Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning thirty-four centuries of written records. The alphabet developed out of the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic and many other writing systems.
The written items in the collection are on papyrus and vellum. At one point, there was a ban on teh export of papyrus, so the Greeks began to use vellum/parchment as an alternative. It is a mixture of legend and fact that the word parchment is based on the word 'Pergamon', the city where it was first used and that parchment was so important that a herd of cattle was reared there specifically for the production of the material. It is accepted that the Greeks were the first to use the wax-tablet with a stylus as they were great bee-keepers. In the collection are items in metal, such as seals, a slingshot of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II, and a bread stamp that was stamped on the side of a loaf (like Hovis today) and bore the name of the baker, the owner or possibly a God. My favourite item, apart from the papyrus, is the Hellenistic inkwell. Inkwells are fascinating items and although through much of their history from Egypt to the present day they are simply a container full of ink with a hole in which a pen is inserted to collect the ink, the variety of sizes, shapes and colours is enormous and I can well understand those who simply concentrate on collecting them, although the choice of an area to in which to specialise must be frustrating.


  • Davies Antiques
  • M. Ayers
  • James Ede
  • Jane Stewart
  • Alan E. Cole