" Papyrus of the Iliad Circa 250 BCE
An example of Lishu, or Clerkly Script, developed by Chinese Bureaucrats to be written with a brush.
Writing on Bamboo and Silk
197 BCE – 159 BCE
The ruins of the Library.
The Library of Pergamum (Pergamon) is Founded
Circa 78 BCE
The Roman Tabularium. (View Larger)
The Tabularium, Archives of Republican Rome, is Founded
Circa 75 CE
A fresco of a Pompein couple with stylus, wax tablets, and papyrus scroll, preserved in the Museuo Archeologico Nazionale. (View Larger)
Roman Portraits Celebrating Literacy
79 CE – 2015Discoveries of Greek & Roman Papyri in the Library of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, the Only Library Preserved Intact from Graeco-Roman Times Circa 80 CE
Figure nine from Clark's 'The Care of Books,' depicting a Roman reader with his scroll. (View Larger)
The Characteristics of Roman Papyrus Rolls
Circa 100 CE – 160 CE
The recto side of the Saint John Fragment. (View Larger)
The Earliest Known Fragment from a Papyrus Codex of the New Testament
Circa 100 CE – 250 CE
The fragment of De Bellis Macedonicis, the oldest suriving remains of a Latin manuscreipt written on parchment rather than papyrus. (View Larger)
The Sole Surviving Example of Roman Literary Cursive Script and the Earliest…
Circa 100 CE
Vindolanda Tablet 309, an inventory of wooden goods dispatched dispatched by and to civilians working for the military. (View Larger, with translation.)
The Oldest Surviving Handwritten Documents in Britain
105 CE
Ts'ai Lun
The Invention of Paper in China
Circa 125 CE
The Yale Musical Papyrus. (View Larger)
Ancient Greek Songs
Circa 125 CE
The Michigan Instrumental Papyrus. (View Larger)
Ancient Musical Notation
Circa 150 CE – 450 CE
Several of the leather-bound codices of the Nag Hammadi Library. (View Larger)
The Form of the Manuscript Book Gradually Shifts from the Roll to the Codex
Circa 150 CEA Door-to-Door Bookseller in Egypt, Second Century CE Circa 150 CEThe Bankes Homer: One of the Best Preserved Papyri of Homer Circa 150 CEThe Earliest European Martial Arts Manual Circa 300 CE – 700The Transition from Papyrus to Parchment 330 CE – 1453The Limitations of Book Production and Book Trade in the Byzantine Empire Circa 350 CEThe Largest Papyrus Codex and the Earliest to Use Red Ink for Titles Circa 400 CE
The Johnson Papyrus, a fragment of an early fifth century herbal. (View Larger)
The Oldest Extant Book Illustrations of Plants
Circa 400 CEA Diptych Depicting Roman Orators Holding Papyrus Rolls Circa 400 CEThe Durability of Papyrus Circa 450 CEThe Smallest Codex Known from Antiquity Circa 550
A color plate from Bordier's paleographic study comparing the two separated portions of one of hte earliest suriviving European papyrus codices.
