Backspace is glad to announce that Michael Burke will be
teaching a great class right here in Venice. He'll be teaching how
to make "pugillare", a type of Roman wax tablet. A full description
is below. For details or to reserve your space, email me,
Roman Wax Tablet (Two Day Class)
Weekend of July 7
The Roman wax tablet, or pugillare, is the original Roman PDA. It was
used for all sorts of written material of the time, from tax invoices
and shopping lists to poetry. Letters were often sent in this form to
soldiers at the frontiers of the empire. Hundreds of examples of such
tablets have been found along Hadrian's Wall in England, in the
ancient Roman town of Vindolanda. They were made of many types of wood.
Our wax tablet book will have one front cover and one back cover, and
up to three internal pages, making a pentaptych. The front and back
covers will be pre-routed to make the going easier for participants
to get their construction underway. Further pages can then be made in
a similar manner.
The wooden panels will be routed, sanded, burnished and surface-
waxed. The panels will then be filled with molten beeswax colored
black with soot. This model has a structure that is based upon an
original Roman wax tablet on display at the British Museum.
The front cover design is plain flat board on the outside and
recessed on the inside. The back cover design is exactly the same as
the front one but is used as a mirror image in the book. Each
internal page is recessed on both faces. The leaves are hinged
together using a strong thread which passes through holes in the
outer frame of the boards.