In the 90 years since its discovery the unique text of this papyrus (known as P. Michael.4), has defied simple identification. Known as the "Inundation" papyrus, it may be a fragment of an Ancient Greek novel. It describes the annual flooding of the Nile in poetic language. 1/5
"... An area thirty stades in circumference it embraces with Egyptian soil and weaves together with a piling up of black mud. Now this area is a promontory with Poseidon and Nile on either side. It seems to me that around this area human nourishment came into being...." 2/5
Merkelbach in 1958 identified it as a previously unrecorded section of the geographies of Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 - c. 476 BC.), the first recorded Greek geographer. 3/5
On the other hand, the style of the language suggested to Murray & West that it may be part of an otherwise unknown literary work. Santoni placed it in the tradition of Stoic philosophy, and the authorship of Chairemon of Alexandria, the Graeco-Roman tutor to Nero. 4/5
The most recent publication, that of Stephens and Winkler, focusses on the address in the first person to create a narrator, and concludes it might be part of an Ancient Greek novel. They have assigned it the title ‘Inundation’. 5/5

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More from @incunabula

23 Apr
Today is #StGeorgesDay. St George is one of the most important of all saints in the Ethiopian Church, revered for his martyrdom, and especially for his survival through repeated tortures - he was, above all, one tough 'ol boy.... 1/ #hardtokill
As we progress through this Ge'ez codex of the Life & Miracles of St George, despite multiple impalings, hangings, beatings, roastings and stabbings, St George remains still only mostly dead. And as "The Princess Bride" taught us, mostly dead is still slightly alive.... 2/
Sadly though, in the end actual decapitation was too much to bounce back from, even for St George.... 3/
Read 7 tweets
18 Apr
This is potentially a cultural tragedy happening as we watch in horror - I know this library quite well - if it has indeed been destroyed, the losses are incalculable, from incunables to priceless Africana.
This is the main Cape Town afternoon newspaper. Their ongoing coverage is here:…
As a young man, I spent many happy hours in the Jagger library. Aside from priceless early materials, this is one of the great repositories for archives & documents of anti-colonial and liberation movements in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. This is irreplaceable material. Image
Read 28 tweets
14 Apr
The Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong ("Eighty-Thousand Tripiṭaka") is a Korean collection of the Tripiṭaka (Buddhist scriptures), carved onto 81,258 wooden printing blocks in the 13th century. 1/
It is the world's most comprehensive and oldest intact version of Buddhist canon in Hanja script, with no known errors or errata in the 52,330,152 characters which are organized in over 1496 titles and 6568 volumes. 2/
Each wood block measures 24 centimeters in height and 70 centimeters in length. The thickness of the blocks ranges from 2.6 to 4 centimeters and each weighs about three to four kilograms. 3/
Read 22 tweets
12 Apr
"After the 15th century, Hebrew printed matter barely existed [...] until the 1800s."

This disgracefully, comically, ignorant new article on @atlasobscura by @K_Chernick should be withdrawn to avoid further embarrassment for all concerned.…
A good overview of the vast, enormous, gigantic, immense, mammoth, cosmically colossal range of Hebrew printing between 1500 and 1800 can be found here:
Aside from the bizarre misreading of the entire history of Hebrew printing, the article's fundamental premise is wrong: large wooden type in what the author calls "the ancient Levantine script" is not rare - you can buy buckets of it every day on eBay and elsewhere. 1/2
Read 15 tweets
2 Apr
A fragment from the Good Friday Liturgy from a sacramentary showing an expert late-stage development of Visigothic Minuscule, probably from northern Portugal, or just possibly Toledo, copied circa 1130-1170. 1/4
The two most immediately distinctive Visigothic minuscule letter formations are both used here:
1. the 'g' in egredientur on the recto and in agrestibus on the verso.
2. the 'z' in azymos on the verso. 2/4
The text is from the Vulgate: Hosea and Exodus from the Sacramentary for Good Friday. 3/4

Recto: Hosea [Oseæ] 6: 4-6.
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
Turkish police seize priceless shiny 2000 year old Torah from the fabled ancient Jewish enclave of Yushittinmebro.…
The inverted menorah is of course typical of the rare surviving manuscripts from the Mutzuballovian rabbinical dynasty, centered for centuries in the Shtetl of Kneidlach.
Provenance is all important with ancient manuscripts like this - if you look very closely at the video, you can just make out the letters of the library stamp " אױ װײ " of that great scholar of Yushittenmebro, the Gaon of Shvindl.… Image
Read 4 tweets

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