Papyrology is the study of ancient literature, correspondence, legal archives, etc., as preserved in manuscripts written on papyrus, the most common form of writing material in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Papyrology includes both the translation and interpretation of ancient documents in a variety of languages and the care and preservation of rare papyrus originals.

Joseph von Karabacek (1845–1918), a leading authority in the field of papyrology

Papyrology as a systematic discipline dates from the 1890s, when large caches of well-preserved papyri were discovered by archaeologists in several locations in Egypt, such as Arsinoe (Faiyum) and Oxyrhynchus. Leading centres of papyrology include Oxford University, Heidelberg University, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Leiden University, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, University of California, Berkeley and the Istituto Papirologico "G. Vitelli" connected to the University of Florence. Founders of papyrology were the Viennese orientalist Joseph von Karabacek [de] (Arabic papyrology),[1] Wilhelm Schubart (Greek papyrology),[2] the Austrian antiquarian Theodor Graf [de] who acquired more than 100,000 Greek, Arabic, Coptic and Persian papyri in Egypt, which were bought by the Austrian Archduke Rainer,[3] G. F. Tsereteli, who published papyri of Russian and Georgian collections,[4] Frederic George Kenyon,[5] Ulrich Wilcken, Bernard Pyne Grenfell, Arthur Surridge Hunt[6] and other distinguished scientists.

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  1. ^ Jane Turner, The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries, 1996, p.548
  2. ^ The Harvard Theological Review, Harvard Divinity School 1941, p.220
  3. ^ Glenn W. Most, Disciplining Classics: Altertumswissenschaft als Beruf, 2002, p.192
  4. ^ Bobodzhan Gafurovich Gafurov, Yuri Vladimirovich Gankovskiĭ, Fifty Years of Soviet Oriental Studies, Institut narodov Azii (Akademii︠a︡ nauk SSSR) 1968, p.11
  5. ^ Leo Deuel, Testaments of Time: The Search for Lost Manuscripts and Records, Knopf, 1965, p. 335
  6. ^ Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, The Journal of Jewish Studies, Jewish Chronicle Publications, 1974, p.420

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