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Title: Manufacture of Black Ink in the Ancient Mediterranean
Author(s): CHRISTIANSEN, Thomas
Journal: Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
Volume: 54    Date: 2017   
Pages: 167-195
DOI: 10.2143/BASP.54.0.3239877

Abstract :
Three types of black ink are attested in the textual sources pertaining to the manufacture of black pigments in the ancient Mediterranean: 'carbon ink', 'mixed ink', and 'iron gall ink'. A discussion of the wellknown accounts by Vitruvius, Pliny, and Dioscorides is combined with a study of the formulae for black ink found in the Greek magical papyri and an examination of the textual evidence from Late Period Egypt and beyond. It is demonstrated that the ingredients mentioned in the texts were employed regularly in ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean pharmacology. Furthermore, it is argued that the soot and charcoal for 'mixed inks', meaning carbon inks that contain metalloids, were obtained as by-products of metallurgy, glaze and glass production. The article is supplemented by a glossary of selected Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Arabic, and Syriac technical terms.

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