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The Capsa

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I saw a sad mural of a Capsa, the round scroll box, some philosopher who I now forget the name of had to lug about. He was sitting next to it, full of scrolls.


I started wondering just how many works you could actually fit on a scroll. Using front and back, and I presume leaving a end portion of the back unwritten on for the cover.... maybe specially treat it to make it dust or water resistant there, as well as wear and tear. I really can't tell however from the scrolls size wise how much info you can cram into it. Could a Capsa for example, hold all of Plato's and Aristotle's works, or just Plato's Republic? I dunno, but before smart phones and tablets, I must of been the last idiot philosopher around dragging a knapsack of books with me to philosophy discussions. Literally, I did.... every debate would get tangential, so I would bring every book on every discussion I thought would pop up. I was a very poor Cynic starting off in philosophy, sleeping in the rain, but had a addiction to reading that the library couldn't cover, and kept a library and desk in a small storage bin. If I had to work, switch out my books (short attention span, jump between books a lot, many at a time before I start pondering and set them aside for a while) and change of clothes if I had to go to work. It looked a bit like a office with a clothes rack on top the desk.


All those books given away now. Its why I like my kindle, no fuss. I don't need to maintain anything, and will always have those books as long as amazon is around. Plus less shame in owning too much stuff. Its a sad and hipocritical aesthetic to calculate buy.... I still own a billion books in a sense, and a high luxury item, but.... I'm a hipocrite and I like it. Just wish it had infinite power, this kindle.


The link above suggests, completely unknown to me, that ancient scrolls didn't come with the little toilet paper bar in the middle of them, which I didn't expect, but now makes sense. I guess the Capsa was made to ship with the Papyrus inside, packed blank to max capacity inside, then sent to the docks, stacked and shipped. The home port would receive, and take it to market. You would as the perspective buyer pop it open, look inside, examine a roll or two, strut around like a rooster in front of the shop with different Capsa designs to see what fit your style best.


Bring it home, drop it next to your couch or table. When you need to write, test it out on a wax tablet, or scrapping piece of parchment, then apply what you like to the more permanent scroll.


I understand why Plotinus was notorious for his bad spelling and crappy calligraphy now.... he could naturally explode into discourse, filling his mind and writing it well paced, but needed a actual scroll length to do it with.... trying to tweak it would cause him to change it, and it would fall away from the general surrealist flow of his near automatic writing, and perhaps the ends he aimed. So he knocked at a scroll at a time, perhaps saying to himself "I will go pee, then eat a sandwich at the end of this" and shoved the scroll into the Capsa. Capsa after Capsa stacked one another after a while. Some would have old sandels in them, or old sandwiches long forgotten.


I'm glad that era is gone. There might be a few holdouts, too elderly to change, or too impoverished in Africa dragging books in milkcrates or backpacks all over.


I still carry my Black REI Daypack with me, but it rarely has more than a book or two inside (unavailable in electronic format) and my kindle, and a ungodly amount of change in the top pocket. I don't know why I got so many Nickle and Dimes.


I can imagine some guy carrying around a Capsa, with it slung against His hip, with the coins bouncing back and forth on the bottom, thinking to himself he only has a few more miles to walk.... and where in the heck is there a drinking well around?

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