Artemidorus Ephesius

Artemidorus of Ephesus (Greek: Ἀρτεμίδωρος ὁ Ἐφέσιος; Latin: Artemidorus Ephesius) was a Greek geographer, who flourished around 100 BC. His work in eleven books is often quoted by Strabo. What is thought to be a possible fragment of his work is considered by some scholars to be a forgery.

Artemidorus of Ephesus
Papiro Artemidoro.jpg
Artemidorus papyrus
Bornfl. 100 BC
Scientific career


Artemidorus of Ephesus wrote around 100 BC a geographical treatise presumably composed of eleven books, as such the longest work on the topic to date. The work is now mostly known though citations from Strabo (early 1st c. AD) and Pliny (1st c. AD), supplemented by Stephanus of Byzantium (6th c. AD). Artemidorus seems to have seen in opposition to Eratosthenes, possibly attempting to update the work of the earlier scholar by providing much greater detail.[1]

The Artemidorus papyrusEdit

In 1998, the discovery of a papyrus thought to contain book 2 of Artemidorus' Geography was announced; the editio princeps was published in 2008.[2] It is known as the Artemidorus papyrus; it also contains the first map of the Iberian peninsula, and many illustrations.[3]

This 10-foot (3.0 m) long papyrus roll was written in the first century BC, maybe in Alexandria. The copyist left spaces for illustrations of maps, and then sent it to a painter's workshop to have them inserted. But the painter designed only a partial map, which appears to be what the author believed was the shape of the southwestern Iberian peninsula.

The map is incomplete and has no names, and is perhaps the wrong map for the space in the papyrus. This ruined the roll. Instead the blank spaces were used as scrap papyrus for rough drafts, and to keep a catalog of drawings for clients. The drawings include pictures of real animals, such as giraffes, tigers and pelicans, as well as mythical ones, such as the griffin, marine snake, or a dog with wings. In addition, pictures of heads, feet and hands were drawn until there were no blank spaces.

The papyrus was then presumably sold as scrap paper. It was found in the early 1900s in the form of cartonnage, as a filling for some kind of cavity (Konvolut). The cartonnage was sold to an Egyptian collector in whose hands it remained for fifty years. It then travelled around Europe, before being bought by a German collector who opened it and discovered the remains of the papyrus roll. It has holes in it, but because it got damp at some stage, even when there are holes, the drawings on those parts of the papyrus have been mirrored on the facing part of the roll.

The papyrus – which was bought by a foundation for $3,369,850 – is now owned by Turin's Banco di San Paolo.

A 2007 study by Canfora[4] asserts that the text of the papyrus cannot be by Artemidorus as it contains words not available except in Byzantine Greek, and that the papyrus may be a forgery, perhaps by Constantine Simonides. Richard Janko, in Classical Review 59.2 (2009) pp. 403–410 has offered arguments favoring the case for forgery.

On 20 July 2016, following a report submitted by Luciano Canfora on 28 October 2013, the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office initiated preliminary investigations into the allegation of fraud. On 29 November 2018, the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office requested the dismissal of criminal charges against the antique dealer Serop Simonian who sold the papyrus in 2004.[5][6] On the basis of circumstantial evidence —page 33 of the investigative report (in Italian): "quanto meno sulla base di elementi indiziari gravi, precisi e concordanti"— the Prosecutor concluded that the papyrus is a forgery of the 19th century and that Simonian's fraud of 2004 cannot be prosecuted due to the lapse of the prescriptive period, although the Prosecutor's report does not state the antique dealer was aware of the alleged forgery.[5] The investigation was carried out without new scientific tests on the papyrus and without seeking the advice of any other experts in ancient history, archaeology and philology apart from Canfora.[7]

On 16 June 2019, the results of yet unpublished spectroscopic analyses were announced by the Italian TV program Report, which stated the presence of hexagonal diamond in the ink of the Artemidorus papyrus.[8][9] Journalist Giulia Presutti and restorer Cecilia Hausmann claimed that "the hexagonal diamond is an element [sic] that is found in nature only in meteoric rock in Sri Lanka or Canada", "consequently, not in Egypt" and "it is an industrial product that appeared more or less in the 19th century". Although presented by classicist Federico Condello[10] as the ultimate evidence of falsity of the papyrus, these claims are unfounded. Hexagonal diamond, another name for lonsdaleite, was first identified in 1967 in samples from Meteor Crater (Arizona).[11][12] Since then, it has been found in other places where Meteorites striked the Earth, notably in Germany,[13] Russia,[14] Egypt.[15] The technology to artificially produce lonsdaleite —more difficult to produce than Synthetic diamonds— was tested in the second half of the 20th century and in the 21st century.[16][17][18]


