The History of the Discipline

James G. Keenan

in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199843695
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 The History of the Discipline

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Papyrology
  • Historical Archaeology


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This article suggests that a strong case can be made for dating the beginning of papyrology to 1752, the year in which papyri were first discovered at Herculaneum. Nevertheless, perhaps because papyrology came to be associated with Egypt and related documents, not Italy and philosophical texts, papyrologists came to identify 1788 as marking the beginning of their discipline. In that year Danish classicist Niels Iversen Schow published a Greek papyrus that recorded a series of receipts for work performed in 193 ce on the irrigation dikes in the Fayyum district of Egypt. The credit for the first modern edition of an integrated series of papyri goes to Amedeo Angelo Maria Peyron. An enormous boost to papyrology is owed to the discoveries of Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. The rest of this article considers papyrus cartels and international organizations.

Keywords: Egypt; papryrology; Herculaneum; Italy; Niels Iversen Schow; Bernard P. Grenfell; Arthur S. Hunt; papyrus cartels

Article.  9524 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Papyrology ; Historical Archaeology

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