The Finds: Papyri
Besides Greek and Latin texts, the papyrus collection of the Institute includes texts in the Egyptian language (Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, Demotic and Coptic), in Arabic and even a rare example in Syriac. The material mainly comes from the excavations carried out in various places in Egypt (Hermopolis, Tebtunis, Oxyrhynchus, Ankyronpolis and Antinoopolis), as well as from acquisitions performed over the years, up until the Seventies, on the antiquarian market.
Amongst the texts already published in the PSI series, we point out for their importance the parchments from Antinoopolis (PSI XIII 1296), the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia (PSI XIII 1304), the Euphorion’s fragments (PSI XIV 1390), and the fragment of Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women (PSI XIV 1383). The collection also includes some illustrated papyri (PSI XIII 1370, XIV 1450-1452).
Among the text in Egyptian language belonging to the Institute and already been published, two Hieratic rolls from Tebtunis, really remarkable for their size, stand out: one is dedicated to the glorification of the god Sobek (Copenhagen 1959), and the other contains a mythological manual (Florence 1998).
However, the most relevant part of the collection, from the quantity viewpoint, is made up of the unpublished series of PSI: it includes over 4,000 pieces in Greek, both of literary and documentary content, which span over around 1,000 years, from the Ptolemaic to the Arab period. Particularly interesting are the carbonized fragments of Thmouis, belonging to the lot discovered during the excavations made by Edouard Naville (1892/1893) and subsequently scattered through various collections. Among these texts, glued on cardboards, it is still possible to find many unpublished fragments of a roll, whose central part (coll. LXVIII-CLX) was published a long time ago as P.Thmouis 1. We point out also the fragments belonging to the so called “Ammon’s archive”, even these unfortunately scattered through various places, Köln, Durham (USA) and Florence: two volumes have already been published (Papyrologica Coloniensia XXVI.1 and 2, Opladen 1997 and 2006).
Moreover there are also dozens of Coptic texts, both of literary and documentary content, for which a global study is going to start, and a really considerable number of Hieratic and Demotic fragments, coming from Tebtunis, which are undergoing a very demanding reassembling job since a long time.