Introduction

This interactive digital museum of Greek papyri from Hellenistic Egypt (332 – 30 BC) is the result of international collaboration between Dr Csaba A. La’da of the University of Kent, Professor Amphilochios Papathomas of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Papyrus Collection of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) in Vienna where the papyri included here are housed. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support for this project from the EPSRC Digital Economy: Communities and Culture Network + project and the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment, Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent, without which creation of this digital museum would not have been possible. The aims of this digitised virtual museum of ancient papyri are to foster knowledge exchange and to create new knowledge through innovative application of digital technologies and, by this means, to create a knowledge network and a digital community of specialists and the wider public who can share in the excitement of deciphering ancient texts together.

All the papyri included in this interactive digital museum are housed at the Papyrus Collection of the Austrian National Library in Vienna. The authors would like to thank Professor Bernhard Palme, Director of the Papyrus Collection, and the Austrian National Library for their permission to include them here and for their kind cooperation. Both published and hitherto unpublished papyri have been included. The published papyri were edited by Csaba A. La’da. The hitherto unpublished texts are being edited jointly by La’da and Professor Amphilochios Papathomas and will appear in print in the near future in a volume of text-editions and in articles in various journals. Below each image visitors will find information on the papyrus and its content. Whilst the unpublished texts unsurprisingly present the greatest challenges, those already published also offer numerous uncertain or undeciphered sections where further research and improvement of results are possible and indeed would be very welcome.

Visitors to this interactive digital museum are encouraged to “tour” it by clicking on the images of the individual papyri and by reading the explanatory texts accompanying them, to engage with the ancient texts directly by studying them closely and to send their questions, comments and suggestions concerning the decipherment, contents and interpretation of these papyri to the authors at the space for comments appearing below, or alternatively by email to: c.lada@kent.ac.uk . The authors will endeavour to reply as soon as practically possible. The authors hope that by engaging closely with these papyri and by incorporating ideas submitted by the many people we hope will contribute to this exciting project we will together be able to achieve a much deeper understanding of these ancient texts and the culture that produced them and that by this we can together create new knowledge and a community of interested non-specialists and specialists through this innovative application of digital technologies. Happy deciphering and do let us know if you have any questions or ideas about these papyri!

Dr Csaba A. La’da

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