This very clearly written Syriac manuscript is a 16th-century Purāš qeryānē d-ṭeṭrā ewangelyon (Gospel lectionary—a book containing the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days). The pages are divided into two columns with 22 lines of text in each. The ink, black for letters and red for titles and diacritical points, has faded very little, so that the writing is in most cases quite crisp. As is common in carefully written west Syriac manuscripts, the main text is in a script called Serto, meaning “line,” which developed in the eighth century. Section titles are in Estrangela, meaning “rounded,” which is the oldest Syriac script, sometimes in blue ink rather than the red just mentioned. Colorful tables with circular ornamentation for the book's readings preface the text, and several other designs and a very ornate title page follow. Syriac is an eastern dialect of Aramaic, which was spoken by Christians in the lands between the Roman Empire and the Arabian Sea from the first century to the 12th century.