Reading the Text

The next several pages will give a close-up look at each line from the text. As you go through the text, keep a piece of paper handy to write down the letters you think you see. If you need help reading the text, there are several tools available to assist you:

The Alphabet Pop-up Window

If you need to refer to the alphabet of the document, click on the link to open a new window with the various letter forms. Don't be surprised to see some minor variation between different instances of the same letter. The shape of some letters, such as e, may vary drastically depending on its position in the text. This text contains some ligatures, strokes of ink connecting successive letters, and this also helps to alter the appearance of some letters. Take time to inspect the letters, use the tools available to identify them, and recognize the fundamental shape that is persistent in each letter.

The Highlighted Text Option

If you are still having difficulty identifying a letter, click the "Show Highlighted Text" button. This will illuminate the ink in various colors; this helps distinguish one letter from the next, which can be especially difficult when the letters are ligatured. Once you've highlighted the text, read the line again to see if any more letters become clear to you.


Once you've done your best to read the text yourself, you can check the transliteration by clicking on the "Show Transliteration" button. This transliteration is the version of the text that is published by Bruckner and Marichal. It contains the letters and punctuation of the original text as well as various symbols used by papyrologists to explain various aspects of the text. Below is a brief explanation of a few of these symbols:

( )

resolution of a symbol or abbreviation.

[ ]

a break in the text (lacuna); the text is supplied by the editor

. . .

(underdot) indicates an uncertain reading

Accompanying Notes

Each line is accompanied by notes which offer additional information about any palaeographical or textual points of interest in that particular line. The notes, like the other features, are originally hidden from view in order to allow the reader first the opportunity to read only the text of the papyrus. Try to read the line first, then use whatever assistance is necessary to decipher the text before viewing the notes.

Next: Line 1

Copyright 2004 The Regents of the University of Michigan.
Reading the Papyri is produced by the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection
These pages designed and written by Terrence Szymanski. email: