Papyrus was sold in large quantities in the form of bales or rolls from which sheets could be cut off as required. The size of the sheets ranged from 6 or 7 inches up to about 18 to 20 inches. The better grades were more brownish in color.
One common characteristic of papyrus, regardless of quality, is the difference between the two sides of the sheet, which stems from the strips being at right angles to each other. The recto side, on which the strips run horizontally, was the side generally preferred for writing, while the verso, which had vertical strips, was less frequently used. A material as pliable as papyrus was well suited to be rolled. and when this was done the recto became the inner side and the verso, with no writing, the outer side.
The greatest use of papyrus as a writing material was between the 4th century B.C. and the 4th century A.D. (192 , 218 , 236 )