What is parchment?

What Does parchment Mean

About thirty kilometers from the Aegean Sea , in the territory of what is now Turkey , there existed in ancient times a city called Pergamum . In this land, the technique for cleaning and conditioning animal skins was perfected and popularized in such a way that they can be written on. Those already treated skins soon began to be called scrolls .

A parchment , therefore, is a skin that can be written on . The term, which has its etymological origin in the Latin pergamīnum , is also used to name the document that has been developed on one of these skins .

For example: "The archaeologists found an ancient scroll that describes the development of a religious ceremony" , "The preservation of the scroll was a real challenge for specialists" , "The king did not hesitate to send the scroll to his brother, who was exiled in the Lands of the North ” .
Many are the scrolls of great value that have existed throughout history. However, among all of them we must highlight a set. We are referring to the well-known Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in the late 1940s and are considered to be the oldest biblical testimonies that have survived to this day.
Of this group of documents, these characteristics are worth highlighting:

-It is made up of a total of 972 manuscripts.

-It is also known as Qumran scrolls, because they were found in the caves of this name, in the Dead Sea.

-They are dated in the period between 250 BC and 66 BC

-Most of the texts are in Hebrew and Aramaic, although some are written in Greek.

-Currently they are part of various museums in the world such as the Rockefeller in Jerusalem, the Israel Museum or the Archaeological Museum of Amman.

-Among the most important scrolls of this group are the Damascus Document, the Book of Tobias, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs or the Book of Enoch.
To create a parchment, it was necessary to clean the skin of the animal (usually a cow), removing the fur and successive layers until only the dermis was left . After this process, the skin was stretched and its thickness was reduced. The scrolls, over time, managed to replace the papyri , made on the basis of a plant and many more fragile.
In the field of literature, we find numerous works that revolve their plots around some mysterious scrolls. This would be the case, for example, of the historical novel "The parchment of seduction", written by Gioconda Belli. In this, a historian and a young woman in a convent, through various documents, thoroughly investigate the figure of Juana la Loca, to discover if she really fell in love or was the subject of dark plots.

At present, the notion of parchment is also used to name the professional or other background of a subject: "The new foreigner hired by the Unión y Esperanza Club has great scrolls: he played in Spain and in the NBA . "
Finally, Pergamino is the name of a city and a party in the Province of Buenos Aires ( Argentina ).

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