Egyptian Technology > Egyptian Paper
A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which is written and drawn on papyrusThe word paper comes from the Greek term for the ancient Egyptian writing material called papyrus, which was formed from beaten strips of papyrus plants. Papyrus was produced as early as 3000 BC in Egypt, and sold to ancient Greece and Rome. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria limited the supply of papyrus for others. As a result, according to the Roman historian Pliny (Natural History records, xiii.21), parchment was invented under the patronage of Eumenes II of Pergamon to build his rival library at Pergamon. This however is a myth; parchment had been in use in Anatolia and elsewhere long before the rise of Pergamon.Egyptian hieroglyphs, a phonetic writing system, served as the basis for the Phoenician alphabet from which later alphabets were derived. With this ability, writing and record keeping, the Egyptians developed one of the —if not the— first decimal system.The city of Alexandria retained preeminence for its records and scrolls with its library. That ancient library was damaged by fire when it fell under Roman rule, and was destroyed completely by 642 CE. With it, a huge amount of antique literature, history, and knowledge was lost.