Papyrus is one of 31 Rare Resources in the game and, if present on a map, available from the beginning. It appears as a group of bright green papyrus plants (Cyperus papyrus) with some tools, tables and papyrus papers nearby. Like all rare resources on land, Papyrus can be gathered by sending a Merchant from the Market to the resource location. Papyrus gives the following benefits:main article. Also note, that Knowledge is not gathered before the Classical Age, with one exception: The Greeks may gather Knowledge from the beginning, making an early exploitation of this resource more useful.
Papyrus is one of five rare resources that reduce research cost, with the other four being Dye, Furs, Silk and Silver. The 25% cost reduction is quite significant, saving a nation considerable amounts of Wealth and Knowledge, if connected early in the game.
Fragile but useful, papyrus is produced from flattening the fibres of a marsh plant originally found in Egypt into thin sheets which can then be written upon with ink. With the advent of Imperial Rome, the knowledge of cultivating and processing papyrus was soon spread to the rest of the classical world. The Arabs who conquered Egypt understood the value of papyrus as it was cheaper albeit not as lasting as parchment. Papyrus and parchment were used in parallel with one another until the art of papermaking had been learnt from the Chinese in the 10th century.