Report on Papyri Purchased from Dr. Kondilios: March 8, 1927

March 8, 1927

As these papyri belonged to the collection bought jointly in 1925 by Columbia, Michigan, and the British Museum and were acquired mainly to complete the earlier purchase, they have been treated as distinct from the other papyri bought by me in Egypt, and it seems better to confine the division to the three institutions which shared in the 1925 purchase. I am therefore reporting separately on them.

The papyri, which form the residue of the main collection, are naturally very much inferior to those bought in 1925. Only a few are complete; many are small scraps, which in normal cases would hardly be worth buying, but the great importance and wide diffusion of the Zeno archive make it advisable to secure every fragment, and the price paid for the present collection is not unreasonable. There are some good accounts, two or three literary fragments, and a fair number of pieces either of substantial size in themselves or belonging (or likely to belong) to papyri already acquired by the contributors or other bodies. As before, the Zeno papyri largely preponderate, but there are a few of the later Ptolemaic period and a good many of the Roman (one or two Byzantine).

I have not been as successful as I hoped in finding connexions between these fragments and those bought previously from Dr. Kondilios. I have not made any sustematic attempt to find such connexions with Zeno papyri (elsewhere than in the British Museum) acquired from other owners. This is work which can quite well be done after the distribution, but it was important before dispersing the collection to identify all fragments, whether of the new purchase or in the older stock of the British Museum, which belonged together. I took each fragment singly, comparing it successively first with all those in the new collection and then with (1) those acquired by the British Museum from Dr. Kondilios in 1925, (2) those similarly acquired by the University of Michigan, (3) those acquired by the Museum from Kondilios in1921, (4) those acquired by the Museum from Nahman in 1919 and 1921 and from Ali Abd el Hari in 1911, (5) those bought by Michigan in New York in 1925 and deposited in the Museum for Mr. Edgar's use. Those assigned to Columbia from the 1925 purchase were sent to Prof. Westermann in 1926, but he hopes to compare the new fragments with them in June when he comes to London, for which reason I propose to leave the collection undivided till then. Before I left Cairo Mr. Edgar went rapidly through it and noted several connexions with papyri previously acquired. One or two Cairo fragments which fitted fragments in this collection he presented to us, and we in return allowed him to take one or two which fitted fragments at Cairo.

In the following desciptions I have noted all connexions so far discovered. To help in identification direction of the writing with respect to the fibres is specified. An obelus indicated that the condition of the edge suggests that more of the papyrus may be extant elsewhere; but some cases of identification in the present collection show that even a frayed or worm-eaten edge is consistent with the existence of other fragments of the papyrus concerned.

H. I. Bell

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Last modified: 03/21/2014