Write with Roman ink
Before computers and tablets all writing had to be done by hand, in fact writing has been around for about 6,000 years! Early writing used pictures to represent objects called 'pictograms'. The two earliest types of pictograms were 'cuneiform', used by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) and 'hieroglyphs' used by the Ancient Egyptians. Alphabets developed over time. The one that we use today in the UK developed from the Roman alphabet. The Romans used to write on papyrus with pen and ink.
Try this activity to make your very own Roman Ink and have a go at writing with it!
Adult supervision is not required for this activity.
Ages : Suitable for all ages.
Time Required: 5 minutes to make the ink and as long as you like to have a go at writing with it!
Carefully measure out 5 teaspoons of soot into your mixing pot
Add 2 teaspoons of gum to the soot and stir gently (the gum will help the ink to stick to the paper)
Add 4 teaspoons of vinegar to the mixing pot
Mix the soot, gum and vinegar together until you have a smooth and fairly runny (and inky) mixture
You have now made your Roman ink. Now have a go at using it to write messages to your friends!
Carefully dip the end of your quill or drinking straw into your ink. Don't try to get too much onto the quill at once, otherwise will clog up.
You're now ready to start writing!
For that authentic Roman touch use our Latin Phrases sheet to have a go at writing some Latin phrases
- 5 teaspoons of soot (if you don't have an open fireplace you could try calling a chimney sweep, or you can use black powder paint)
- 4 teaspoons of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of gum arabic (you can buy this in most art shops)
- Mixing pot and stirrer (Plastic cup and spoon)
- A feather quill (or a drinking straw with one end cut to a point)