Parchment

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Parchment is a material for the pages of a book or codex made from fine calf skin, sheep skin or goat skin.

According to classical Roman sources, parchment was "invented", by Eumenes of Pergamum, around the 3rd century BCE, although the Ionian Greeks had been writing on animal skins as early as the 5th century BCE. This replaced Egyptian papyrus as demand rose, and the reed-based material became more expensive.

Parchment also had the virtue that, in emergency, it could be scrubbed and scoured until blank and then, as a palimpsest, reused (albeit at the cost of the original text).

Later, by the 11th century CE, the Moors of Spanish Andalucia had imported, via the Arabian countries, a Chinese invention, paper, and parchment slowly began to go out of favour.

Calfskin parchment is more familiarly referred to as "vellum".

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