PAPYROLOGY
University of Helsinki
The Department of Classical Philology



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Papyrology in Finland

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Papyrology in Finland

Papyrological research has a decades long history in Finland. Henrik Zilliacus, the late Professor of Greek Literature at the University of Helsinki, both published documentary papyri (Vierzehn Berliner griechische Papyri, 1941; The Antinoopolis Papyri II—III, together with J.W.B. Barns, 1960 and 1967, for example) and based many of his other studies mainly on papyrological sources (Zur Sprache griechischer Familienbriefe des III Jahrhunderts n.Chr. (P.Michigan 214—221), 1943; Untersuchungen zu den abstrakten Anredeformen und Höflichkeitstiteln im Griechischen, 1949; Zur Abundanz der spätgriechischen Gebrauchssprache, 1967). Heikki Koskenniemi, Docent of Papyrology at the University of Helsinki, later Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Turku, studied the style of papyrus letters in his doctoral thesis Studien zur Idee und Phraseologie des griechischen Briefes bis 400 n.Chr., 1956. Thanks to him, the University of Turku also boasts a collection of Greek papyri (P.Turku).

The first papyrological research team at the University of Helsinki was founded in 1968 by Professor Henrik Zilliacus. With the assistance of professor E. G. Turner, the team received a selection of Oxyrhynchus papyri for study from the collection of the Egypt Exploration Society. In addition to Professor Zilliacus, the team consisted of Jaakko Frösén, Paavo Hohti, Jorma Kaimio and Maarit Kaimio. Their first joint publication, Fifty Oxyrchynchus Papyri (= P. Oxy. Hels.), appeared in 1979.

In the mid-seventies, the team studied papyri from the papyrus collection of the Austrian National Library. The sixty papyri were published under the leadership of Henrik Zilliacus in 1979 (Corpus Papyrorum Raineri VII: Griechische Texte IV = CPR VII).

At the end of the 1970s, a collection of papyri from mummy cartonnages was purchased to Finland and donated to the Helsinki University Library. Under the leadership of Jaakko Frösén, the team published the Greek texts from two mummy cartonnages in 1986 (Papyri Helsingienses I. Ptolemäische Urkunden = P. Hels. I).

In the 1980s, Jaakko Frösén studied the method of conserving mummy cartonnages in Vienna. This method was developed in the papyrus collection of the Austrian National Library in order to preserve both the painting on the cartonnage as well as the papyri of which the cartonnage was prepared. In Vienna and the papyrus collection of the University of Cologne, Jaakko Frösén studied the conservation method of carbonised papyri. Since then, the next generation of Finnish papyrologists has also mastered these methods. In the late 1980s, Tiina Purola, Erja Salmenkivi and Erkki Sironen joined the team. The team was further enlarged in the 1990s, when the team began its work on the carbonised Petra papyri.