Historic inks

Write like the romans did.How this works, see here...

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Historic inks

The Romans used ink and quill to write on papyrus and parchment. The writing pencil, the so-called calamus, usually was a small pipe, a canna, made out of organic material like bamboo. Hence, it is no surprise that very few originals from the antique period survived. They broke and decomposed quickly and already in antiquity they were cheap and relatively easy to replace.
However, the Romans also used metal calami, made out of iron or bronze which imitated the organic pencils. Of course, the metal ones were more expensive and durable.

Archaeology reveals the recipe for historic ink

Historic ink, the so-called atramentum, was taken from inkwells, atramentaria, made from metal, ceramics, or glass. Rarely we also find bronze or lead atramentaria. Most are cylinders with a small hole on top which can be closed. The hole is big enough for a quill to pass through and pick up the ink. Only a few years ago, one of these antique inkwells had been discovered which contained enough ink so that the scholars could retrace the chemical recipe of the ink, so that they were able to reconstruct the original ink.

This recipe is now used by the Roman-Shop and makes it available for you to create your own historic ink. It consists of russ and Arabic rubber. Go and explore in our Roman-Shop the wide variety of antique inks that we supply. We sell all ingrediences so that you can start developing your own historic inks which is also available in various colours. You can also buy the quills and any other related product.

Antique writing kits

An entire antique writing kit comprises an inkwell, a quill, a small knive to sharpen it, an ink stone an a matching rubber stone to prepare the ink. All these items had been stored in a small leather bag (theca calamaria) or a wooden casket. Archaeological evidence and paintings from the Medieval period prove that the writings sets have not only been used at home, but also carried on journeys.

Our authentic reproductions make such full sets available.