Monday, October 28, 2013

Digitized Papyri at the British Museum

Posted on the Medieval manuscripts blog and on a number of mailing lists
28 October 2013

Precious Papyri

The British Library holds one of the most significant collections of Greek papyri in the world, including the longest and most significant papyrus of the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens, unique copies of major texts such as Sophocles’ Ichneutae, and the Egerton Gospel, as well as a wide range of important documentary papyri from Oxyrhynchus, Aphrodito, Hibeh, Tebtunis, and the Fayum.  The Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum was at the forefront of the new discipline of papyrology at the turn of the nineteenth century, and many of our predecessors are well-known to anyone who has ever consulted a text preserved on papyrus:  Kenyon, Bell, and Skeat, to name just three.
Latin deed of the sale of a slave boy, Papyrus 229 (P. Lond. I 229)
Today, we are happy to announce that selected key papyri have been digitised and are now available to view on Digitised Manuscripts, along with completely new catalogue descriptions.  Five papyri are available online now, and two more items will appear in the coming weeks (watch out for a separate post here on our blog!).  The items now online are:
Papyrus 229 (P. Lond. I 229):  Latin deed of the sale of a slave boy, retaining the seals of its signatories
Papyrus 1531 (P. Oxy. IV 654/P. Lond. Lit. 222):  Fragment of the Gospel of Thomas, in Greek
Fragment of the Gospel of Thomas, Papyrus 1531 (P. Oxy. IV 654/P. Lond. Lit. 222)
Papyrus 2052 (P. Oxy. VIII 1073/P. Lond. Lit. 200):  Fragment of Old Latin Genesis, from a parchment codex
Papyrus 2068 (P. Oxy. IX 1174/P. Lond. Lit. 67):  Sophocles, Ichneutae
Egerton Papyrus 2 (P. Lond. Christ. 1/P. Egerton 2):  The Egerton Gospel
Fragment of a Gospel, Egerton Papyrus 2 (P. Lond. Christ. 1/P. Egerton 2)
(A note on shelfmarks:  The British Library’s method of referencing papyri is according to inventory number. This does not always correspond to the number by which the papyrus is more widely known in its published catalogue, be that P. Lond., P. Oxy., or other.  The catalogue entries on Digitised Manuscripts give full cross-references for papyri for ease of use.  Further details on how to match inventory and catalogue numbers can be found in the British Library’s Manuscripts Collection Reader Guide 4: The Papyrus Collections.)
- Cillian O'Hogan

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