About the Kyprianos Database

The Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects is intended to serve as a resource for the study of magical, alchemical, astrological and other ritual and related texts from the ancient and medieval Mediterranean world. At present our focus is on magical texts written in Coptic, Greek, and Demotic from Egypt.

This project builds upon previous work, notably that of Franziska Naether on Trismegistos Magic, and on the checklist of published Coptic magical texts created by Roxanne Bélanger Sarrazin.

The database is regularly updated. Click here to see a list of updates.


Contents

1. Database Structure

2. General Notes and Searches

3. Manuscripts Table

4. Archives Table

5. Texts Table

6. List of editors

7. Usage Policy


1. Database Structure

The structure of the Kyprianos database

The database is divided into six tables, each containing information on different aspects of the objects it contains. These are: Archives, Manuscripts, Texts, Images, Toponyms, and Hands. The first three of these are currently public.

Manuscript: A manuscript is a physical object onto which at least one or more images or texts have been inscribed. A manuscript may take many forms, including (but not limited to) sheet, roll, codex, ostracon or a rotulus. In the Kyprianos database, manuscripts are referred to as KYP M[number] (e.g. KYP M7). Numbers are assigned based on date of entry to the database, and therefore have no relationship to date or content. Manuscripts are often identified by one or more sigla, that is, modern names assigned to them based on their inventory number in a museum collection (e.g. Chicago OIM E13767), publication number (e.g. BKU I 1), and so on.

Text: Manuscripts contain one or more textual units, known as ‘texts’. Applied manuscripts will generally contain only a single text, since the entire object has a single purpose. Formularies will often contain multiple independent recipes for different purposes, which will each be designated as different texts. Manuscripts may contain additional non-magical texts which were copied onto the same manuscript. These texts are numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3 etc.) to represent the apparent order of their writing, and are referred to by a description of their position in the manuscript, in terms of recto/verso or page number and lines (e.g. Ro ll. 1-10), and by a text identifier, in the form KYP T[number]. Numbers are assigned based on date of entry to the database, and therefore have no relationship to date, content, or manuscript.

Archive: An ‘archive’ designates a shared find-spot or collection common to several manuscripts. These designations may be based on archaeological reports of a shared find-spot, or reconstructed based on information concerning the papyri’s acquisition history, form, or content. Strictly speaking, only some of these are archives in the papyrological sense – those found in a single archaeological site (such as a monastery) may not have belonged to a single individual – while those with shared hands but uncertain findspots may correspond more closely to the papyrological category of dossiers. In the Kyprianos database, archives are referred to as KYP A[number] (e.g. KYP A5). Numbers are assigned based on date of entry to the database, and therefore have no relationship to date, content, or other features.

Note that many of these archives are speculative, so for now they should generally be considered groupings of texts with possible relationships to one another, which may be confirmed or rejected by further research.


2. General Notes and Searches

Question marks indicate uncertainty. A question mark placed within brackets indicates uncertainty about the bracketed information, whereas a bracketed question mark after the whole entry indicates uncertainty about all of the information. 

Thus, ‘magical (unclear) (?)’ indicates that the designation of the manuscript as magical is questionable, whereas ‘magical (formulary ?)’ indicates that the manuscript is certainly magical, but it is unclear whether it is a formulary.

Search Operators

The Freetext/Keyword search bar is not case sensitive. It searches for words anywhere in the current table (Manuscripts, Texts, or Archives).

AND may be used to ensure that an entry has two words searched for:

  • love AND myrrh

Parentheses can be used to search for a whole expression:

  • “I invoke you”

A minus sign (-) may be used before a word or expression in parentheses to omit entries with that word or expression:

  • -myrrh
  • -“I invoke you”

3. Manuscripts Table

Sigla

Modern names for the manuscript, including excavation, inventory, and publication numbers. See the Checklist of Editions of Greek, Latin, Demotic And Coptic Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets for a list of standard papyrological sigla.

Category

Category designates the genre(s) to which a manuscript’s content belongs. Key categories are magical, further sub-divided into ‘formulary’, ‘applied’, and ‘unclear’, liturgical (including non-magical prayers), alchemical, documentary (including letters and accounts) or medical. Manuscripts are assigned as many categories as necessary to capture the variety of contents they contain, as well as those which users may be expected to search for.

Contents

A brief summary of the texts which constitute the contents of the manuscript, ordered numerically according to probable order of writing, and noting any re-use, followed by the position of the individual texts on the manuscript.

