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There are some facts of considerable importance which make against the opinion expressed by M. Varro, relative to the invention of paper. Cassius Hemina, a writer of very great antiquity, has stated in the Fourth Book of his Annals, that Cneius Terentius, the scribe, while engaged in digging on his land in the Janiculum, came to a coffer, in which Numa had been buried, the former king of Rome, and that in this coffer were also found some books1 of his. This took place in the consulship of Publius Cornelius Cethegus, the son of Lucius, and of M. Bæbius Tamphilus, the son of Quintus, the interval between whose consulship and the reign of Numa was five hundred and thirty-five years. These books were made of paper, and, a thing that is more remarkable still, is the fact that they lasted so many years buried in the ground. In order, therefore, to establish a fact of such singular importance, I shall here quote the words of Hemina himself—"Some persons expressed wonder how these books could have possibly lasted so long a time—this was the explanation that Terentius gave: 'In nearly the middle of the coffer there lay a square stone, bound on every side with cords enveloped in wax;2 upon this stone the books had been placed, and it was through this precaution, he thought, that they had not rotted. The books, too, were carefully covered with citrus leaves,3 and it was through this, in his belief, that they had been protected from the attacks of worms.' In these books were written certain doctrines relative to the Pythagorean philosophy; they were burnt by Q. Petilius, the prætor, because they treated of philosophical subjects."4

Piso, who had formerly been censor, relates the same facts in the First Book of his Commentaries, but he states in addition, That there were seven books on Pontitical Rights, and seven on the Pythagorean philosophy.5 Tuditanus, in his Fourteenth Book, says that they contained the decrees of uma: Varro, in the Seventh Book of his "Antiquities of Mankind,"6 states that they were twelve in number; and Antias, in his Second Book, says that there were twelve written in Latin, on pontifical matters, and as many in Greek, containing philosophical precepts. The same author states also in his Third Book why it was thought proper to burn them.

It is a fact acknowledged by all writers, that the Sibyl7 brought three books to Tarquinius Superbus, of which two were burnt by herself, while the third perished by fire with the Capitol8 in the days of Sylla. In addition to these facts, Mucianus, who was three times consul, has stated that he had recently read, while governor of Lycia, a letter written upon paper, and preserved in a certain temple there, which had been written from Troy, by Sarpedon; a thing that surprises me the more, if it really was the fact that even in the time of Homer the country that we call Egypt was not in existence.9 And why too, if paper was then in use, was it the custom, as it is very well known it was, to write upon leaden tablets and linen cloths? Why, too, has Homer10 stated that in Lycia tablets11 were given to Bellerophon to carry, and not a paper letter?

Papyrus, for making paper, is apt to fail occasionally; such a thing happened in the time of the Emperor Tiberius, when there was so great a scarcity12 of paper that members of the senate were appointed to regulate the distribution of it: had not this been done, all the ordinary relations of life would have been completely disarranged.

1 This story, no doubt, deserves to be rejected as totally fabulous, even though we have Hemina's word for it.

2 See B. xvi. c. 70.

3 B. xii. c. 7, and B. xiii. c. 31. It was thought that the leaves and juices of the cedar and the citrus preserved books and linen from the attacks of noxious insects.

4 And because, as Livy says, their doctrines were inimical to the then existing religion.

5 Val. Maximus says that there were some books written in Latin, on the pontifical rights, and others in Greek on philosophical subjects.

6 Humanæ, Antiquitates.

7 See B. xxxiv. c. 11.

8 See B. xxxiii. c. 5.

9 He implies that it could not have been written upon paper, as the papyrus and the districts which produced it were not in existence in the time of Homer. No doubt this so-called letter, if shown at all, was a for- gery, a "pia fraus." See c. 21 of the present Book.

10 Il. B. vi. 1. 168.

11 "Codicillos," as meaning characters written on a surface of wood. πιναξ, as Homer calls it.

12 It was probably then that the supply of it first began to fail; in the sixth century it was still used, but by the twelfth it had wholly fallen into disuse.

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