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Roman students wrote on wax tablets

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman writing tablet
Author: Peter van der Sluijs | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Roman students practiced writing on wax tablets using a sharp stylus. They could then wipe out the wax and use the tablet again. Such tablets were also very popular in Greece or the Middle East. They were widely used in administration, treasury and judiciary, bills and various types of registers were written on them.

They were also used for correspondence (after blurring a layer of wax a reply was placed on the same plate), as personal notebooks, or in schools – to learn writing and counting, as well as to write literary works.

To erase wax records, the board was heated to about 50°C and the surface smoothed. For writing, a tool called stylus, was used, which required a lot more force than writing in ink on papyrus or parchment.

Some of the Roman wax tablets have survived to our times in the fort at Vindolanda.

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