Not many manuals of palmomancy have survived from antiquity, but we do have a fine one in Manchester: P. Ryl. I 28. The Rylands treatise occupies a very special position in the history of such literature, because it is one of the earliest, and one of very few extant copies, and because it was fabricated as a small codex, measuring about 7.5 x 6.6 cm. P. Ryl. I 28 was classified by E. Turner in his ‘group 11’ of codices (‘miniature codices’), a definition that has since been applied to early codices measuring less than 10 cm. Another intriguing feature of Ryl. I 28 is its handwriting, which can be classified as a sample of the so-called ‘Biblical majuscule’, a writing canon that developed from the second to the ninth century AD and was especially but not exclusively adopted for Biblical manuscripts. Dating to the fourth century AD, our papyrus is another proof of how misleading is to separate neatly the interests, readings and writings of people living in late antiquity.
Read more at Faces & Voices: People, Artefacts, Ancient History.