Five millennium long scroll

Gently sliding on thick, like oil, water, boat with a sharp nose stuck in thick thickets, very similar to reed. Only instead of dense brown velvety rods, the high-rifled stalks were filled with light silk rims, crouched from silky threads. Like the fashionista decorated the head by a flirty hat with elegantly curved fields.

Here he is Papyrus, – said a young handsome boatman, shining a smile with a white. Tyach oars in longest – for two and a half meters Green triangled sticks, frequencing Ombusing tiny shiphushko, he, I pushing, somehow a feline-flexible movement pulled the top of the plant so that we could see it better. What was my surprise when, faced with him face to face, I learned Ziparus – a fairly common room plant. Only much shorter, yes pinema cap. Then experts-flower confirmed that Cyperus is really a close relative of the papyrus. Such is a small discovery under the hot Egyptian sun.

A short but very exotic walk through Nile was offered to journalists by the staff of the Institute of Papyrus, pre-strictly instructing: not to climb into the water, do not ignore the river, do not wash, do not lean and even more so do not drink: "You, Europeans, it is dangerous". We easily accepted the harsh conditions, honestly promising to clearly perform them. But, by climbing into the boat, they immediately forgot all the farewells and, only catching an expressive look of the burn-black eye of our accompanying, were sprinkled and the hands were hrying to the sin – from the sin of the sin and from the mounted cool moisture.

Meanwhile, the boat guide, enlightening us, read the inspired lecture on papyrus, a legend plant that fed, dressed, learned, enriched the ancient Egyptians. He once grown on the swamps and on the shores of rivers in tropical and subtropical Africa, and for many millennia, his roots, like the roots of the lotus, were the main food of the poor peasant. Then people thought of collecting light cheaps and big vessels, capable of making distant swims, which was brilliantly proved to tour Heyerdal in our time.

Many cable gave a name and writing material made from the stalks of this plant. In long-standing times "Papyrus scrolls were the main article of Egyptian exports" (unexpected contrast chopped the ear of this in a modern business phrase, which sounded in relation to almost a mythical plant). Over time, however, the mystery of its manufacture was lost. Actually, she disappeared with papyrus, as unnecessary, when the paper was invented that could be done on the spot, and not to carry from afar. And B "Divine Plant", how did the papyrus died, also did not need. Even for food – now poor Egyptian feeds on a special type of bean called "Ful". So by the XX century within Egypt, the papyrus was no longer. Only in the upper reaches of the Nile preserved wild-growing thickets.

I do not know that during our expedition, my companions felt, but I imagined myself with a certain ancient Egyptian one, or an empty wife, or, at a thin end, somehow from the household, accompanied by the head of the house walking on a boat among dense papiral thickets under the unpleasant Twitter birds, admiring them with a paradise plumage. And sometimes hunting for them, using a small boomerang. Fantasy was not difficult to play: shortly before that journey we visited the tombs of Pharaoh and saw that on multi-kilometer frescoes, decorated their walls, a similar plot was repeated repeated repeatedly. Yes, and on papyrus, who came to us, the ancient artists reproduced it almost as often as the gods. Most likely, because they deified pharaohs.

When the papyrus was accurately invented for writing and art, it would not even say the most knowledgeable Egyptologist. It is known that the oldest specimen found by archaeologists belongs to the beginning of the third millennium BC. To confess, it is difficult for me to imagine such a distance – five thousand years ago from our days, although I saw live and pyramids in Giza, and mysterious Sphynxes, and the temples of Luxor, worked precisely at the time. In one I have no doubt: the paper on which we write is unlikely to live at least one third of this term. It’s a pity.

Primary, of course, say that the invention of a papyrus, replacing clay plates with clocks, which were used for all sorts of records, produced a revolution in the history of civilization. Better turn to humorous "Universal history", published in the beginning of the century magazine "Satirikon" and china in student, before the exam on the history of domestic journalism. Here is how it is intelligible and the fun described this stage in human life: "In order for the beloved to be able to state his love, exciting feelings, he had to send it a whole conjunction of bricks. Read what was written presented such an ungrateful work that the patience of the maiden burned, and she married another on the tenth brick". Well, in such a situation, do without a light caustic papyrus? Life itself made him come up.

And how much the supply would need to transport the famous Harris big papyrus with a length of 40.5 meters and width 64.25 centimeters? Of course, to do similar trifle calculations to anyone, except for humorists, did not occur. But the science specifically found that such papyrus scrolls, calligraphically rewritten by professional scribes, replaced current books. By the way, the teacher’s profession was the most revered in ancient Egypt, but a little later later. In the meantime, together with the staff of the Institute of Papyrus, we will try to turn a strong stem in an almost weightless sheet.

Pretty detailed description, how to do it, left the student of the Aristotle Theofrast and the Roman natural backyard of Pliny Senior.

The stalks of the plant are cut along into narrow long ribbons, which are then stacked in two layers – alone horizontally, others vertically, and fasten with some adhesive substance, they reveal the secret "Papyrus cuisine". Distened sheets smoothed as iron, smooth stone or sink. That’s all. But, it seems, some kind of main secret, the ancient researchers were still tired, because when our contemporaries already use them "Instruction", tried to recreate this writing material, they got coarse, disgraced, not suitable hard sheets.

