Collection online

The London Magical Papyrus

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA10070,2

  • Title (series)

    • The London Magical Papyrus
  • Description

    P Leiden/London, recto cols. 4-7, verso cols. 28vo-30vo. Papyrus written with black ink; demotic text recto and verso: spells and recipes; Old Coptic glosses and Greek recitation.
    On the recto are a series of spells and recipes arranged in twenty-nine columns written between ruled lines. These include spells for divination, love spells, poisons and spells of healing. On the verso are apparently discontinuous memoranda, prescriptions and short invocations.

    Column 4 contains a spell for a revelation, including a recitation written in Greek that is to be read in the opposite direction to the demotic (4/9-19). This is followed by two further spells for visions. Column 5 contains a spell for 'a tested god's arrival', that is, for a vision in a dream. There follows a recitation in which the magician identifies himself with various magical names.
    The remainder of the spells in this section of the papyrus is another 'inquiry of the lamp'.

    Recto:
    PDM xiv. 93-114 (col. 4/1-22): A Casting for Inspection (Horoscope).
    PDM xiv. 115 (col. 4/23): Spell for Vision(?).
    PDM xiv. 116 (col. 4/24): (Another) Spell for Vision(?).
    PDM xiv. 117-149 (col. 5/1-33): A Tested 'God's Arrival'.
    PDM xiv. 150-219 (cols. 6/1-7/34): An Inquiry of the Lamp (NB: this spell concludes on 10070/3, col. 8/11).

    Verso:
    PDM xiv. 1180-81 (col. 28vo/1-2): Fragment from Invocation.
    PDM xiv. 1182-87 (col. 29vo/1-6): Spell to Cause Madness.
    PDM xiv. 1188-89 (col. 30vo/1-2): Love Spell(?).
    PDM xiv. 1190-93 (col. 30vo/3-6): Another Love Spell.
    PDM xiv. 1194-95 (col. 30vo/7-8): Another Love Spell.
    PDM xiv. 1196-98 (col. 30vo/9-11): Another Love Spell.

    The spells are typical products of the syncretistic culture of Late Antiquity.
    This very late demotic papyrus was sold in two parts in Thebes, the first part going to London and the second to Leiden, where it proved important in deciphering the demotic script, since the text contains glosses in a mixture of Greek and demotic characters now known as Old Coptic. The entire roll measured some 5 m.

    Thompson's MS Catalogue: "Writing on both sides. recto (horiz. fibres) 10 cols. averaging 8 1/2 x 8 in. verso (vert. fibres) 9 small cols." [regarding all London fragments, 10070/1-3].

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3rdC (200-225 AD)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 91.7 centimetres (frame)
    • Width: 28.6 centimetres (frame)
    • Depth: 0.9 centimetres (frame)
    • Weight: 3.8 kilograms (in frame)
    • Length: 85.4 centimetres (papyrus)
    • Width: 23.9 centimetres (papyrus)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        demotic and Old Coptic
      • Inscription Position

        recto and verso
      • Inscription Translation

        Extract from 5/6-9:
        If you put frankincense up in front of the lamp and look at the lamp, you see the god near the lamp; you sleep on a reed mat without having spoken to anyone on earth, and he tells you the answer in a dream, here is its invocation: formulae: Here are the writings which you should write on the wick of the lamp: Bakhukhsikhukh [this last word is written in Old Coptic signs, and means 'Soul of darkness, son of darkness'; then come some untranslatable hieroglyphic signs to be written on the wick]. Hail, I am Myrai Myyribi Babel Baoth Bamyi, the great Agathodaimon [many of these words are written phonetically in demotic characters, but with a gloss above them in Old Coptic letters].
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Greek
      • Inscription Position

        recto
  • Curator's comments

    Bibliography:
    F.LI. Griffith and H.Thompson, 'The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden' (London, 1904);
    translation: J.Johnson in H.D. Betz (ed.), 'The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells' (Chicago and London, 1986), 195-251 (= PDM XIV; spells on this section = PDM XIV, 93-219); pp. 200-1 (PDM xiv. 93-114); 201 (PDM xiv. 115, 116); 201-3 (PDM xiv. 117-49); 204-8 (PDM xiv. 150-231);
    J.Tait, 'Theban magic', in S.P.Vleeming (ed.), 'Hundred-Gated Thebes: Acts of a Colloquium on Thebes and the Theban Area in the Graeco-Roman Period', Papyrologica Luduno-Batatva 27 (Leiden, 1995), 169-82.


    Recto: PDM xiv. 93-219 (cols. IV/1-VII/34):

    J. Dieleman, 'Priests, Tongues, and Rites' (Leiden, 2005), 16, 32, 36, 41, 103, 123, 262, 297, 313 (PDM xiv. 93-114); 254 (PDM xiv. 115); 100, 297 (PDM xiv. 117-149); 39, 100, 119, 276 (PDM xiv. 127-137); 39, 53, 55, 68, 76, 101, 295, 297 (PDM xiv. 150-231).

    Verso: PDM xiv. 1180-98 (cols. xxviii/1-xxx/11):

    Johnson, in Betz. pp. 249 (PDM xiv. 1182-87, 1188-89); 250 (PDM xiv. 1190-93, 1194-95, 1196-98).

    J. Dieleman, 'Priests, Tongues, and Rites' (Leiden, 2005). 92 (PDM xiv. 1184).

    Cf. entry in www.trismegistos.org - DAHT.

