Reading the Papyri

Welcome to Reading the Papyri, a web-based project hosted by the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection and designed to give students of Latin and Greek, regardless of skill level, the opportunity to read original, ancient documents online. Ultimately, this project will offer several texts in Greek and in Latin. To continue, select a project below:

Latin 1 - Seneca's Medea

For Latin students of all levels. This project focuses on the task of identifying letters and words in an ancient literary text. The script of this text is very easy for modern audiences to read, which makes it a great starting point for reading the papyri.

Latin 2 - A Private Document

This more challenging project looks at an acknowledgement of debt (P.Mich.inv. 4301) written in a Latin cursive hand. Also, this project explores how a fragmentary text can be reconstructed based on the information available in the text and in other similar documents.

Greek 1 - The Pauline Epistles (P46)

For students of Greek. The book hand of this New Testament codex is easy to read and, in addition to the text itself, this project contains a wealth of background information about New Testament papyri and the famous codex known as P46, the earliest surviving copy of the Letters of Paul.

Greek 2 - Zenon Papyrus

This segment looks at a documentary Greek papyrus, written in a cursive script that is more challenging to read. In addition to the text itself, this project discusses the nature of archives and documents from the ancient world.

A note on Greek fonts: it is our policy to use unicode encoding for all Greek on our webpages. This may cause problems in some browsers. More information about unicode...