Language(s)
Script(s)

Indicates the language(s) and script(s) present in the manuscript. Coptic is defined as ‘Egyptian (Coptic)’; earlier stages of the language are likewise classified as ‘Egyptian (Demotic)’, ‘Egyptian (Middle)’,‘Egyptian (Late)’, ‘Egyptian (Old)’. Any uncertainties will be noted in the Language/Dialect (notes) field. If there is no linguistic content (e.g. the text does not belong to any identifiable language or contains only drawings), it is classified as [non-linguistic]; in these cases the script may be defined as “Coptic/Greek-derived (?)” if there are, for example, symbols clearly derived from Coptic or Greek letters.

Dialect

At present, dialect is only noted for Coptic texts. The dialects used are:

  • Bashmuric (G)
    • el-Bashmur region in the north-east of the Nile Delta
  • Bohairic (B) (Also: Memphitic)
    • Sub-dialects include: B4, B7, B71, B74
  • Fayumic (F)
    • Sub-dialects include: F4, F7, F8, F9
  • South Fayumic (V)
  • Mesokemic (M) (Middle Egyptian; Oxyrhynchite)
  • Sahidic (S)
    • Sub-dialects include: P (‘Proto-Theban’)
  • Hermopolitan (H) (Ashmun(ein)ic)
  • Lycopolitan (L) (Asyutic; formerly: Sub-Akhmimic)
    • Sub-dialects include: i, i7, J
  • Akhmimic (A) (formerly: Panopolite)
    • Sub-dialects include: C

If the dialect diverges noticeably from the literary ‘standard’, ‘(non-standard)’ will be added afterwards.

Language/dialect notes

Provides any appropriate references and briefly mentions any salient comments on the dialect or language.

Date

Approximate time-frame within which the manuscript was written. The date is assessed based on specific paleographic or linguistic traits, or based on its material. A possible older source text could be older than the text of the manuscript itself. At present, the dates of Coptic magical manuscripts should be considered highly uncertain, as we currently rely on published dates. Where published information on the date of a manuscript is unavailable, we note where a placeholder date is used as a plausible estimate of the likely range of dates.

Archive/collection

The Archive to which the manuscript is judged to belong.

State of Edition

Information regarding whether the manuscript is fully or partially published, has an edition forthcoming, is currently being edited, or is unpublished (e.g. “published, “forthcoming”, “currently being edited”, “unpublished”).

Image

A link to an online image of the manuscript.

Form

The form which the manuscript takes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Codex
    A book with several bound pages which are read by turning them.
  • Ostracon
    A piece of limestone or pottery used for writing.
  • Roll
    A wide sheet of papyrus, parchment etc. which unrolls from left to right or vice versa.
  • Rotulus
    A tall sheet of papyrus, parchment etc. which unrolls from top to bottom.
  • Sheet
    A small sheet of papyrus, parchment etc. which usually contains a single column on one or both sides.
Material

The material from which the manuscript is made. These include:

  • Ostracon (limestone)
  • Ostracon (pottery)
  • Papyrus
  • Parchment
  • Paper
  • Cloth (linen)
  • Metal (lead/silver/gold/copper)
Dimensions (cm)

The height, width, and depth (if appropriate) of the object as a whole, or, in the case of codices, individual pages. Any uncertainties or variation in dimensions are noted in Dimensions (notes). If the size varies (e.g. the width is 15.5-16 cm) the maximum dimensions in any direction are given.

State of preservation

Describes the current state of the manuscript. Manuscripts described as ‘complete’ seem to contain all of their original Text(s), but may still be damaged, while those described as “Fragmentary” are incomplete, with further details provided specifying the nature of the damage. 

Folding Pattern

To avoid ambiguity, we refer to ‘creases’ created by folding rather than ‘folds’. A vertical crease is a vertical line created by a fold, while a horizontal crease is a horizontal line. We note the number of creases visible on a photograph, with uncertainty indicated by a question mark.

Pages/Columns

Number of pages (for codices) or columns (for rolls and sheets) in the entire manuscript. For magical texts, most often only one column per page. A detailed account of the number of the columns in the manuscript will be given in notes, including the number of lines on each page. Notes provide further information on the relationship of the text to the material support, that is whether it is written on the recto or verso of the manuscript, and whether recto and verso correspond to the horizontal (→) or vertical (↓) papyrus fibres, the flesh or hair side of parchment sheets, or the convex or concave sides of ostraca. Note that we define the “recto” as the first side of a document to be written upon, regardless of papyrus fibre orientation or other considerations.

Hand

A description of the Hand (writing) of the manuscript. At present, this field is not standardised.

Findspot

The location where the manuscript was found. Links are given for each place to the Trismegistos Places database. The findspot is assumed to be the same as the place of purchase in the absence of contradictory information. Given the history of informal and illegal excavation in Egypt, these locations will usually be uncertain. 

