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Papyrological Institute


Overview of the main research projects at the Leiden Papyrological Institute.

Leiden researcher: F.A.J. Hoogendijk. 
Collaboration with Universität Marburg, Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und Papyrusforschung until 2008, and Universität Heidelberg from 2009 onwards.   

One can imagine the difficulty of reading a 2,000 year old text for the very first time. First editions will therefore almost inevitably include mistakes and misinterpretations. The revision and correction of published texts form an intrinsic part of papyrology. The Berichtigungsliste der Griechischen Papyrusurkunden aus Ägypten is published by the Leids Papyrologisch Instituut in collaboration with coleagues from Germany. It provides a critical overview of all the corrections proposed for the Greek papyri that have been published. From 1952 (vol. 3) onwards the Berichtigungsliste is being compiled in Leiden, with the help of our German colleagues.

So far thirteen volumes of “Berichtigungen” (corrections) have been published (Band I, 1922 - Band XIII, 2017), including a Konkordanz und Supplement zu Berichtigungsliste Band I-VII (1989) and a Konkordanz zu Berichtigungsliste Band VIII-XI (B.L. Konkordanz II) (2007)[The CD-Rom containing Berichtigungsliste Band I-XI (2009) is not compatible anymore with modern computer systems.]

The Berichtigungsliste project has received financial support from NWO, the Kiessling-Stiftung, LIAS, LUF and Brill.

For more information, see the web page Project Berichtigungsliste.

Cisca Hoogendijk received an NWO Internationalisation in the Humanities Grant for the project 'Text in Context: Recontextualising the papyri from Roman Soknopaiou Nesos / Dime (Fayyum, Egypt)'. This project aims to organise an international research network of papyrologists and archaeologists from Leiden, Ann Arbor and Lecce. It will focus the expertise of the partners on an important but thus far partly overlooked collection of Roman-era papyrus texts from the ancient Egyptian village of Soknopaiou Nesos (Dime), leading to the development of new research questions regarding the role of writing in ancient societies.

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Various projects are aimed at the decipherment of unpublished Greek papyri from mostly foreign collections. The publication of these papyri includes a description, transcription and translation, embedding the papyri in their historical, legal, economic etc. context.

Publication of Texts from the Collection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute

Leiden researcher: F.A.J. Hoogendijk. 

The papyri from the own collection of the 'Papyrologisch Instituut' have for the most part been published in the series Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava (P. L. Bat.), starting with vol. I: M. David - B.A. van Groningen - J.C. van Oven, The Warren Papyri (Lugduni Batavorum 1941).  

P. L. Bat. XXV: F.A.J. Hoogendijk - P. Van Minnen, Papyri, Ostraca, Parchments and Waxed Tablets in the Leiden Papyrological Institute (Leiden, 1991) marks the beginning of the systematic publication of texts from the own collection. This edition contains all unpublished papyri with the inventory numbers 1-100. To this date about half of the (mainly Greek) collection has been published.

A working group consisting of Francisca A.J. Hoogendijk and Joanne V. Stolk (Ghent/Oslo), prospective editors, as well as international colleagues and (former) students, has embarked on the decipherment and preparation for publication of part of the remaining unpublished texts. The result should be a book publication similar in size and content to P. L. Bat. XXV, containing editions of Greek, Demotic, Hieratic and Coptic papyri and ostraca and planned to be published in 2020.

Publication of an Archive from Tebtunis Crocodile Mummies

Leiden researcher: F.A.J. Hoogendijk. 
Collaboration with University of California, Bancroft Library, Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, Berkeley.  

Publication of Papyri from the Vienna Papyrus Collection

Leiden researcher: F.A.J. Hoogendijk. 
Collaboration with the Papyrussamlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Wien.

Publication of c. 20 large and small papyrus fragments all coming from the same mummy cartonnage. The texts may be dated to the beginning of the second century BC, providing new information on the stathmoi of soldiers in villages of the Fayum.

From 2010 onwards papyrologists from all over the world are collaborating to contribute texts and corrections to the Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri (DDbDP) in the , through the Papyrological Editor. Leiden participates in this international Integrating Digital Papyrology project. F.A.J. Hoogendijk is a member of the Editorial Board of the DDbDP.

Integrating Digital Papyrology or IDP is a collaboration between the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (DDbDP), the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis (HGV) and the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS). In June 2012 a training exercise was held at the Leids Papyrologisch Instituut focusing on the best use of the Papyrological Editor in order to add data to DDbDP, HGV and APIS.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Louvre, Museo Egizio, Nationalbibliothek Wien, Queen’s College in Oxford and Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Foreseen collaboration with prof. Günter Vittmann (University of Würzburg) and dr. Burkhard Backes (University of Tübingen).

