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

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Progress of Egyptology.


an interesting collection of papers, relating1 to certain affairs in the
temple of Sexapis, at Memphis, came to light, and was divided by the
discoverers between various purchasers, the greater number falling to
London and Paris. These documents belong to the Ptolemaic period,
being dated in the 2nd century n.c. In 1877 the first great discoveries
in the Fjuyiim were made, and thenceforward the site of the Greek town
of Arsinoe and its neighbourhood has been the chief source whence
papyri have mnde their way to the leading libraries of Europe. Those
first discovered belonged to the Byzantine period of Egyptian history,
especially to the 6th and 7th centuries: but within the last three
years a vast quantity of papers of the Roman period have come to light,
covering the first 250 years of the Christian era. On the other hand, tho
papyri discovered by Prof, Flinders Petrie in the Gurob mummy-cases,
and published (with the literary text already mentioned) by Dr. Mahaffy,
carry back our knowledge to the 3rd century before Christ. Writings
of the 1st century b.c., are, strangely enough, entirely wanting as yet,
and the period from a.d. 250 to a.d. 500 is but scantily represented ;
but for the rest of the nine centuries, from about 270 b.c. to a.d. 640, we
have now an immense quantity ofrnaterial, most of which still requires to
be published, sifted, and reduced to order.

The documents embodying this material arc, for the most part, divided
between Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and London, the two foimer collection
being by far the largest in point of quantity. So far as appears at present,
Berlin is strongest in the Roman period, Vienna in the Byzantine,
London and Paris in the Ptolemaic. The British Museum has the best
collection in one rather special department, that of magk^alj}apyri, and it
has also the largest and most perfect individual documents of the Roman
period. Paris has the longest single magical papyrus, and is also strong
in a particular class of Byzantine documents. No museum is complete
in itself, and the publication of the contents of all is urgently needed. A
volume containing the texts acquired by the British Museum up to the
end of 1890 is on the point of appearing, with an atlas of facsimiles (6).
The Paris papyri have mostly been published iu various periodicals by
Dr. Wessely of Vienna (7). The same earnest student of the papyrus-
literature has published several of the papyri in the great collection of
the Archduke Rainer at Vienna C), and is also responsible for the Greek
section of the recently issued Guide to that collection (9). Finally, the
publication of the Berlin papyri has just begun, under the able direction
of Professor U. \Vilcken, Dr. Fr. Krebs, and Dr. P._Viereck ('"). Much
still remains to be done, but it is beginning to be j>ossible to estimate the
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