Object of the Month

Here, another special text from the collection will be introduced every month.

Release of a Convict

P. 11532 (SB I 4639) In some ways it may be surprising that this document of the Greco-Roman period is one of the most discussed papyri in Berlin. The content of this piece, bought by Friedrich Zucker in Giza 1909,… Read More

Tax Receipt for a Sacrificial Calf

BGU III 718 (P. 7882) „Small but nice“ – that could probably be said about this papyrus. Because this small and unimpressive tax receipt has to offer some special surprises that only catch the eye when you look closely. The… Read More

Mummy label of a very old woman

SB I 1194 (ÄM 11846) This small, rectangular wooden tablet is the mummy label of a 96-year-old woman named Senpetermuthes, who lived in Egypt in the 3rd century AD. The mummy label contains the same text in Greek language on… Read More

Note of Debt

P. 8977 (SPP III2.2 129) The exhibit gives an example, how surviving textual witnesses refer to daily and common procedures and nonetheless include peculiarities which bring up questions unsolved. Its provenance, the Nubian Gebelên, was guaranteed by the notation of… Read More

Mathematical Tasks

P. 11529 V The calculation of surface areas, diagonals and volumes did not only cause problems at school today, because mathematics was an important part of teaching even in ancient times. Therefore, tasks with accompanying solutions were always welcome. For… Read More

Speeches of the Emperor Claudius

BGU II 611 (P. 8507) Watching an emperor at work: On this papyrus there is a copy of two senatorial speeches of the Roman Emperor Claudius, which deal with reforms of the Roman law courts. Claudius, who was born on… Read More

Private Letter of a Soldier

BGU II 423 (P. 7950) This letter from a soldier to his father is something very special. He was found in Egypt, but originally comes from Italy. Since there is no date in the text, it can only be dated… Read More

On the Didactics of Surgery

BKT III, S. 22–26 (P. 9764) How should a doctor and above all a surgeon be trained? This is the question which is being treated in this fragment of a papyrus scroll that contains an otherwise unknown treatise on the… Read More

Epigram about the Origin of Homer

O.Wilck. 1148 = BKT V.1, S. 78f. (P. 4757) Even in ancient times writing had to be learned. But then people did not use pen and paper, but e.g. a potsherd (now called ostracon) and a kalamos, as can be… Read More

Homer Iliad 21–23

P. 16985 Homer is one of the most famous Greek poets of all time. Everyone has heard of his two works, the Iliad and the Odyssey. On these fragments of papyrus, of which only some of the larger ones can… Read More