However, despite the iconographic tradition of depicting scrolls as being rolled and written vertically, most contemporary scrolls were written to be read left-to-right (or right-to-left, depending on the language), and text was broken up into columns or "pages". Once a section was finished being read, it could be rolled up behind the part of the scroll held in the left hand. Thus, ancient scrolls were more often oriented like a modern Jewish Torah scroll than the stereotypical "town cryer" scroll of popular imagery. Additionally, texts were almost always written in what we would call "capital letters" (actually known as "majuscule"), with no spaces in between letters, sentences, or paragraphs. Why? Papyrus, parchment (sheep skin), and vellum (calf skin) were incredibly expensive and labor intensive. Papyrus only came from Egypt. Parchment or vellum took the entire skin of a calf or sheep to make a single page. Thus, scribes did not have the luxury of wasting any material. What we now might call "lowercase" ("minuscule") Greek writing was only developed in the 9th and 10th centuries in Byzantium. An intermediate script was known as "uncial", which is what most early Christian codexes (early books) were written in. Uncials were majuscules, but more rounded.
- Petroski, Henry (1999). The book on the book shelf. London: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Howard, Nicole (2009). The book: The life story of a technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Greek minuscule (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2013 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minuscule_Greek (Note: Nicole Howard publication confirms information).
- Uncial script (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2013 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncial_script (Note: Nicole Howard publication confirms information).
- Icon of St. John the Divine. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from: http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2010/05/book-of-revelation-introduction.html
- Source: Plate XXII. The S.S. Teacher's Edition: The Holy Bible. New York: Henry Frowde, Publisher to the University of Oxford, 1896. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Codex_sinaticus.jpg