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The John Rylands Research Institute

Papyrus Collection research

The Greek and Latin Papyri collection at The John Rylands Library had been only partially studied and published.

This is one of the world’s most important collections of papyri: containing items written in languages spoken in Egypt from the Pharaonic to the early Arabic period, and continuing today to influence perceptions of religious history through documents relating to activities of priests and scripts describing religious practices.

The Greek and Latin papyrus collection comprises about 700 published texts and over 1,300 unpublished fragments.

The published collection includes:

  • Classical literature
  • Biblical and early Christian writings
  • Administrative documents of the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods
  • Everyday writings of people living in Egypt under the Ptolemaic and Roman Empires

The unpublished fragments, at the centre of on-going research, are mainly public and private documents dating from the Roman to the Byzantine period.

Current research projects

Dr Roberta Mazza is working on a project which aims to test new approaches to conservation, imaging and digitisation of the papyri, and to produce critical editions of a select number of the Greek ‘additional’ papyri. It is a pilot project for wider and longer-term research work on the manuscripts from Egypt that will also include the Coptic, Demotic and Arabic papyri.