Bronze stilus from Frankfurt, 1st to 3rd century AD


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Bronze style for writing on wax tablets. The tip of the pen was used to write on a thin layer of beeswax mixed with pitch, which was applied to the wood; the writing could be seen very well in the relatively dark “wax”. In addition, the melting point of this mixture increased significantly, so that the writing did not melt even in warmer climates and the document was thus unintentionally destroyed. Since the scribes often pressed the stilus more firmly than necessary, it is sometimes still possible to decipher the impressions left in the wood in preserved wooden tablets, although the “wax layer” has almost always disappeared in the ground. At its upper end, the stylus has a widening that was used to cross out minor spelling errors in order to be able to overwrite them. The great mass of the Stili was made of iron and was decorated with non-ferrous metal inlays. Original in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, 1st-3rd century AD. Length 10.9 cm.

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