New York, Columbia University
|Name:||New York, Columbia University|
|Country:||United States of America|
Head of Special Collections
801 Butler Library
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027
|Contact:||Roger S. Bagnall|
- O., numbers such as 21.2.124 and 91-5 [with the year of acquisition?]
- O., numbers from 766 till 3868
- P., numbers from 1 till 784
- P. Fay., numbers from 42 till 365 [publication numbers]
- P. Oxy., numbers from 13 till 1002 [publication numbers]
- Plimpton Collection, numbers from 27 till 129
For many years, the only catalogue of the collection was the assembly of acquisition records, mainly Bell’s lists annotated with Columbia inventory numbers. The more recently acquired materials were only very sketchily listed, and the ostraka had only been listed, with no descriptions. In connection with the creation of APIS, the collection has been catalogued for the first time, the papyri by Rosalie Cook and Raffaella Cribiore, the ostraka by Dr. Cribiore with assistance from Todd Hickey. These catalogues are not as elaborate as one might wish, but the first priority was to create a bibliographic control over the entire collection, and we plan to add descriptive material to the records as time allows. This entire electronic catalogue forms part of APIS.
With APIS we will be putting up on the Web digital images of a large part of the collection, published and unpublished, and we intend to add to this body of images as funds allow.
The major purpose of the collection at the outset was to provide research material for Westermann and his students. Roger Bagnall's emphasis has been very much on the role of the collection in graduate teaching, and many of the recent editions have come from Columbia students and former students.
P.Col. I - X
|Work:||There is still some material suitable for editing by beginning students in the collection, but its quantity is not large. Most of the remaining publishable papyri are fairly scrappy and difficult, and none belong to the large archival bodies like those that fill most of the first seven volumes of Columbia Papyri. The material on the web will be available for anyone interested to consult, and only a small number of pieces will be kept reserved for students. Like our colleagues, we do not know how this move to greater openness and availability will actually work out, but we hope that where fragments of individual documents are spread among more than one collection, digital availability will help to reunite the disiecta membra.|
P.Col. inv. 480 is a fragment of a Ptolemaic royal ordinance regarding the tax and fees to be collected upon sales of slaves; published by W.L. Westermann, Upon Slavery in Ptolemaic Egypt, New York 1929 (= P.Col. I)
A group of papyri from the tax collectors of Theadelpheia, written on both the recto (P.Col. II) and the verso (P.Col. V). These tax lists and transportation receipts contain a wealth of information for one single village in the Roman period (archive of the toparchy of Theadelpheia )
P.Col. 123 contains a series of imperial decisions by Septimius Severus during his visit to Egypt in AD 199/200. The text was copied from the official announcement, posted in Alexandria on March 14, AD 200 and shows us the empeor at work (P.Col. VI)
The main body of the Columbia papyrus collection was acquired between 1923 and 1932 through the papyrus cartel run by the British Museum in the person of H. I. Bell. The purchases were the result of the negotiations that led to the appointment of William Linn Westermann as Professor of History at Columbia, and follow the pattern of purchases made at his previous institutions, Wisconsin and Cornell. Westermann was uninterested in literary papyri and instructed Bell not to send him any, an order changed after C. W. Keyes, of the Department of Classics, started to take an interest in papyri. Even so, the collection is overwhelmingly documentary.
In addition to these papyri, Columbia has a certain number of papyri acquired by distribution from the Egypt Exploration Society, from the Fayum Papyri, from Hibeh, and from Oxyrhynchus. Gifts and small purchases from alumni and friends after 1932 added some miscellaneous lots to the collection, including a few Demotic papyri, a handful of Coptic pieces, and a more considerable number of Arabic texts. A small group of Coptic papyri also came from the estate of A. Arthur Schiller, evidently deriving from a purchase he made in Egypt. The total number of papyri is difficult to state, because the practices in the numbering of fragments have not been wholly consistent, but it is in the range of 2,000. Of these, however, only some 500 of the Greek are probably of a size to warrant publication. Publication numbers through the most recent volume, the eleventh, run to 303. Material for another volume has been entrusted to Rosalie Cook.
Besides the papyri, the collection includes more than 3,600 ostraka. Some of these come from early gifts and from Egypt Exploration Society distribution of Oxyrhynchos ostraka (cf. Coles, Location-list, 1974), but the main body were acquired in two lots from the Metropolitan Museum of Art forty years ago by Schiller. They come from the unpublished material deriving from the Museum’s excavations at Deir el Bahri and at the Monastery of Epiphanius, and the overwhelming majority are Coptic. Many of these Coptic ostraka are very fragmentary and little can be said about their contents.