Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1892-1893

Seite: 30
DOI Artikel: 10.11588/diglit.10054.6
DOI Seite: 10.11588/diglit.10054#0045
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Progress of Egyptology.

character of the additional material which has now been gained for the
history of Graeco-Roman Egypt.

Putting aside the special class of papyri which contain magical
formula? and incantations, the documents here in question include both
official and private papers. Among them are census-registers, tax -
valuations and_receipts, petitions for redress of injuries, official corre-
spondences, private accounts of receipts and expenditure, legal records,
leases, sales, wills in short, every variety of business document, both
public and private. Taken individually, each of these papers is of little
interest; but collectively they form the material out of which a picture
of the life and internal economy of Egypt can be reconstructed. Together
with the ostraka, of which very large numbers are already known, they
hold the same position as the inscriptions on stone which have done so
much to help modern historians of Greece and Eome. We have already
acquired some insight into the internal organization of Egypt during the
Ptolemaic, the Eoman, and the Byzantine periods, and as more docu-
ments are yearly discovered and published, it may soon become possible
to reconstruct the system under which the native of Egypt lived beneath
his foreign governors. The Berlin papyri include a considerable number
of census-returns, made at regular intervals of fourteen years, wherein the
head of each house records the names and possessions of himself and all
his family ("). Other returns, made annually for the purposes of taxation,
and, if necessary, of requisition, give the number of camels belonging to
each individual ('"). A large papyrus in the British Museum contains
tax-assessments in respect of gardens and orchards owned by residents in
Thebes (1S) j another is the account-book of the bailiff of a farm near
Hermopolis, showing the daily employments of labourers during a great
part of the year, and thus giving a vivid picture of the habitual life of
the native of that part of the country ("). All of these documents show
a portion of the life of the Egyptian; and the magical papyri show a
portion of his thought. Collectively they form a not unimportant chapter
in the long history of the country, which, from the time of Herodotus to
the present day, has possessed an extraordinary fascination for all who
have been brought into contact with it.

Nor should it be forgotten, in conclusion, that the recent discoveries in
Egypt have revealed a whole new province in Greek palaeography. The
first fruits of these discoveries have already appeared in the chapters
bearing on this subject in Mr. Maunde Thompson's new handbook of
palaeography (l5), which cover a ground practically untouched in any
other work as yet published, either in England or on the Continent.
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