Decoded at last: the ‘classical holy grail’

Pap"For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in
equal measure – a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it
could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible.

Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of
finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed
infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus
Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies,
tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

In the past four days alone, Oxford’s classicists have used it to
make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by
Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient
world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find
lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the
time of the earliest books of the New Testament."

The Independent

[via Leslie Russell]

Image: University of Michigan/Papyrus Collection

3 thoughts on “Decoded at last: the ‘classical holy grail’

  1. That’s great, BUT it will cost you 10 pounds ($US 25 or 30) to read the article. Maybe this available for a more reasonable price somewhere else on the Web.

  2. Thought so. Google “Oxyrhynchus Papyri” and you’ll find out way more than could possibly be in that 1000 word article in The Independent. For free. Try this, for example:

    Note: According to the version of Revelation found in this trove, the Number of the Beast is “616” instead of “666”. Ooops.

    Look for “The Oxyrhynchus Code” in the bookstores by Christmas.

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