Papyrology is a branch of Classical Studies at large. It’s primary tasks are the identification and editing of hitherto unknown literary and documentary texts written in Greek and Latin, as well as the philological and historical interpretation of these texts. From the focusing on Greek and Latin texts follows a chronological limitation to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods in Egypt, i.e. from Alexander’s conquest 332/331 BCE up to about 700 CE, when Greek as the main language of administration was replaced by Arabic. In general, these periods are combined under the header “The Greek Millennium”. Although there are myriads of texts known in other languages (Hieratic, Demotic, Coptic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic etc.) from this same millennium, the editing of these texts is generally allotted to other disciplines, e.g. Egyptology or Arabic and Islamic Studies. Luckily, during the past couple of decades an ever growing sense for the need of interdisciplinary cooperation has emerged. This welcome tendency can be observed especially for the online-project Trismegistos whose organizers try to overcome modern chronological, linguistic and regional limitations. For a very short introduction to papyrology see: Wikipedia

Further Reading

  • U. Wilcken, Grundzüge und Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde. Band 1: Historischer Teil, Leipzig 1912.
  • W. Schubart, Einführung in die Papyruskunde, Berlin 1918.
  • K. Preisendanz, Papyrusfunde und Papyrusforschung, Leipzig 1933.
  • E. G. Turner, Greek Papyri, an Introduction, Oxford 21980.
  • O. Montevecchi, La Papirologia, Milano 21988.
  • P. W. Pestman, The New Papyrological Primer, Leiden 21994.
  • H.-A. Rupprecht, Kleine Einführung in die Papyruskunde, Darmstadt 1994.
  • R. S. Bagnall, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History, London-New York 1995.
  • R. S. Bagnall (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, Oxford-New York 2009.

Major series and volumes of editions

In general, already published texts are not cited according to inventory numbers assigned by the collection but according to the scribal abbreviation (Sigle), consisting of some abbreviation of the published volume and the number of the text within this volume. The abbreviations are standardised and can be found in the Checklist. Texts published in journals or other publications not included in the checklist are recapped in the Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Aegypten (SB).

Major series and volumes concerning the Berlin collection:

  • BGU = Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Königlichen (später: Staatlichen) Museen zu Berlin, Griechische Urkunden, Berlin, Bd. I (1895) – Bd. XX (2014).
  • BKT = Berliner Klassikertexte, Berlin, Bd. I (1904) – Bd. X (2012).
  • P.Berl. = Since P.Berl.Schmidt was published in 1842 several volumes of editions from various other authors have been printed with the abbreviation P.Berl. + Name of the editor.
  • SB = Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Aegypten, Bd. I (1913–1915) – Bd. XXIX (2016).
  • O.Wilck. = U. Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka aus Aegypten und Nubien, 2. Bde., Leipzig-Berlin 1899, reprint Amsterdam 1970 with additions by P. J. Sijpesteijn.
  • P.Eleph. = O. Rubensohn, Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Königlichen Museen in Berlin: Griechische Urkunden, Sonderheft. Elephantine-Papyri, Berlin 1907.
  • UPZ = U. Wilcken, Urkunden der Ptolemäerzeit (ältere Funde), Bd. I: Papyri aus Unterägypten, Berlin-Leipzig 1927, Bd. II: Papyri aus Oberägypten, Berlin 1935–1957.