ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 44 (2007) 239-241
Charikleia Armoni, James M.S. Cowey, and Dieter Hagedorn,
Die griechischen Ostraka der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung.
Veroffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung, N.F.
11. Heidelberg: Universititsverlag Winter, 2005. xxiii + 514 pages.
This massive volume publishes the entirety of the Greek ostraka, including
the Greek-Demotic bilinguals, in the Heidelberg collection. Texts are given
for 453 items, and descriptions for another 72 which are partially or wholly
unreadable; even the language is in doubt in some of these latter cases. The
volume includes those ostraka previously published by F. Bilabel in P Bad. 4
and P. Sattler in PRHeid. 3, as well as those that have appeared in more recent
articles; there is a concordance to previous publications as well as an inventory
list from which the reader can see the modest place occupied in the collection by ostraka in Demotic (about 65 pieces), Coptic (30), and a scattering of
Hieratic, drawings, blanks, and forgeries.
The editors have presented their texts in standard papyrological format,
with commentaries, translations and extensive notes (except for some items
recently published in journal articles with extensive commentaries).' They
have integrated illustrations of the ostraka into the presentation, which is very
convenient but, as they remark in the preface, somewhat diminishes the quality of the reproduction. Color images on the Internet are promised ("in nicht
allzu ferner Zukunft"); these have not yet become available as of July, 2008.
When they do, it will become easier for readers to pursue any questions about
readings in the texts. (For this reason, I have deferred to another time a few
suggestions about readings that I would offer.)
The bulk of the contents of the Heidelberg collection belongs to the Roman period (just 29 of the texts are assigned to the Ptolemaic period, 17 to Late
Antiquity, vs. 407 Roman). There is a very large representation of the Theban
West Bank among these texts, although there are also many texts from the
East Bank and some from other provenances (a handful each from Edfu and
Elephantine/Syene, stray pieces from Elkab, Koptos, and the Fayyum). Information on provenance comes from internal evidence, whether textual or ceramic. There is no discussion of the origins of the collection and the purchases
by which one presumes it was acquired. Given the strong current of interest
1 To my taste, they tend to print too many symbols rather than resolving them. For
reasons I cannot understand, the symbol for Tupot is sometimes resolved and sometimes not; there does not seem to be any visible principle at work.