Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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codex ( caudex, codices )

An ancient book composed of leaves of writing material fastened together so as to open like a modern book, as distinct from a SCROLL (1) or VOLUMEN , which it superseded. It was introduced originally in the 1st century A.D. The English word derives from the Latin caudex or codex, meaning a tree trunk or stem stripped of bark. Originally, the name was applied to two or more tablets of wood, metal, or ivory, hinged together with rings, the inner sides of which were covered with wax which could be inscribed with a stylus. Later on the term was applied to books of this format made of papyrus. vellum, or parchment. Although papyrus usually appeared in the form of a scroll, and parchment and vellum in the form of the codex, there was a brief intermediate stage, the papyrus codex. This came at a time when parchment was not yet fully accepted, partly because it was thought to be a somewhat vulgar material, and partly because, when the codex was new, it was not realized that papyrus was not really suitable to that format.

Scribes and bookbinders have long attempted to match the sides of materials forming the leaves of books. The early scribes were concerned with the arrangement of the sides of papyrus, which were different because of the placement of the strips, and therefore the orientation of the fibers, during manufacture. When the number of sheets of papyrus were placed one upon another with each one the same way up, and were then folded down the middle to make a section, the first half of the section had the horizontal lines uppermost, while the second half had the vertical lines uppermost. This method was sometimes adopted, whereas in other cases the sheets were alternated so that horizontal faced horizontal, and vertical faced vertical. In the case of vellum, the practice is to arrange the leaves so that flesh-side faces flesh-side and grain-side faces grain-side, in much the same manner as such papers as azure are faced light side to light side and dark side to dark side. Even modern day book papers have sides, a felt side on the machine-made papers and a wire side on hand-made papers. (94 , 123 , 192 , 236 , 365 )




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