Description of the Collection
The papyrus collection of the Department of Ancient History at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn,
containing 277 papyri, 13 ostraca and 10 (early) Medieval paper fragments, is one of the smaller university or
institutional collections in Germany.
Its formation can be traced back to the short but important directorship of Ulrich Wilcken, who was at the head
of Bonn’s Seminar between 1912 and 1915. The pieces themselves came from the stock brought together by the
In language and writing the compilation ranges from Demotic and Greek to Coptic and Arabic, but concentrates on
Greek texts, which comprise nearly 90 percent of the total. In contents the focus lies mainly on documentary
papyri and ostraca. Of particular note are the documents from the archive of the strategos Apollonios dating to
the early 2nd century A.D. and those belonging to another collection of business documents, the archive of the
6th century A.D. elaiourgos
These documents also mark the time frame in which most of the texts from Bonn can be located: the bulk of
material dates from Roman imperial until late antique-Byzantine times. This chronology applies also to the
literary pieces like the little Septuagint psalm fragment and to the sketch of a man triumphant on the recto
of a papyrus.
A group of Coptic and Arabic documents and literary fragments on paper then can be taken as a glimpse of the
following Egyptian epochs.
H. Braunert / U. Buske, Eingaben an den Strategen Apollonios aus der Bonner Papyrussammlung, The Journal of
Juristic Papyri 18, 1974, 39-53.
J. Shelton, Papyri from the Bonn Collection, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 25, 1977, 159-183.