    Being worked on by Joachim Friedrich Quack (Heidelberg)Published:
    Ein Gott 2015, no. 205, pp. 194-95.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Parkinson 1999 25 bibliographic details
    • Trismegistos 55955 (http://www.trismegistos.org/text/55955) bibliographic details
    • Fluck et al. 2015 p.193 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2010/11 Oct-Mar, Leiden, National Museum Of Antiquities, Egyptian Magic
    2015-2016, Oct 29-Feb 7, London, BM, G35, Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs.

  • Condition

    Papyrus Survey: Condition Details: Papyrus Black ink Checked for loan to Munich 2006 Mount Details: Sandwich: glass Binding: magic tape Binding: copydex self adhesive carpet tape Object Priority: A Mount Priority: A Overall Condition: A Curatorial condition comment: fair

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1857

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA10070,2

  • Registration number

    .10070.2

  • Additional IDs

    • Anastasi 1072
    • Frame.2
    • P Leiden/London
P Leiden/London, recto cols. 4-7, verso cols. 28vo-30vo. Papyrus written with black ink; demotic text recto and verso: spells and recipes; Old Coptic glosses and Greek recitation.   On the recto are a series of spells and recipes arranged in twenty-nine columns written between ruled lines. These include spells for divination, love spells, poisons and spells of healing. On the verso are apparently discontinuous memoranda, prescriptions and short invocations.     Column 4 contains a spell for a revelation, including a recitation written in Greek that is to be read in the opposite direction to the demotic (4/9-19). This is followed by two further spells for visions. Column 5 contains a spell for 'a tested god's arrival', that is, for a vision in a dream. There follows a recitation in which the magician identifies himself with various magical names.   The remainder of the spells in this section of the papyrus is another 'inquiry of the lamp'.    Recto:   PDM xiv. 93-114 (col. 4/1-22):  A Casting for Inspection (Horoscope).  PDM xiv. 115 (col. 4/23): Spell for Vision(?).  PDM xiv. 116 (col. 4/24): (Another) Spell for Vision(?).  PDM xiv. 117-149 (col. 5/1-33): A Tested 'God's Arrival'.  PDM xiv. 150-219 (cols. 6/1-7/34): An Inquiry of the Lamp (NB: this spell concludes on 10070/3, col. 8/11).    Verso:  PDM xiv. 1180-81 (col. 28vo/1-2): Fragment from Invocation.  PDM xiv. 1182-87 (col. 29vo/1-6): Spell to Cause Madness.  PDM xiv. 1188-89 (col. 30vo/1-2): Love Spell(?).  PDM xiv. 1190-93 (col. 30vo/3-6):  Another Love Spell.  PDM xiv. 1194-95 (col. 30vo/7-8): Another Love Spell.  PDM xiv. 1196-98 (col. 30vo/9-11): Another Love Spell.    The spells are typical products of the syncretistic culture of Late Antiquity.  This very late demotic papyrus was sold in two parts in Thebes, the first part going to London and the second to Leiden, where it proved important in deciphering the demotic script, since the text contains glosses in a mixture of Greek and demotic characters now known as Old Coptic. The entire roll measured some 5 m.    Thompson's MS Catalogue: "Writing on both sides. recto (horiz. fibres) 10 cols. averaging 8 1/2 x 8 in. verso (vert. fibres) 9 small cols." [regarding all London fragments, 10070/1-3].

P Leiden/London, recto cols. 4-7, verso cols. 28vo-30vo. Papyrus written with black ink; demotic text recto and verso: spells and recipes; Old Coptic glosses and Greek recitation. On the recto are a series of spells and recipes arranged in twenty-nine columns written between ruled lines. These include spells for divination, love spells, poisons and spells of healing. On the verso are apparently discontinuous memoranda, prescriptions and short invocations. Column 4 contains a spell for a revelation, including a recitation written in Greek that is to be read in the opposite direction to the demotic (4/9-19). This is followed by two further spells for visions. Column 5 contains a spell for 'a tested god's arrival', that is, for a vision in a dream. There follows a recitation in which the magician identifies himself with various magical names. The remainder of the spells in this section of the papyrus is another 'inquiry of the lamp'. Recto: PDM xiv. 93-114 (col. 4/1-22): A Casting for Inspection (Horoscope). PDM xiv. 115 (col. 4/23): Spell for Vision(?). PDM xiv. 116 (col. 4/24): (Another) Spell for Vision(?). PDM xiv. 117-149 (col. 5/1-33): A Tested 'God's Arrival'. PDM xiv. 150-219 (cols. 6/1-7/34): An Inquiry of the Lamp (NB: this spell concludes on 10070/3, col. 8/11). Verso: PDM xiv. 1180-81 (col. 28vo/1-2): Fragment from Invocation. PDM xiv. 1182-87 (col. 29vo/1-6): Spell to Cause Madness. PDM xiv. 1188-89 (col. 30vo/1-2): Love Spell(?). PDM xiv. 1190-93 (col. 30vo/3-6): Another Love Spell. PDM xiv. 1194-95 (col. 30vo/7-8): Another Love Spell. PDM xiv. 1196-98 (col. 30vo/9-11): Another Love Spell. The spells are typical products of the syncretistic culture of Late Antiquity. This very late demotic papyrus was sold in two parts in Thebes, the first part going to London and the second to Leiden, where it proved important in deciphering the demotic script, since the text contains glosses in a mixture of Greek and demotic characters now known as Old Coptic. The entire roll measured some 5 m. Thompson's MS Catalogue: "Writing on both sides. recto (horiz. fibres) 10 cols. averaging 8 1/2 x 8 in. verso (vert. fibres) 9 small cols." [regarding all London fragments, 10070/1-3].

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: YCA66452

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...