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History of the library: a Late Dynastic Group of Papyri collected by Charles Wilbour

The papyri from the collections of the American traveller and scholar Charles Wilbour are now preserved in the Brooklyn Museum, New York. They include one of the largest sets of fragments thought to derive from one source; unfortunately the location and the date of acquisition of this find are unknown, and it is not certain that all items were found together. The more substantial manuscripts were still in their original rolled condition, until their unrolling and framing in 1966. The contents indicate a substantial group of manuscripts all dating to the fourth century BC (Late Dynastic Period, 404-343 BC, or a little later). Few of the manuscripts have yet been published. The following list is that provided by de Meulenaere1982:

The date of these manuscripts is of particular importance for the history of the library in Egypt, as they appear to date to the century before the founding of the great library at Alexandria. Therefore they convey some impression of the scope of collections of writings, and the systematicity of writing, in Egyptian, that would have been in existence at the time that Ptolemy I and II created the Greek-language library in their new city.



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