Ancient Oriental languages

Egyptian book of the dead (Mon.script.hierogl. 1) | © State Museum of Egyptian Art
Egyptian book of the dead (Mon.script.hierogl. 1) | © State Museum of Egyptian Art

Overview

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds around 1,240 documents from the ancient Orient of various provenances: papyri, cuneiform script tablets, Minaeic and Sabaean wood inscriptions, as well as hieroglyphic texts.

The ancient Oriental manuscripts can be consulted in the Reading Room for Manuscripts and Rare Books.

Papyri

In addition to around 370 Greek (Pap.graec.mon.) documents, the complete papyri collection includes also objects in the Demotic, Coptic, Latin, Aramaic and Arabic languages (classification mark groups Pap.arab.mon., Pap.aram.mon., Pap.copt.mon., Pap.demot.mon., Pap.lat.mon.). The largest and most important group of papyri from point of view of content is the Greek. It consists predominantly of deeds, but also of literary papyri, from the era of Ptolemy up to the end of antiquity.

Literature

Arnold, Erwin: Die Papyrussammlung der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek und ihre Erschließung. In: Bibliotheksforum Bayern 9 (1981), p. 57-67.

Heisenberg, August; Wenger, Leopold (ed.): Byzantinische Papyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. 2nd, enlarged edition. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1986. Die Papyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Griechische Papyri. 1 = 1 – 18.

Carlini, Antonio (ed.): Papiri letterari greci della Bayerische Staatsbibliothek di Monaco di Baviera. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1986. Die Papyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Griechische Papyri. 2 = 19 – 44.

Hagedorn, Ursula (ed.): Griechische Urkundenpapyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Part 1. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1986. Die Papyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Griechische Papyri. 3 = 45 – 154.

The Old South Arabian wood inscriptions (Mon.script.sab.)

From 1987 to 1994, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquired around 800 Old South Arabian wood inscriptions – mostly of the size of a cigar – from ancient Yemen, which date back to the period from 800 BC to 500 AD. They are written in an italic script in the Minaeic and Sabaean languages and provide information about the everyday life and culture in ancient Old South Arabia. Such inscriptions, for which frequently the ribs of palm leaves were used as carrier material, were discovered only in the 1970s. One half of the wood sticks was scholarly examined by the University of Jena within the framework of a project supported by the German Research Foundation from 2002 to 2009.

Old South Arabian wood inscriptions | © BSB/Mon.script.sab. 80
Old South Arabian wood inscriptions | © BSB/Mon.script.sab. 80

Literature

Stein, Peter: Die altsüdarabischen Minuskelinschriften auf Holzstäbchen aus der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek. 2 volumes. Tübingen: Wasmuth, 2010.

Rebhan, Helga: Botschaften aus dem Wüstensand: antike Holzinschriften aus dem Jemen 1000 v. Chr. – 550 n. Chr. In: Bibliotheksmagazin (2015) 3, p. 23-27.

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