The Oxyrhynchus papyri

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The Oxyrhynchus papyri

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:27 pm

Salvete Romani,

I would've posted this in the *newsflash* topic, but I felt that it diserved a topic of its own.

I'm sure some of you must have already heard about the papyri of Oxyrhynchus. If not, let me explain it to you briefly.

The town of Oxyrhynchus lies in Egypt, about 160 km south of Caïro. In that very town, papyri were unearthed from centuries old garbage piles. The problem however, was translating them. The papyri, old forms of paper made from reeds that grew along the Nile, are fragmentary and fragile, and the pace of translating them and placing them in context is mind-numbingly slow.

Recently however, a new method to translate the papyri has been found. The technology in question, developed at Brigham Young University in Utah, uses a digital camera with a series of ultraviolet and infrared filters. It can increase the contrast between text and background and so is particularly useful in reading texts written on dark, charred or stained surfaces, allowing researchers to see the ink in ways conventional methods cannot.

So far, researchers have succeeded in deciphering a 70-line fragment from a lost tragedy by Sophocles and a 30-line fragment from Archilochos, a Greek soldier-poet who chronicled the Trojan Wars. And there is a newly discovered poem about Narcissus that appears to have been the basis for Ovid's poem on the same subject.

There were plays Euripides, poems of Pindar and Sappho, and some of the earliest documents recording Christianity's spread to Egypt. The gospel of Thomas, for example, records the "Sayings of Jesus" in a manner that some scholars of early Christianity believe is more authentic than the Gospels in the New Testament.

If anything new should come up, I'll post it here.

Valete bene,
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:20 am

Salve Tiberi,

Interesting ! Where did you find this information ?

Vale,

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Postby Q Valerius on Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:09 pm

Where have you been Attice? Did you miss the hype of the Oxyrhynchus' papyri not but a month or so ago? Here's the main site. And about the new imaging techniques, they actually, if I recall correctly, used it first on the library of Herculaneum which suffered from severe burning by ash and soot.

Here are some links to my forum which discussed it briefly.

http://neonostalgia.com/forum/index.php?topic=98.0
http://neonostalgia.com/forum/index.php?topic=58.0

The "new technology" thing back in April was seriously hyped, and nothing yet has come forth from the new technology, or at least nothing has been published yet, but we'll wait and see.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:29 pm

Q. Valerius Scerio wrote:Where have you been Attice? Did you miss the hype of the Oxyrhynchus' papyri not but a month or so ago? Here's the main site. And about the new imaging techniques, they actually, if I recall correctly, used it first on the library of Herculaneum which suffered from severe burning by ash and soot.

Here are some links to my forum which discussed it briefly.

http://neonostalgia.com/forum/index.php?topic=98.0
http://neonostalgia.com/forum/index.php?topic=58.0

The "new technology" thing back in April was seriously hyped, and nothing yet has come forth from the new technology, or at least nothing has been published yet, but we'll wait and see.


Ah, now I see. I didn't miss the 'hype' in April (in fact, I participated in the discussion about the newson this forum at the time), I simply thought these were still more recent finds.

Vale,

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Postby Q Valerius on Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:14 pm

I understand now. I do doubt though that anything will be published until at least several months from now, I'm giving it at least 7-9 months from April before we hear anything more important about it.

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