The Cologne Papyrus Portal
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hammerstaedt | Research Unit for Papyrology, Epigraphy and Numismatics - Cologne Center for eHumanities
Funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts
The Cologne Papyrus Collection, one of the most important of this kind worldwide, includes approximately 10,000 items, mainly fragments of papyri and parchments (ca. 8,000 items), but also around 500 ostraca (potsherds covered with short texts written in ink) and a small group of lead and wooden tablets. The vast majority of them are Greek texts, but the collection also houses hundreds of Egyptian writings in Demotic and Coptic, and a few Latin, Arabic and Aramaic texts. Most of them come from Egypt where they were written during a time span of more than a thousand years, from the time of Alexander the Great through to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods until the Arab conquest of Egypt in the seventh century CE. Ancient literature, often parts of the oeuvre of well-known authors such as Homer, Archilochus, Sappho, Alcaeus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Plato and Cicero as well as biblical or other religious texts, are comprised in the corpus. However, documentary texts, e.g. writings from everyday life such as legal documents, fragments of official or private correspondence, prescriptions, receipts, school work, etc. make up the majority of the collection.
The objective of this project, funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts and implemented in cooperation with the Cologne Center for eHumanities, is to facilitate and promote the study of these original antique texts by making the contents of the Cologne Papyrus Collection available in a searchable, open access database.
High-resolution images of approximately 3,500 items, as well as metadata of about 4,300 texts (information on origin, date and contents) are now accessible online. The aim is for the Cologne Collection to be available not only to papyrologists, but to anyone who is interested in studying original texts that shed light on many facettes of ancient culture, including literacy and linguistics, finance, administrative and legal history, and social life.
Text: Charikleia Armoni
Institut für Altertumskunde: apl. Prof. Dr. Charikleia Armoni; Dr. Natalia Vega Navarette; Riccardo Vecchiato, M.A.
Cologne Center for eHumanities: Marcel Schaeben; Ulrike Henny-Krahmer; apl. Prof. Dr. Patrick Sahle; Peter Dängeli; Ben Bigalke