Double Documents

Inventory 3196 is an example of a "double document": the entire text is copied, word-for-word, twice on the same papyrus:

In the ancient world, many texts carrying legal weight were written as double documents. The lower portion would be folded and sealed, while the upper portion would remain open and readable. This format allowed the text to be consulted, but protected against potential fraud by preserving an unaltered version of the document under seal. If one of the parties attempted to alter the text of the upper portion, then this could be checked against the original, sealed, lower portion of the papyrus.

For more information about double documents and seals in the papyri, visit the collection's exhibit, Breaking Ancient Seals.

<< Back: Features of the Zenon Papyrus