What Was Use To Write With In Ancient Rome

The ancient Romans used a writing utensil known as a stylus in order to write their text. The stylus was a pointed metal rod that was either made of bronze, iron or brass and was angled at its point. It was used for writing on wax-covered wooden tablets which were used in place of paper. The Roman stylus was a valuable tool for recording and transferring information from one individual to another.
The stylus was also used for calculating and figuring out mathematical equations. The pointed end of the stylus was used to scratch and make marks in order to work out answers to problems. The other end could be used as an eraser which allowed the user to make corrections without having to start all over again.
There are some who believe that the Romans may have also used other instruments, such as feathers and pens, in order to write with. However, scholars are still debating this theory. There is no conclusive evidence that suggests that the Romans used these instruments as routinely as they did the stylus.
Before the stylus had been invented, the ancient Romans used a reed pen which was made from a hollow stem of a reed. When this pen was held at an angle, a windpipe-like writing tool was created. This type of writing utensil was used for writing on parchment and papyrus. It is believed that this pen was replaced In the year 417 B.C. when the stylus was made available to the public.
The stylus was used extensively by many classes of Roman society. Roman rulers, generals, and merchants all frequently used styluses in order to record information for their accounts and writings. Even smaller tasks such as entering student’s identity cards in libraries were done by styluses.
Having such a reliable and easy to use writing tool allowed the Romans to record events, create philosophies, and build empires. The stylus can still be seen today in the form of the pencil, which is the modern version of this ancient writing instrument. As such, it is regarded as both a symbol of the great Renaissance and a reminder of the cultural significance of this amazing device.

The Purpose of the Stylus

The use of the stylus in Ancient Rome went beyond just writing. It had a variety of uses, including being a tool for inscribing buildings and monuments such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The stylus was also used for creating figurines and statues, carving stone, and sealing letters. In fact, the Latin word for a seal is “stulos”, derived from the usage of the stylus.
However, the stylus was most commonly used for making waxed tablets. These tablets, referred to as tabulae, were made by taking thin and rectangular pieces of wood and covering them with a thin coating of beeswax. The stylus would then be used to form letters and images in the wax layer. This wax layer could then be erased and re-used for successive tablets.
The tabulae were also used for taking quick notes or reminders. People could also create messages or records on the tabula, just as a modern-day notepad. Not only did the tabulae provide a convenient writing surface, but it also served as a type of pocket-sized diary for the ancients.

Stylus Materials and Craftsmanship

The stylus was typically comprised of either iron, brass, or bronze. Iron was the least expensive material to make styli out of, but was also the least durable. Brass was a more expensive option and was usually used by wealthier Romans. Bronze, however, was known for its resistance to corrosion and its hardness, making it the preferred material.
These materials were fashioned into a pointed shape that could easily break up the wax coating on the tabulae. Depending on the desired use of the stylus, craftsmen would take into account the hardness of the metal, the angle of the point, and the weight of the metal in order to create the perfect implement.
Furthermore, the shapes of the stylus varied significantly. Some styli were thin and tight while others featured robust, curved, and colorful designs. These styli could also be engraved with various images, such as the images of gods or of Roman scenes.

Rituals and Superstitions Associated with the Stylus

The Ancient Romans also attributed superstitious traditions to the stylus. It is said that by writing with a stylus crafted from the metal of a Roman coin, it brought with it the fortune of that coin. Certain rituals and ceremonies were created around this superstition, involving the rubbing of coins and the reciting of spells in order to bring about good luck.
Wednesdays were also linked to the stylus and its use. Many believed that wednesdays were a particularly favorable day to use the stylus and invoke such spells. It was thought that this use of the stylus would give an individual the protection of the gods and make one’s writing endeavors more successful.

Influence of the Stylus in Modern Times

The influence of the stylus can still be seen today, in the form of the modern-day pencil. The pencil was first invented in 1564 in Nuremberg, Germany by artist and inventor Conrad Gessner. It was known as the ‘Staedtler Pencil’ and utilized an angled lead blade in order to make writing easier.
The advent of new technologies has also allowed for the modern stylus to evolve even further. In recent years, various versions of the traditional stylus have been created for use with touchscreen devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
These styli offer increased precision and accuracy, and are extremely useful for sketching, drawing, and performing other similar tasks. In fact, the modern-day stylus is so popular that it has created an entire industry for itself, with numerous companies offering their own unique collective of models and products.

Conclusion of the Significance of the Stylus

The stylus was an essential writing utensil in Ancient Rome, and one that can still influence the way writers work today. It provided a reliable and convenient way to record and send information, as well as expressing creativity and artistry with its impact still being felt through the generations.
From the resourceful and innovative use of the stylus in Ancient Rome, to the modern-day styli that are used on touchscreen devices, this writing tool has had a lasting influence on the way humans use writing instruments and transfer information.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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