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Special Collections & Archives: Oxyrynchus Papyriaccredited archive service logo

SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.

Oxyrhynchus papyri

15 of the Oxyrhynchus papyri formerly held by the University Library have been reunited with five held in the Garstang Museum, part of Libraries, Museums and Galleries. 

Excavated in 1903 by Arthur Hunt and Bernard Grenfell, the Oxyrhynchus papyri are one of the most important collections discovered since the recovery of papyri began in the mid-18th century. They give an extremely rich insight into everyday ancient life and business, and include such diverse remains as private letters, certificates, receipts, contracts, verses, Old and New Testament passages, the ground plan of a house and many other writings in Greek, often illustrated, which make the papyri an invaluable source for the study of 1st- 7th century AD Egypt.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 859

LUL OP 859 (VI, 168)

3rd century. Poetical fragments of hexameter lines in bold and very clear letters of the sloping script common to the third century. Noticeable features include the extremely rare word αλαβωδης (only otherwise known from Hesychius), mentions of Stymphelus (a plain in ancient Arcadia) and of Talaus, son of Bias and king of Argos. Image of reverse.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 977

LUL OP 977 (VI, 320-321)

AD 253. Conclusion of a document relating to the payment of 800 drachmae, possibly for the purpose of the collection of a tax (the φορος of an ασχολημα), containing date and signatures.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1090

LUL OP 1090 (VIII, 121-123 & plate V)

late 1st century. Fragments of Hesiod from the late first century. The deep margin of 7.4cm at the top is partially preserved, but the last few lines have disappeared due to the decomposition of the papyrus. Faint indications remain of two more verses, below which the column may have been contained for another five lines. Image of reverse.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1140

LUL OP 1140 (VIII, 239)

AD 293. Order for the payment of one artaba (αρταβη – an oil-makers’ measure of wheat or other cereals) of λαχανοσπερμον (lachanon-seeds, a type of garden herb). Addressed from Seuthes to the cultivator Sarapion, with instructions to give a donkey-driver named Heraclius the artaba.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1164

LUL OP 1164 (VIII, 268-269)

6th or 7th century. A letter from minor local magnate Theodosius to a comes (κομης – the head of an administrative division or chief court official) named on the verso as Peter. The letter concerns a dispute for a camel which was claimed by both their respective subordinates: due to the fact that both sides could produce witnesses testifying that the camel belonged to them, Theodosius recommends Peter to order them to select a neutral arbitrator, agreed on by both sides, to settle the dispute. Theodosius also offers to ensure that they all abide by whatever judgment the arbitrator gives. Letter of Theodosius. 6th or 7th century.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1195

LUL OP 1195 (IX, 216)

AD 135. A declaration made under oath by Hermaeus, son of Hermaeus and inhabitant of Hermopolis, to appear on the following day before a judge delegated by the praefect Petronius Mamertinus to try a case. The nature of the case is not stated, the only information given is that it is against another Hermaeus, the son of Apollonides.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1226

LUL OP 1226 (X, 11-12)

late 3rd/early 4th century. Theological fragments of psalms vii and viii, written in a round upright script of medium size. It is written stichometrically, i.e. as prose, though written in lines of differing length which correspond to units by sense and phrasal rhythms. The initial letters of each line (in this case, each stichos – στιχοσ)have been slightly enlarged. It provides some use as an early affirmation of some readings which have previously rested on inferior authority. Image of reverse.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1303

LUL OP 1303 (X, 257-259)

circa AD 336. Beginning of a declaration of an oath addressed to [Φαλουιω Παρανιω -Phlaouios Paranios?] from an unnamed weaver (linouphos –λινουφοσ), through the agency of [’Αφθρονιου ̕Eσιχιου - Aphthonios Hesichios?]

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1306

LUL OP 1306 (X, 257-259)

presumably AD 214-15 though in terms of paleography AD 182-3 would also make sense. Application sent by Aurelius for the επικρισις ( judgment) of his son.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1309

LUL OP 1309 (X, 257-259)

February 5th AD 198. 12 lines of the end of a document recording a supplementary payment to the state of 1,925 drachmae.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1314

LUL OP 1314 (X, 258)

4th or 5th century [?]. Ends of eight lines of a Latin writing exercise, containing the words quadringentos octoginta sex tantum, υπς, repeated eight times. On the verso are the words λοιποι παραχωρ-. Image of reverse.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1320

LUL OP 1320 (X, 257-259)

AD 497. The first line nines of an acknowledgment of a debt incurred in consequence of a purchase of wine, the price of which had either not been fully paid or not paid at all.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1321

LUL OP 1321 (X, 257-259)

AD 48-9. Receipt for rent for the months from Pachon (its seasonal name being the First of Shemu, literally harvest - the season corresponding to summer) to Mesore (the fourth of Shemu) of the 8th year, and from Thoth (the first of Aket – literally inundation, the months of floods and rains) to Tubi (the first of Peret – literally growth, the season corresponding to winter) of the 9th year. All according to the Egyptian calendar.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1322

LUL OP 1322 (X, 257-259)

AD 413. 11-line receipt for 94 dipla of wine.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus OP 1345

LUL OP 1345 (X, 262)

late 2nd or 3rd century. Fragments of 10 lines from the end of a letter written across the fibres.

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