From Homer to Ancient Books --

  a presentation to Kristin Shapiro's Springfield High School 9th Grade class

[Robert Kraft, 09 March 2009]

For myriads of ancient (mostly male) students, learning Greek involved studying Homer
  over a third of ancient texts of identified literature found in ancient Egypt are of Homer
  many are school exercises -- selections, practice passages, word lists, repeated lines, etc.

Students often used single tablets or rough notebooks in the process
  wooden covers with wooden-waxed pages that could be erased easily
  writing implement with a sharp end to write, a flat end to erase
  hinged either vertically or horizontally
  such notebooks were also used by adults, for short texts

More sophisticated copies of Homer and other literature were produced on scrolls
  made of papyrus, or of specially treated leather (parchment, vellum)
  usually written in black ink with reed pens
  unrolled horizontally, with numerous columns
  sometimes held in one hand for easy reading
  sometimes cut apart with the blank back reused for other purposes

Multiple scrolls could be stored or transported in bundles or in a capsa (scroll-box)
  or kept in a cabinet (scrinium) with various shelves and/or compartments
  sometimes little tags or labels identified the contents

The hinged notebook eventually evolved into the "codex" format, such as we now use
  we first learn of such codices about 1900 years ago
  it took the codex about 400 years to replace the scrolls completely for literature
  (the scroll unrolled vertically survived in special uses to the present)