Thursday, June 2, 2022

Alexandrian Documents from the Reign of Augustus

Alexandrian Documents from the Reign of Augustus

In 2007, I launched a website for Original Documents from Ancient Alexandria, where one can still find various bibliographies (now somewhat outdated) and other helpful tools (such as a list of measures and containers and their modern equivalents). I also included the English translation of five related documents, with a promise to add more such translations in the future. I have now finished the translation of all published documents from Alexandria from the reign of Augustus that derive from cartonnage found at Abusir el-Melek in the Heracleopolite nome and that were mostly published by Wilhelm Schubart in BGU 4. The program used to generate the website is no longer available, and I therefore had to design a new, more sober website. The translations are presented in paragraphs and come with line numbers (preceded by |) to allow users to compare the Greek texts in the Papyrological Navigator. I have also incorporated several corrections (mostly from the BL), which are flagged by a reference in parentheses in the translation itself, and such parentheses are also used for the occasional explanation (e.g., of a measure) or addition to make it easier to follow the translations. Corrections of my own will be published in Korr.Tyche.

Each translation comes with a lemma, which flags other editions than the one used, other translations, scans, and other texts on the same papyrus as the translated text. Users will know which re-editions will be worth consulting, and they will also be able to figure out which language is used in the other translations. No links to scans are given, just a vague indication (links can be found at The scans are almost always superior to published plates, which I have therefore not listed. I have access to a few more unpublished scans from Berlin and Warsaw (including the National Museum), which I expect to be added to their respective websites in the future. The description of what else is on a papyrus (and where exactly) is based in most instances on inspection of the originals in Berlin, sometimes of scans of papyri now in Cairo. For assistance with my work in Berlin I thank Günter Poethke and Marius Gerhardt. I would also like to thank the Loeb Classical Library for a fellowship that helped put the project back on track.

The literature referred to in the lemmata can be traced with the help of the bibliography.

For the translations arranged by edition (BGU 4.1050-1059, 1098-1184, plus a few stray items in other publications such as SB) click the numerical list of texts.

For an overview of the content of the texts click the alphabetical list of topics.

I have now (2022) added English translations of all Alexandrian synchoreseis not from the reign of Augustus and not retrieved from the cartonnage from Abusir el-Melek. Most of these are addressed to the archidikastes. I have not seen any of the originals of these texts, and I have been far less precise in rendering them (in only a few I have numbered each individual line). In some cases I used already rather accomplished translations (as in P.Oxy., flagged as “ET,” English translation, in the lemmata) as the basis for my translation. I have left out some old favorites long believed to be synchoreseis. I may return to all of these texts in a future article. I also added one new text to the Alexandrian documents from the reign of Augustus (P.Cair.Gad 8)

For the translations of the synchoreseis not from the reign of Augustus, arranged by edition (BGU through SPP), click the numerical list of texts

For an overview of the content of the synchoreseis not from the reign of Augustus (rather different from that of the Augustan documents retrieved from cartonnage from Abusir el-Melek) click the alphabetical list of topics. 

For a geographical list of provenances where the synchoreseis (if issued by the authorities in Alexandria) were taken by one of the parties concerned, or where copies were made, click the alphabetical list of provenances

The bibliography is the same as for the Alexandrian documents from the reign of Augustus.  

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