ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 165-174
Less Artemidorus and More
Peter van Minnen University of Cincinnati
Review article of Claudio Gallazzi, Birbel Kramer, and Salvatore
Settis, II papiro di Artemidoro (P.Artemid.), with the collaboration
of Gianfranco Adornato, Albio Cesare Cassio, and Agostino Soldati.
Milano: LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto,
2008. 630 pages + box with a volume of 40 plates, 4 folding plates,
and a DVD. ISBN 978-88-7916-380-4.
In this magnificently executed volume, Gallazzi and Kramer present the
text on the front of this remarkable papyrus and Settis, assisted by a host of
art historians, the illustrations on the front and back, which are threefold: a
map inserted between columns 1-3 and 4-5 of the Greek text, a "bestiary" on
the back, and drawing exercises on the front. Almost everything one would
wish to know about this unique "document" can be found discussed at (great)
length somewhere in the volume. It is unfortunate that no proper indices are
provided; instead there are cross references.
The editors are remarkably open about the circumstances that brought the
papyrus ultimately to Turin, where it now resides in the Egyptian Museum. It
was bought for that museum by the Fondazione per l'Arte della Compagnia di
San Paolo in 2004 for 2.75 million euro from the Armenian-German dealer
Serop Simonian. (This is quite a bit more than he was asking for it in the early
1990s.) The dealer claims he acquired the piece from the collection of an Egyptian mentioned in the old Baedeker and exported it in 1971 with afirman of
the Egyptian government (p. 54). I suspect that the date, 1971, was chosen to
avoid having the piece exported from Egypt after the UNESCO convention
of 1972.1 More painful perhaps is the involvement of the Italian minister of
culture, Giuliano Urbani, who encouraged the Compagnia to buy the piece.
But I suppose as minister of Italian "beni culturali" he did not have to worry
about someone else's!
1 See the "ASP resolution concerning the illicit trade in papyri" in BASP 44 (2007)