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books, Greek and Roman  

H. Maehler

Books existed in *Egypt long before they came into use in Greece. Systems of writing had been invented and developed for administrative purposes in both Egypt and *Mesopotamia by c.3000 bce. While the Sumerians (see sumerian) and Babylonians used clay tablets for their *cuneiform scripts, the Egyptians used papyrus. A blank sheet of papyrus was found in the tomb of the vizier Hemaka in Saqqara of c.3000 bce. The oldest surviving inscribed papyrus texts are the temple accounts of Abusir of c.2450 bce. A number of fine statues of seated scribes of the same period suggests that this profession was already well established and that writing had been practised for centuries, long enough for the ‘hieratic’ script to develop through the adaptation of hieroglyphs to the use of reed-brush and papyrus. The hieroglyph for ‘book-roll’ is first attested in the first dynasty (c.

Article

graffiti  

Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons

Graffiti are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. Graffiti elucidate a great deal about life in the ancient world including topics such as social history, literacy, linguistic variation, sexuality, religious practices, and the use of space in ancient cities. These texts were composed in a variety of media: typically, they were scratched into the physical support, but paint, charcoal, and chalk were used as well. Graffiti have been found in many cities of the Greco-Roman world and in a variety of spaces including houses, tombs, religious spaces, and public areas. Since the texts were often inscribed or written on delicate surfaces such as wall plaster, only a small portion of the thousands that were once inscribed survive to the present.Graffiti (singular graffito) are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. A narrow definition of the word from its Italian root meaning “to scratch” only includes texts or drawings scratched into a hard surface such as plaster, stone, or marble. Because informal writings made with materials such as charcoal and chalk served the same purposes and were written in the same locations, and, in some instances, by the same authors as their inscribed counterparts, they are also included in the genre. The term graffiti, now used in English for writing of this sort from any era, was coined by .

Article

libraries  

P. J. Parsons

By the end of the 5th cent. bce, books were in general circulation, even if some regarded them as a fad of intellectuals like *Euripides (Ar. Ran. 943, cf. fr. 506 KA); Athens had booksellers (Eup. fr. 327, Aristomenes (2) fr. 9, KA), and exports reached the Black Sea (Xen. An. 7. 5. 14), see euxine. Individuals collected the best-known poets and philosophers (Xen. Mem. 4. 2. 1); an imagined collection of the later 4th cent. bce includes *Orpheus, *Hesiod, *tragedies, *Choerilus (probably (2)), *Homer, *Epicharmus, and all kinds of prose, including Simus' Cookery (Alexis fr. 140 KA). Of famous collectors (Ath. 1. 3a), *Aristotle took first place (Strabo 13. 1. 54); but his library, like that of the other philosophic schools, remained private property (for its chequered history, see Strabo, ibid.; Plut. Sull. 26. 1–2).Institutional libraries begin with the Hellenistic monarchies; the ‘public’ library of *Pisistratus (Gell.

Article

phallus  

Richard Seaford

Phallus, an image of the penis, often as erect, to be found in various contexts, in particular (a) in certain rituals associated with fertility, notably Dionysiac *processions (see dionysus): see e.g. Ar. Ach.243 on the Attic rural Dionysia (see attic cults and myths), *Semos in Ath. 622b-c on groups of ‘ithyphallics’ and ‘phallus-bearers’, *Varro in Aug. Civ. 7. 21 ‘for the success of seeds’ at the Liberalia (see liber pater);(b) as a sacred object revealed in the Dionysiac *mysteries, as in the Villa of the Mysteries fresco at *Pompeii; *Iamblichus (2) (Myst. 1. 11) mentions it as a symbol of secret doctrine;(c) in the costume of comedy (see comedy (greek), old), *satyric drama, and various low theatrical genres; *Aristotle (Poet. 1449a11) says that comedy originated in phallic songs;(d) on permanent display, often as part of a statue such as those of *Priapus or the *herms identified with *Hermes;(e) as apotropaic: e.