The Kudos Foundation: Supporting Classical Studies in Australia

Projects under Consideration:
Macquarie Papyri Project

The Macquarie Collection

Kudos is also aiming to provide future support for the Macquarie Papyri Project. The Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University, Sydney holds an important collection of some 640 papyri. These are mainly Greek texts, while there are some items written in other languages and scripts, notably Demotic and Coptic (Egyptian). Most are papyri in the strictest sense, texts written on the ancient Egyptian writing-material made from the stems of the aquatic papyrus plant, but the collection includes also some items written on ostraca (potsherds), parchment, and wooden tablets. Most of the texts date from the third century bc to the eighth century ad.

Highlights of the collection are: fragments of the New Testament book of Acts, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead; an archive of Ptolemaic shipping documents; an archive of Ptolemaic land surveys; a complete Coptic magical codex; a large portion of the fourth-century ad archive of Aspidas; a bilingual prayer in Greek and Old Nubian.

The Project

Every scrap of papyrus has the potential to change some aspect of the way we think about the ancient world. Therefore, making the Macquarie papyri internationally accessible will be a step of major significance. The Macquarie Papyri Research and Development Committee, chaired by Dr Trevor Evans, was established in January 2008 to oversee systematic publication of the collection. Kudos regards this undertaking as a major contribution to the study of ancient Greek in the post-classical period (c. 300 bc–ad 600), offering benefits for papyrologists, historians, and linguists. It will be of particular importance for those conducting research in the vibrant sphere of ancient bilingualism. The current involvement of serious and dedicated Australian and international scholars promises to result in a prestigious series of publications.

The committee is comprised of the following:

Dr Don Barker (Research Associate)
Dr Heike Behlmer (Senior Lecturer in Ancient History)
Dr Malcolm Choat (Lecturer in Ancient History)
Dr Trevor Evans (Committee Chair; Senior Lecturer in Ancient History)
Dr John Lee (Senior Research Fellow)
Prof. Alanna Nobbs (Head of Department of Ancient History)
Mr Karl Van Dyke (Manager of the Museum of Ancient Cultures)

This local committee takes advice from an international advisory panel:

Prof. Roger Bagnall (President of the International Association of Papyrologists; New York University)
Prof. Alan Bowman (University of Oxford)
Prof. Willy Clarysse (KU Leuven)
Dr Mark Depauw (KU Leuven)
Prof. Traianos Gagos (University of Michigan)
Dr Nikolaos Gonis (University of London)
Dr Dirk Obbink (University of Oxford)
Dr Dorothy Thompson (University of Cambridge)
Assoc. Prof. John Whitehorne (University of Queensland)
Prof. Klaas Worp (University of Leiden)


The Committee’s first objective is to publish two volumes in the next five years (2009–13). In due course it envisages producing a total of at least four P.Macquarie volumes, along with a popular introduction to papyrology and the Macquarie collection. It is also planning electronic publication of all Macquarie fragments too small to warrant individual hard-copy editions.

Previous work

So far only three items from the Macquarie collection have received full published editions:

Barker, D., ‘A Christian Hymn? P. Macquarie inv. 346’, ZPE 159 (2007), 281–2 (Corrigendum: 160 (2007), 134).

Emmett, A.M., ‘An Unpublished Petition to Flavius Olympius (P.Macquarie inv. 358)’, in [no named ed.] Atti del XVII Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia (Napoli, 19–26 maggio, 1983) (Naples, 1984), 825–8.

Pickering, S.R., ‘P. Macquarie Inv. 360 (+P. Mil. Vogl. Inv. 1224): (Acta Apostolorum 2.30–37, 2.46–3.2)’, ZPE 65 (1986), 76.

In addition, brief description and partial transcription of P.Macquarie inv. 1–8 may be found in:

Treweek, A., ‘The Macquarie University Papyri’, AULLA XV Proceedings and Papers (1973), 7.15–7.16.

A further 57 documents have been edited in three unpublished doctoral theses by S.R. Pickering (1985), J.H. Midgley (1991), and R.R.E. Cook (1995). A set of 40 documents (overlapping with those mentioned above) are also discussed (and in several cases illustrated with small images) in S.R. Pickering and D.C. Barker, A Handbook to the Macquarie Papyri (Sydney, 1998).

Current Work

The first two P.Macquarie volumes are currently in preparation:

P.Macquarie I: A Coptic Magical Codex, M. Choat and I. Gardner (eds);

P.Macquarie II: Ptolemaic Documents, R.R.E. Cook (ed.).

Also in preparation is:

A Palaeographical Handbook to the Macquarie Papyri, D.C. Barker (ed.).


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