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Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Columbia collection includes ca. 2150 papyri and over 3600 ostraca in a variety of languages including Greek, Latin, Egyptian (Demotic, Coptic and Hieratic) and Arabic. Among the papyri, there are also a few texts on parchment and paper. The papyri range in date from the 3rd century BCE to the 7th century CE and come from different parts of Egypt. About 300 have been published in the volumes of Columbia Papyri (P.Col., volumes I-XI) and a few more were published elsewhere. The papyri preserve a variety of texts, from ancient fragments of important literary works (Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Euripides' Orestes, Plato's Phaedrus) written much earlier than the medieval manuscripts upon which modern editions are usually based, to mundane documents such as private letters, tax receipts, petitions and contracts, which illustrate the economic activities, personal relationships, legal conflicts and contractual arrangements of people in Greco-Roman Egypt over a period of about 1000 years.