Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1901-1902

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Progress of Egyptology.


Spiegelberg contributes many valuable notes on and .additions to
Daressy's Catalogue of the ostraca of the Museum of Gizeh, 0. L. Z. v. 307.


The Berlin Museum has issued a magnificent volume representing its
collection of demotic papyri, in ninety-nine large plates of fac-similes. The
introductory text, written by Professor Spiegelberg, gives a very full
account of the contents of the papyri, and his name is a guarantee for
scholarliness and precision in the work. The Berlin collection of demotic
papyri was begun by the acquisition of the Ptolemaic rolls from Thebes in
Passalacqua's collection, and these possess the special interest of being the
material of Brugsch's earliest schoolboy studies in demotic. Lepsius'
expedition obtained several papyri of the time of Darius I. and others of
Ptolemaic age; and Brugsch secured for the Museum several important
papyri, chiefly of Eoman age. Like all others, the Berlin collection shows
serious gaps. The bulk is composed of legal documents, in winch class the
Louvre doubtless stands pre-eminent as having by far the most perfect
series to illustrate all periods. At Berlin there are none of the early
periods except that of Darius, nor any of the age of the Macedonian king's^
or of the first two Ptolemies; and of the first century b.c. there is practi-
cally nothing. The periods best represented are: the beginning of the
fifth century b.c., 230-98 b.c., and 50-200 a.d. No important literary
papyri exist in the collection, but there are good funerary texts, also texts
relating to the magic virtues of plants and stones, horoscopy, and
astronomy. One magical papyrus is particularly interesting as being
dated as early as the reign of Philadelphus; the others are all of Eoman
age. Since Brugsch's studies of half a century ago, and Ptevillout's about
1880, little has been done with the demotic papyri of Berlin. Professor
Spiegelberg throws entirely new light on most of the documents treated.
In the case of the Darius papyri, it would be difficult for the non-demotist
to believe that the former translations can really profess to be from the
same papyri, several of which were attributed, most strangely, to the
reign of Artaxerxes. It is to be hoped that the publication in fac-simile
of so large a number will attract many students to this interesting but
difficult script. Hand copies are vexatious, and can only be used with the
greatest caution. Even the skilful fac-similes by Weidenbach in Lepsius'
Benkmaler are very misleading. The photographed fac-similes are almost
as good as the originals, and are far more convenient for prolonged study.
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