Egyptologists studying legal documents from the Late Period mostly do not venture past the Early Demotic sources. Early Demotic was implemented in the whole of Egypt in the second half of the sixth century BC. In the south of the country, however, people used an entitrely different script, viz. Late Cursive (Abnormal) Hieratic. This was a local, highly cursive script that was replaced by Early Demotic c. 530 BC. At the Papyrologisch Instituut we are working on tools to learn this script, because these are mostly lacking in this domain:

Koenraad Donker van Heel & Joost Golverdingen, An Abnormal Hieratic Reading Book Containing Texts from the British Museum (London), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), the Egyptian Museum (Cairo), the Louvre (Paris), the Museo Egizio (Turin), the Nationalbibliothek (Vienna), Queen’s College (Oxford) and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Leiden), with a Palaeography of Abnormal Hieratic Signs and Sign Groups

In 2013-2015 three fascicles were published:

  • I: Papyri from London, Brooklyn, Cairo and Leiden (2013) 
  • II: Papyri from Paris (2013) 
  • III: Papyri from Oxford, Turin, Vienna & Tablets from Egypt & Leiden (2014) 
  • IV: A Concise Palaeography of Abnormal Hieratic (Gardiner A-M) (2015) 
  • V: A Concise Palaeography of Abnormal Hieratic (Gardiner N-Z) (2015)

Late Cursive (Abnormal) Hieratic is extremely difficult. That is why there are only very few scholars publishing texts (the authors actively publishing at the moment could easily fit into a Fiat 500). Apart from a course at Leiden University students have no opportunity to actually learn this script. We would like to redress this situation. In 2013 a low-threshold online workbook was developed to provide students and colleagues with the necessary support:

A Very Easy Crash Course in Abnormal Hieratic. Being a Step by Step Introduction to the Least Accessible of All Ancient Egyptian Scripts (2013), pp. 1-100

Another helpful tool would be an Abnormhieratisches Namenbuch, which will be a collaboration with prof. Günter Vittmann of the University of Würzburg. Dr. Burkhard Backes (University of Tübingen) has expressed his desire to develop an online dictionary in collaboration with K. Donker van Heel.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with the Louvre and Leiden students/Egyptologists Steffie van Gompel, Petra Hogenboom and Mirjam van Saane.

Systematic publication of the Early Demotic and Abnormal Hieratic papyri from the Eisenlohr Lot (P. Louvre E 7832-7862). Apart from a few remaining texts (P. Louvre E 7849 + 7857A + 7857B, 7859 and 7860) this project is terminated.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with the Louvre.

Systematic publication of the Abnormal Hieratic archive of the choachyte Petebaste son of Peteamunip (P. Louvre E 3228A-H), at the request of the Louvre. Publication foreseen in P.L.Bat. in 2018-2019.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with Museo Egizio and prof. Sven Vleeming (University of Trier).

Systematic publication of an Abnormal Hieratic archive archief in Turin, at the request of prof. Sven Vleeming.

Leiden researchers: K. Donker van Heel, P. Hogenboom.

Why did the Egyptians of the Late Period used two different scripts, with two underlying different legal traditions and management cultures? How did these scripts interact? Where do they come from? What are the similarities and what the exact differences? This new, exciting research will be carried out by Petra Hogenboom in order to obtain her PhD degree.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

The ancient Egyptian women enjoyed remarkable rights, especially if compared to the surrounding world. Can we pinpoint these rights? And if a single papyrus from c. 1900 BC shows that a couple could forge intricate legal deals to give the wife access to her husband’s capital, does this mean we can extrapolate this to the entire 3,000 year history of ancient Egypt? Probably not, and this will be the subject of an intended new course Women’s Rights in Ancient Egyptian Papyri. Spring 2014 also saw the publication of K. Donker van Heel, Mrs. Tsenhor.A Female Entrepreneur in Ancient Egypt at the American University in Cairo Press. This research field is far from exhausted. At this moment Koen Donker van Heel is working on a book about the women in Deir el-Medina. The manuscript is due in 2018.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with C.J. Martin (London) and dr. S. Lippert (CNRS, University of Montpellier).

The Papyrologisch Instituut offers an annual course in Ancient Egyptian Law for law students, Egyptologists and other audiences. Much of the work that we do includes legal papyri. An agreement was reached with dr. Sandra Lippert to deliver an English translation of her magistral Einführung in die altägyptische Rechtsgeschichte (2008).

Leiden researchers: K. Donker van Heel, Mirjam van Saane (intended).

Collaboration with prof. Michel Chauveau (Sorbonne, EPHE IV) and dr. Damien Agut-Labordère (CNRS, University of Nanterre).

The French excavations at Ayn Manawir (Khargah Oasis) have brought to light many hundreds of Demotic ostraca. Most of these will be made available in a large database. Koen Donker van Heel has been invited to do a meticulous check before publication.

Leiden researcher: K. Donker van Heel.

Collaboration with Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum, etc. Publication of individual texts and (biligual) archives.

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