Enthusiasts, however, did not leave thoughts to comprehend the secrets of the ancients. Good luck fell out the most patient, stubborn and. generous: not everyone agrees to risk his own well-being for the sake of a ghost goal. But now his name is also inscribed in the history of Egyptology. It was Hassan Ragab.

Education Engineer, Ragab has served in the army and as a member of the organization "Free officers" Under the leadership of Gamal, Abdel Vasser actively participated in the antimonarchical and anti-imperialist revolution of 1952. Then his versatile talent, mind and upbringing were required on a diplomatic field, and the young Republic sent Ragab to his ambassador to a number of countries.

And suddenly Hassan unexpectedly for everyone makes a steep turn, throws a brilliant career and devotes himself to revive the papyrus. He buys a plot of land on the island of Yaakuba, at Nile, in the outskirts of Cairo, and immersed in experiments. From the south of Sudan with great difficulty brings the seedlings of papyrus, but they do not want to take care of the Egyptian land. However, the seedlings are not very worried: Hassan knows that he will stubborn, and will achieve his. Much more takes it "technology" manufacturing "Pussy material", Namely: how yellowish was bonded with each other, with a thick network of the smallest depths of papyrus strips. He tried dozens of a variety of adhesive substances, but none did the desired effect. Reed was as conspired.

To search for enthusiast, scientific institutions have not shown not the slightest interest. He spent experiments on his own money, and when his modest state was sick, the savings of his wife and brother went. We must pay tribute to the home: not knowing why, they believed in the success of the case.

Who knows how many experiences were held under the roof of a two-story float house, how many nights their owners were abandoned! "AS-Sabr Hamil" – "Patience beautiful", – Hassan repeats the main life formula of his compatriots, experiencing another failure.

Finally, the answer was found, and he was surprisingly simple – no glue. Strips are wounded in several changes in the Nile Water, after each shift carefully fought off with a hammer, then they are sent under the press. It turned out that, despite the long "bathing", Strins remains adhesive sugar juice, which also fastens a part of the papyrus. Now it can be hardened, might, tear, throw into the water – he will remain flattened, pliable and flexible. And no ink, carcasses, paints will not be sprawling on it.

Five millennium long scroll

And then the wife and daughter of Khasan, who found the artist’s talent: they carefully reproduced the ancient drawings, not allowing free fantasy to retreat from the classical original.

The novelty from the depths of the centuries had a deafening success. Tourists hunted papyrus as the most valuable souvenir. Still: he heard so much about him, and almost no one kept in his hands.

By the way, to say "Papiral boom" Artisans and merchants instantly responded. They flooded a profitable goods hundreds of laurels, they annoyed him to tourists, prudently silent, which most often offered and not papyrus at all, and "Banana" fake, which, as experts assure, poor-quality and short-lived. You will buy Papyrus – see so that it is slightly yellowish, with rare brown dots and streaks. This is real.

Recognized the work of the enthusiast and officials, still yesterday dismissed from his corporate worries. Papyrus received "Official status". It began to print diplomas of Egyptian scientific institutions, invitations to the most important and prestigious techniques, the most exquisite business cards. And the house on Nile turned into a papyrus institute. Almost the same were discovered for tourists – there we saw how an ancient writing material is born, and there they also heard many stories about scries and draftsmen.

It was limitless to the respect of the Egyptians to those who knew how to write; High, like no other, appreciated on the banks of the Nile Profession. "Be scribe! – Expressively quoted employee of the Institute of Instructions, preserved in one of the papyrus. – It will free you from the serves, protects you from all sorts, will remove you from the hoe. And you will not wear a basket. You will not be under the lords by many and under the chiefs numerous".

The ability to write was worshiped as a gift of Toga – God of wisdom, accounts and letters, and, before sitting for work, it was supposed to make the subject of his honor. Historians assure that no people thought about the deification of a written device – only the Egyptians.

Ancient papyrus, like the walls of the temples, completely performed by the hymns of the gods, chronicles of historical events, reclaim the scribes, put them almost in one row with the pharaohs. In the reign of Ramses II, such lines were written: "Wise scribes / they did not build a pyramid from copper / and tombstones from bronze./ But they left their inheritance in the Scriptures, / in the teachings made by them. "

An anxious ancient author even daring to challenge traditional religious ideas: "The man fades, his body becomes asoff, / all close to him disappear from the ground, / but the Scriptures are forced to remember him / mouth of those who convey it in the mouth of others./ Book more difficult at home, / better luxury palace, / better monument in the temple". So it sounds these lines in the translation of Anna Akhmatova.

It is possible that the belief in the immortality of the talent was first expressed in Egypt. After a century, the motive was told by Horace, and then – in Pushkin, in "Monument". And Bulgakovskoye – "Manuscripts do not burn" Also, probably, from there. From papyrus.

Five millennium long scroll

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