Skip Navigation

Papyri

Ranging in date from 1800 BC to AD 800, the Chester Beatty Library's collection includes papyrus manuscripts, rolls, codices and individual documents and ostraca, from Pharaohic, Graeco-Roman and Coptic Egypt.

There are some Arabic papyri in the Collection but no Latin examples.

Arranged by language and script, the Papyrus Collection has an extensive publication history. It includes many works of outstanding importance, which are either unique documents or the earliest known copies of particular texts.

The Chester Beatty codex of Gospels and Acts (AD 250) along with the Pauline Letters codex (c. AD 200) and many other biblical papyri are the oldest known copies of these Christian works. Papyrus Chester Beatty I, a Hieratic papyrus of the Twentieth Dynasty, contains almost the entire surviving corpus of Ancient Egyptian Love Songs.

There are also many documents that preserve very early letter forms or punctuation from various scripts.

The Collection is not, as yet, available online.