THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

06 August 2015

Greek and Latin papyri acquired since 1956

Papyrus_3053_f001r
Papyrus 3053. Drawing of a bear in the arena. Found at Oxyrhynchus among documents dating from the third century.

Details of newly-acquired papyri were historically recorded in the Catalogue of Additions published at periodic intervals over the years. The existing Catalogue of Additions series only includes papyri acquired before 1956. It had been intended to detail the later acquisitions in a future volume of the Catalogue of Additions, but as these are no longer published, the papyri (Papyrus 2923-3136, and Egerton Papyrus 37) have not been as widely known as they perhaps might be. In an effort to bring them to greater attention, we have compiled a short Register of Papyri Acquired since 1956, which can be downloaded here as an Excel file. This gives details of British Library inventory number, details of publication where that is known, a Trismegistos number if extant, notes of any other papyri that originally formed part of the same document or book, source and date of acqusition, and a brief description of contents. All items are in Greek unless noted otherwise: this list does not include any papyri in other languages that may have been acquired by Asian and African Collections. Demotic and hieroglyphic papyri are cared for by the Department of Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum.

Only one item has been digitised, Papyrus 3053 (P. Oxy. 2470, pictured above), but all these papyri would be included in any future digitisation project.

The bulk of the acquisitions are known to scholars, forming a large portion of the Hibeh Papyri (Papyrus 2943-3035), Volume 27 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (Papyrus 3036-3063), and many of the Michaelides papyri (Papyrus 3100-3132), though not all of the latter have been edited. In addition, other acquisitions, or items incorporated from “limbo” or transferred from other departments in the British Museum or British Library, are mostly fragmentary, but would certainly benefit from further study.

We are not aware of any current research being carried out on the items in this list, but always welcome details of editions, and offprints, where possible, which can be sent in the first instance to the Manuscripts and Maps Reference Team.

- Cillian O’Hogan

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