The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are a group of manuscripts discovered during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by archaeologists including Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt at an ancient rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt (28°32′N 30°40′E, modern el-Bahnasa). The manuscripts date from the 1st to the 6th century AD. They include thousands of Greek and Latin documents, letters and literary works. They also include a few vellum manuscripts, and more recent Arabic manuscripts on paper (for example, the medieval P. Oxy. VI 1006)…
The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are currently housed in many institutions all over the world. A substantial number are housed in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University.
Although the initial hope of finding many of the lost literary works of antiquity at Oxyrhynchus was not realized, many important Greek texts were found at the site. These include poems of Pindar, fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus, along with larger pieces of Alcman, Ibycus, and Corinna.
There were also extensive remains of the Hypsipyle of Euripides, fragments of the comedies of Menander, and a large part of the Ichneutae of Sophocles. Also found were the oldest and most complete diagrams from Euclid’s Elements. Fragments of Euclid discovered lead to a re-evaluation of the accuracy of ancient sources for The Elements, revealing that the version of Theon of Alexandria has more authority than previously believed; according to Thomas Little Heath. Another important find was the historical work known as the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia, whose author is unknown but may be Ephorus or, as many currently think, Cratippus. A life of Euripides by Satyrus the Peripatetic was also unearthed, while an epitome of seven of the 107 lost books of Livy was the most important literary find in Latin.
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