Friday, May 25, 2012

By the Book

Bible and all other related words, such as bibliography, had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book". It comes from the Greek bublos, "Egyptian papyrus",  from the name of the Phoenician port Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. 

Byblos was also the port closest to the mountain cedar forests of Phoenicia (current Lebanon), so it was the port through which cedar exports flowed. In a list of the accomplishments of Pharaoh Snefru, who reigned over Egypt in 2600 B.C., is the notation, "he brought 40 ships filled with cedar logs." Pharaoh Snefru is better known as the Egyptian king who had the bent pyramid constructed.

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