Among the Earliest Surviving European Papyrus Codices
Circa 610 – 1200During the Middle Ages Book Production is Concentrated in Monasteries Circa 610
A wooden wax tablet with bronze stylus and eraser, originating from Egpyt circa 600. (View Larger)
During the Middle Ages Wax Tablets Are Widely Used
Canon 22 of the Council of Nicea II (British Museum, MS Barocci 26, fol. 140b), where the top is written in minuscule and the bottom in unical.(View Larger)
Arab Conquest of Egypt Resulted in Smaller Exports of Papyrus-- A Probable…
642The Oldest Surviving Arabic Papyrus 677 – 1100Continuing Use of Papyrus through the Eleventh Century Circa 688 – 716
Folio 5r of Codex Amiatinus, showing Ezra. (View Larger)
The Codex Amiatinus: the Earliest Surviving Complete Bible in the Latin…
Circa 690 – 751The Oldest Surviving Block Printing from Korea? 702The First State Libraries in Japan 751
A map of the Silk Road. (View Larger)
Chinese Prisoners of War Convey Papermaking Techniques to the Arabs
764 – 770
One of one million pagodas commissioned by Empress Shotuku, containing Bhuddhist charms, or dhrani scrolls. (View Larger
One Million Copies Printed; The First Large Scale Mass Production
793Papermaking is Established in Baghdad Circa 800The Oldest Surviving Manuscript Written on Arab Paper 815 – 835
A page from the Uspensky Gospels. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Dated Manuscript Written in Greek Minuscule
Circa 825The Oldest Surviving Manuscript on Arabic Paper 848 – 866The Oldest Complete Dated Book in Arabic Written on Paper November – December 867
Folio 241b of MS Leiden Or. 298, a manuscript of the 'Gharib al-Hadith' by Abu `Ubayd al-Qasim b. Sallam. (View Larger)
The Second Oldest Arabic Manuscript on Arabic Paper
October 20, 879The Earliest-Known Manuscript of the Arabian Nights Circa 980Muslim Countries Adopt Paper but Not Printing 1031Perhaps the Earliest Recycling of Paper Circa 1050 – 1150
Page 74 of the Dresden Codex, depicting a great flood, flowing from the mouth of a celestial dragon. This represents the Central American notion of apocolypse. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Book Written in the Americas
1052The Earliest Surviving Document on Paper from the Byzantine Empire 1057 – 1087
Pope Victor II.
The Latest Certain Dates for the Use of Papyrus
Circa 1100 – 1151
Xativa, Spain, highlighted in blue. (View Larger)
Papermaking Reaches the Moorish Parts of Spain
1109The Earliest Extant Document from Europe Written on Paper 1145
At Martorana in Palermo, Italy, a mural depicting the divine coronation of Roger II. (View Larger)
King Roger Bans the Use of Paper
1150The First Paper Mill in Al-Andalus 1154The First Use of Paper in Italy 1224 – 1227First Recorded Issue of Paper Money in the Mongol Empire Circa 1225The Earliest Known Classical Latin Piece Written on Paper 1231
From his book, De arte venandi cum avibus (The art of hunting with birds), a portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, flanked by a falcon. (View Larger)
Banning the Use of Paper for Legal Documents
1245The First Record of a Chinese Printed Seal in Europe 1246 – 1247The Earliest Surviving German Document Written on Paper 1279
What remains of an early Fabriano paper mill. (View Larger)
The First Paper Mills in Italy
1307 – 1308The Earliest Surviving English Paper Codex, and the Earliest Recorded Use of Paper in England 1319 – 1327The Earliest Use of Paper Money in Japan 1322First Use of Paper in Holland 1348
Troyes, France. (View Larger)
Perhaps the First Paper Mill in France
A view of Nuremberg--folio 99v/100r of the Nuremberg Chronicles--showing Stromer's paper mill, bordering the city on the bottom right. (View Larger)
Earliest European Document on the Production of Paper
