Description of the Collection
The Institute for Ancient Studies at the University of Cologne has hosted a papyrus collection since the 1950s. It was founded by
Joseph Kroll, the Director of the Institute at the time, and Reinhold Merkelbach. The North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences
and Humanities began to support the collection generously in 1972. The Academy provided means for the acquistion of papyri and,
together with the University of Cologne, set up a Research Centre for Papyrology, Epigraphy and Numismatics.
The Cologne Papyrus Collection is today one of the most important papyrological institutions in Germany. It houses approximately
6,000 papyri and a number of texts written on other materials such as parchment, ostaca, lead, silver or wood tablets, and pieces
of cloth. These texts are for the most part in ancient Greek, but there are also writings in Demotic and Coptic, as well as a few
in Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. Almost all were found in Egypt and date from the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD.
In addition to documents of all kinds, the Cologne collection possesses a significant number of literary papyri representing the
: epic and lyric poetry, philosophy, tragedy, comedy, rhetoric, historiography, medicine, magic, religion and
theology. The Cologne Archilochus, Mani Codex and
are among the most important pieces. Substantial parts of the Jewish, Petaus and Ammon archives, to mention but a few, also belong
to the collection.
The main publication series of the Centre for Papyrology, Epigraphy and Numismatics is Papyrologica Coloniensia
. It embraces
the volumes of Greek literary and documentary papyri belonging to the collection (P.Köln
), an edition of the Mani Codex,
editions of papyri from other collections and various monographs on papyrological subjects.