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Papyri

TCD Pap. D.3

TCD Pap. D.3

The Manuscripts and Archives Research Library holds an important collection of Greek papyri, ranging from the 13th century BC to the 7th century AD. The majority of these came from the excavations of Sir W. Flinders Petrie, in Egypt, during the 1880s. A cemetary, excavated in 1890 at Gurob, in Egypt, yielded mummy-casings composed of torn scraps of papyrus. These fragmentary papyri consist of literary works, letters, wills, legal records, bills, petitions, financial records, mortgages, architects’ correspondence, and decrees, ranging from 262 to 200 BC.

The most visually impressive papyri in the collection (MSS 1658-1676) are the papyri known as the Egyptian "Books of the Dead".

There are three other elements in the Library’s papyri collection:

  • Pap. Oxyrhynchus from the excavation in Oxyrhynchus in 1895
  • Pap. Gr.273-301, the Lycopolis papyri (from central Egypt on the Nile, dating from 2nd century BC)
  • A small number of texts of the Roman and Byzantine periods, of unknown provenance, many of which have been edited by Brian McGing in Greek papyri from Dublin (see below)

Highlights of the papyrus collection include a report on the Third Syrian War, dated c. 246 BC (Pap. C.16); a local Egyptian calendar, dated 3rd century BC (Pap. F.99-103); and Plato, Laches 189 D-E (Pap. F.8a), dated 3rd century BC, over 1000 years older than the earliest parchment authority.

Catalogues and Reference Works

E. Hincks, Catalogue of the Egyptian Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College Dublin (Dublin: Whitaker, 1893)

The Flinders Petrie papyri with transcriptions, commentaries and index, Royal Irish Academy, Cunningham Memoirs 8, 9, 11 (Dublin: Academy House, 1891-1905); these volumes are being republished systematically by Dr Willy Clarysse as The Petrie Papyri: (P. Petrie 2) (Brussels : Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie, 1991)

B.C. McGing (ed) Greek Papyri from Dublin (P. Dub) (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt, 1995)

B.C. McGing and H.W. Parke, "Papyri" in: Treasures of the Library, Trinity College Dublin (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy for Trinity College Library, 1986), pp. 29-37