  1. ^ Roller 2016, pp. 256–257.
  2. ^ D'Alessio, Giambattista. "On the 'Artemidorus' Papyrus". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 2009.
  3. ^ Cf. C. Gallazzi, B. Kramer, S. Settis, Il papiro di Artemidoro, con la collaborazione di G. Adornato, A.C. Cassio, A. Soldati. Milano, Led edizioni, 2008, ISBN 978-88-7916-380-4
  4. ^ Luciano Canfora, The True History of the So-called Artemidorus Papyrus. Bari, Pagina, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Il papiro di Artemidoro". Altalex (in Italian). 6 December 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ Giusteti, Ottavia (10 December 2018). "Il Papiro di Artemidoro è un falso. Venne pagato quasi tre milioni di euro". La Repubblica (in Italian). Divisione Stampa Nazionale. GEDI Gruppo Editoriale S.p.A. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Papiro di Artemidoro, dichiarato falso ignorando la comunità scientifica. Spataro ha sentito solo il parere di Canfora". Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Report – S2018/19 – L'Intesa sul papiro – 16/06/2019 – Video". RaiPlay (in Italian). Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  9. ^ Official transcript from the RAI website: [1].
  10. ^ F. Condello. "Il test conferma: il papiro non è di Artemidoro". Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  11. ^ Hanneman, R. E.; Strong, H. M.; Bundy, F. P. (24 February 1967). "Hexagonal Diamonds in Meteorites: Implications". Science. 155 (3765): 995–997. doi:10.1126/science.155.3765.995. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17830485. S2CID 31626060.
  12. ^ Frondel, C.; U.B. Marvin (1967). "Lonsdaleite, a Hexagonal Polymorph of Diamond". Nature. 214 (5088): 587–589. Bibcode:1967Natur.214..587F. doi:10.1038/214587a0. S2CID 4184812.
  13. ^ "Handbook of Mineralogy" (PDF).
  14. ^ Baek, Woohyeon; Gromilov, Sergey A.; Kuklin, Artem V.; Kovaleva, Evgenia A.; Fedorov, Alexandr S.; Sukhikh, Alexander S.; Hanfland, Michael; Pomogaev, Vladimir A.; Melchakova, Iuliia A.; Avramov, Paul V.; Yusenko, Kirill V. (13 March 2019). "Unique Nanomechanical Properties of Diamond–Lonsdaleite Biphases: Combined Experimental and Theoretical Consideration of Popigai Impact Diamonds". Nano Letters. 19 (3): 1570–1576. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04421. ISSN 1530-6984. PMID 30735045.
  15. ^ Avice, Guillaume; Meier, Matthias M. M.; Marty, Bernard; Wieler, Rainer; Kramers, Jan D.; Langenhorst, Falko; Cartigny, Pierre; Maden, Colin; Zimmermann, Laurent; Andreoli, Marco A. G. (15 December 2015). "A comprehensive study of noble gases and nitrogen in "Hypatia", a diamond-rich pebble from SW Egypt". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 432: 243–253. arXiv:1510.06594. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.10.013. ISSN 0012-821X. S2CID 56076460.
  16. ^ Bundy, F. P.; Kasper, J. S. (1967). "Hexagonal Diamond—A New Form of Carbon". Journal of Chemical Physics. 46 (9): 3437–3446. Bibcode:1967JChPh..46.3437B. doi:10.1063/1.1841236. ISSN 0021-9606.
  17. ^ He, Hongliang; Sekine, T.; Kobayashi, T. (16 July 2002). "Direct transformation of cubic diamond to hexagonal diamond". Applied Physics Letters. 81 (4): 610–612. doi:10.1063/1.1495078. ISSN 0003-6951.
  18. ^ Bhargava, Sanjay; Bist, H. D.; Sahli, S.; Aslam, M.; Tripathi, H. B. (18 September 1995). "Diamond polytypes in the chemical vapor deposited diamond films". Applied Physics Letters. 67 (12): 1706–1708. doi:10.1063/1.115023. ISSN 0003-6951.

Further readingEdit

  • Il Papiro di Artemidoro (P. Artemid.) - Gallazzi C.-Kramer B.-Settis S. edd., LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2008, ISBN 978-88-7916-380-4
  • Artemidorus Ephesius. P. Artemid. sive Artemidorus personatus – Canfora L. ed., Ekdosis, Edizioni di Pagina, Bari, 2009, ISBN 978-88-7470-089-9

External linksEdit