Circa 1440 – 1475From About 1440 -1470 the Production of Manuscript Books Increased; From 1471 to 1490, with the Increase of Printed Book Production, Manuscript Book Production Declined 1460 – 1469Gutenberg's Last Production? An Early Form of Stereotyping? June 12 – December 23, 1493The Nuremberg Chronicle 1494Trithemius Favors Vellum over Paper for Long Term Information Storage Circa 1496The First English Book Printed on Paper Made in England Circa 1500"Paper accounts for as much as fifty percent of the cost of a Renaissance-era book" 1568Jost Amman's Images of Trades and Technologies, with Descriptions in Verse 1675Laws of Book Production and the Book Trade 1690The First Paper Mill in the United States 1693Jean Imberdis Publishes First Book on the Manufacture of Paper 1699There Are 150 Paper Mills in England 1751 – 1780Diderot & d'Alembert's Encyclopédie, the Central Enterprise of the French Enlightenment May 5, 1757A Typographic Masterpiece, John Baskerville's First Book & the First Book Printed Partially on Wove Paper October 6, 1759 – 1760The First Book Printed Entirely on Wove Paper 1761Astronomer Jérôme Lefrançois de Lalande Writes the First Comprehensive Treatise on Papermaking January 30, 1765 – 1771Jacob Christian Schäffer Issues "The Most Interesting and Rarest Work" on Papermaking 1784 – 1804The First Book Printed on Machine-Made Paper, the First Book Printed on a Stanhope Press, & the First Book Printed by the Foulis & Tilloch Method of Stereotyping, as Improved by Earl Stanhope 1784Thomas Astle Issues the First English History of Paleography and Diplomatics 1785John Pendred Issues the Earliest Directory of the Book Trade in England 1788The Beginnings of Papyrology 1795Isaiah Thomas Issues the First American Book Printed on Wove Paper 1798 – 1840Frenchman Louis-Nicolas Robert Invents the First Papermaking Machine, but it is Developed in England by John Gamble, the Fourdriniers & John Dickinson 1798 – 1799Pajot des Charmes Introduces Bleach in Paper Production, Facilitating Recycling of Paper 1800 – 1802Mathias Koops Issues the First Book Printed on Recycled Paper, with an Appendix Printed on Paper Made from Wood Pulp 1806Ralph Wedgwood Invents Carbon Paper 1807 – 1812Thomas Cobb Invents a Machine for Manufacturing Paper in Separate Sheets 1811The First Papermaking Machine is Set Up in France 1817Thomas Gilpin Sets Up the First Papermaking Machine in America, & the First Items Printed on his Machine-Made Paper 1818 – 1824Mairet Issues a Manual of Lithography, Bookbinding, and Cleaning and Restoring Paper 1832 – 1845Exploiting the New Technology of Mechanized Printing, Charles Knight Publishes "The Penny Magazine," Britain's First Low Priced Mass-Circulation Magazine October 26, 1844 – August 1845Friedrich Keller Rediscovers Paper Making from Wood Pulp & Industrializes the Process 1846Alfred Bonnardot Issues the First Book on the Restoration of Rare Books and their Bindings 1855Isaiah Deck Describes the Production of Mummy Paper in Nineteenth Century America 1860100,000 Tons of Paper, Only 4% Made by Hand 1866Benjamin Tilghman Invents the Sulfite Pulping Process for Manufacturing Paper from Wood Pulp 1867Imprimerie Alfred Mame's Spectacular Portrayal of Large Scale Book Manufacturing 1868The Times of London Prints on Continuous Paper, Increasing Production 1873 – 1874Robert Clark Kedzie Issues "Poisonous Papers," and a Poisonous Book Published in an Edition of 100 Copies June 30 – September 1, 1877The Caxton Quadricentennial Celebration: Probably the Largest Exhibition on the History of Printing Ever Held; Collecting its Publications 1898The Questionable Quality of Paper 1900652,000 Tons of Paper Produced in the U.K. June 11, 1911 – 1913"Die Brucke" and its Goals for a World Information Clearing House 1937"Trees to Tribune": Film on the Production of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper Circa 1958Longevity of Paper is a Function of its Acidity or Alkalinity 1976Papermaking by Hand in England in 1976 February 24, 1982Sun Microsystems Announces its First Workstation January 1988Australia Issues the First Polymer Banknote ($10) 1997126,000,000 Metric Tons of Paper Are Consumed 1997Electronic Paper is Developed 1998The Average Person Receives 733 Pieces of Paper Mail Each Year, Half of Which is Junk 1999Computers Have Not Caused a Reduction in Paper Usage or Printing November 2, 1999Continuing to Print the British Parliamentary Papers on Vellum April 2001
Nicholson Baker
Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper
September 17, 2009'Material Degradomics" or, The Sniff Test for a Book's Physical State October 27, 2010Paperbecause.com Makes the Case for Using Paper January 2012Gelatin and Calcium in the Earliest Paper Was Responsible for its Longevity September 13, 2014An Anthology to be Published on Paper in 2114 March 21, 2016Ink Used to Write Herculaneum Papyri Contained High Metal Concentrations