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Publication of five hieratic papyri from the Roman period scattered over collections in Copenhagen, Florence, Berlin and Paris.
They contain a dictionary of the classical Middle Egyptian language, lexical lists and elaborate manuals of the sacerdotal science - Egyptian materia sacra (i.e. two parallels of the Geographical Papyrus from Tanis) and the religious calendar.
Four of them were found as part of a temple library at Tebtunis where they probably served as reference books for the instruction of future priests. For the fifth palaeographical, the evidence favours a provenance also from the Fayum, perhaps also from Tebtunis. The internal classification follows the traditional form of lists.
The papyri were written in the second century AD, in the period immediately before the rapid final decline of the Egyptian literature. They illustrate how much basic systematic work was still done in the temples, but also how much additional effort, visible in great numbers of glosses, was necessary at this point to keep the traditional knowledge alive. In this respect, the papyri are also remarkable documents for the history of the Egyptian civilization.
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