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Re: “The Bibliophile

The stuff on which we write is either parchment or vellum, which are sometimes interchangeable. However, the evidence for the etymology of the word seems conclusive in that we look to different languages for fine writing material. In Latin we have Vitellus, in Italian, Vitello. In Frech it is Veau. In the last two citations, we can find the words on menus. It would seem logical to read vellum as calf skin. As for parchment, Oxford scholars feel the name was derived from the settlement of Pergamum, found in Magna Grecia along the southwest coast of Italy. Alas, languages get "dumbed down" to indiscriminate word usage and it would seem that now both writing materials are often interchangeably.

Posted by Robert Lemon on 05/04/2015 at 11:46 AM

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