Bibliography on papyri

by Peter van Minnen

General introduction:

P.W. Pestman, The New Papyrological Primer (revised edition; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994): $40

This gives an excellent introduction to every aspect of papyrology and the study of Graeco-Roman civilization in Egypt, including language and writing. It contains a large number of Greek texts, a number of well-chosen plates, an index of subjects, an extensive glossary and some bibliography. A basic knowledge of Greek is required. Some subjects related to archives of papyri are treated more extensively in the two following books: P.W. Pestman a.o., Familiearchieven uit het land van Pharao (Zutphen: Terra Publishing Company, 1989) and W. Clarysse & K. Vandorpe, Zénon, un homme d'affaires grec à l'ombre des pyramides (Leuven: Universitaire Pers, 1995).

R.S. Bagnall, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History (London & New York: Routledge, 1995): $15.95

This attractive book (no knowledge of Greek is required) shows ancient historians how to use papyri in writing about the social and economic history of the ancient world. It does so by discussing examples of the intelligent use of papyri from recent publications.

Selection of Greek texts with translations:

A.S. Hunt & C.C. Edgar, Select Papyri 1-2 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press & London: Heinemann, 1932-1934): $16.95 each

Introductions to the art of papyrology:

The three following publications give a good idea about what papyrologists are doing with their time. The first is especially good on the study of literary papyri.

E.G. Turner, Greek Papyri: An Introduction (revised edition; Oxford: Clarendon Press 1980)

E.G. Turner, The Papyrologist at Work (Durham: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 1973): $4 + $ 3 postage and handling; write to: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, Box 90109, Durham, NC 27708-0109

H.C. Youtie, "The Papyrologist: Artificer of Fact", Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 4 (1963) 19-32

Literary papyri :

E.G. Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World (revised edition; London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1987)

G. Cavallo and H. Maehler, Greek Bookhands of the Early Byzantine Period (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1987)

C.H. Roberts, Greek Literary Hands (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955)

R. Seider, Palaeographie der griechischen Papyri 3.1 (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1990)

Full bibliographies:

O. Montevecchi, La papirologia (revised edition; Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 1988)

I.F. Fikhman, Vvedeniye v dokumentalnuyu papirologiyu (Moscow: Nauka, 1987)

H.-A. Rupprecht, Kleine Einführung in die Papyruskunde (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994)

NB: A French "bibliographie raisonné" on papyrology is available from Louvain-la-Neuve

Greco-Roman Egypt:

A.K. Bowman, Egypt after the Pharaohs (revised edition; London: British Museum Press and Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990; new edition in preparation; also in paperback)

This gives an authoritative one-man statement on Graeco-Roman civilization in Egypt. It contains a large number of well-chosen plates of archaeological objects found in Egypt, but hardly any papyri. No knowledge of Greek is required. The Ptolemaic and early Roman periods are treated separately in the following three books for which no knowledge of Greek is required either:

N. Lewis, Greeks in Ptolemaic Egypt (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986; also in paperback) N. Lewis, Life in Egypt under Roman Rule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983; also in paperback) R.S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993; new edition in preparation; also in paperback).

For the sixth century one has to go back to a well-illustrated older book: G. Rouillard, L'administration civile de l'Egypte byzantine (revised edition; Paris: Geuthner, 1928).

(adapted from: The Beginning of Understanding: Writing in the Ancient World, Ann Arbor 1991: $10 + $3 postage and handling; write to: The Kesley Museum of Archaeology, 434 S. State Street, Ann Arbor MI 48109-1390; (c) The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, reprinted with permission)

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Last updated by Peter van Minnen on 10/26/95