Papyrus (pronounced /pəˈpaɪrəs/) is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundantin the Nile Delta of Egypt.
Papyrus usually grow 2–3 meters (5–9 ft) tall. Papyrus is first known to have been used in ancient Egypt (at least as far back as the Firstdynasty), but it was also used throughout the Mediterranean region. Ancient Egypt used this plant as a writing material and for boats, mattresses, mats, rope, sandals,and baskets
Papyrus plant growing in a garden, Australia
The English word papyrus derives, via Latin, from Greek πάπυρος papyros. Greek has a second word forpapyrus, βύβλος byblos (said to derive from the name of the Phoenician city of Byblos). The Greek writer Theophrastus, who flourished during the 4th century BCE, usespapuros when referring to the plant used as a foodstuff and bublos for the same plant when used for non-food products, such as cordage, basketry, or a writing surface. Themore specific term βίβλος biblos, which finds its way into English in such words as bibliography, bibliophile, and bible, refers to the inner bark of the papyrus plant.Papyrus is also the etymon of paper, a similar substance.
It is often claimed[by whom?] that Egyptians referred to papyrus as pa-per-aa [p3y pr-ˁ3] (lit., "that whichis of Pharaoh"), apparently denoting that the Egyptian crown owned a monopoly on papyrus production. However no actual ancient text using this term is known. In theEgyptian language, papyrus was known by the terms wadj [w3ḏ], tjufy [ṯwfy], and djet [ḏt]. The Greek word papyros has no known relationship to any Egyptian word or phrase.
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