Place of purchase

The location where the manuscript was bought in modern times, typically at an antiquities market. Links are given for each place to the Trismegistos Places database. Given the history of informal and illegal excavation in Egypt, these locations will usually be uncertain. 

Writingspot 

The writingspot is usually assumed to be the same as the findspot, unless we have information contradicting this. Links are given for each place to the Trismegistos Places database. Given the history of informal and illegal excavation in Egypt, these locations will usually be uncertain. 

Present Location

The collection in which the manuscript is currently held.

Collection History

Details on the modern history of the manuscript, generally from its finding until its acquisition by the institution in which it is currently located, where such information is available. 

Trismegistos Collection

Link to the collection page on the Trismegistos Database.

Collection website

Link to the website of the collection. Where possible this will be the page of the manuscript itself; where not possible this will be the collection’s homepage.

Bibliography

The bibliography contains academic books and articles containing information on the manuscript. The bibliography is subdivided into three parts. Editions are those which contain the original language text, usually alongside a translation into a modern language. Translations contain a translation of the text into a modern language, but not the original text. Works classified as General do not contain either the original text or translation, but contain discussions of the manuscript and/or its contents.

Database References

Trismegistos ID: The reference to the manuscript in the Trismegistos database.

PGM: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Karl Preisendanz and Albert Henrichs. Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri (2 vols.) Stuttgart: Teubner, 1973–1974 and/or in Hans D. Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Ostraca and tablets from the Preisendanz/Henrichs edition are prefixed here with O and T respectively, while the ‘Christian’ texts from this edition are prefixed with the word ‘Christian’. URL (vol. 2)

SM: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Robert W. Daniel and Franco Maltomini, Supplementum Magicum (2 vols.), Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1990–1992.

ACM: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Marvin W. Meyer and Richard Smith. Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power, Princeton (New Jersey): Princeton University Press, 1999.

AKZ: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Angelicus Kropp, Ausgewählte koptische Zaubertexte, Bruxelles: Édition de la Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, 1930-1931. The texts are referred to by volume followed by number within that volume. URL

Bruyn-Dijkstra: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Theodore de Bruyn and Jitse Dijkstra, “Greek Amulets and Formularies from Egypt Containing Christian Elements: A Checklist of Papyri, Parchments, Ostraka, and Tablets”, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 48 (2011): 163–216 URL

Sarrazin: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Roxanne Bélanger-Sarrazin. “Catalogue des textes magiques coptes”, Archiv für Papyrusforschung 63.2 (2017): 367–408. URL

Van Haelst: Reference to the numbering of the texts in Joseph van Haelst, Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1976.

GEMF: Reference to the numbering of the texts in the forthcoming series Greek and Egyptian Magical Formularies from the Transmission of Magical Knowledge in Antiquity project.

CBd: Reference to the numbering of the manuscript in the Campbell-Bonner Magical Gems Database.

Mert.-Pack: Reference to the numbering of the manuscript in the Mertens-Pack online database.

TheDeMa: Reference to the numbering of the manuscript in the online Thesaurus Defixionum Magdeburgensis (TheDeMa) database (currently down).


4. Archives Table

Archive name

The conventional name of the archive in existing scholarship, or a new one assigned by the Coptic Magical Papyri project.

Trismegistos Archive ID

The corresponding archive identifier in the Trismegistos Archives database, where one exists.

Date

The range of dates of the manuscripts contained within the archive.

Provenance

The findspot of the archive, as far as can be known or reconstructed.

Trismegistos Place ID

The corresponding identifier for provenance in the Trismegistos Places database.

Manuscripts

Manuscript entries connected to the Archive.

Discussion

Further information on the archive, including a rationale for its identification as an archive.

Bibliography

Relevant bibliography for the archive


5. Texts Table

Manuscript

The Kyprianos database identifier for the manuscript to which the text belongs.

Sigla

The sigla of the manuscript to which the text belongs.

Text no.

The sequential numbering of the text within the manuscript.

Text position

The position of the text within the manuscript, in terms of page (p.), column (col.), recto (Ro) or verso (Vo) and line numbers (ll.).

Type of text

The classification of the text. For magical texts (the current focus of the database), the text will be usually assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Love spell
  • Separation spell
  • Curse
  • Healing
  • Protection
  • Applied amulet
  • Divination

It will then be defined in brackets as ‘magical’, and specified as belonging to an applied manuscript or formulary, with uncertainty expressed using question marks as appropriate.

Original title
Original title (translated)
Conventional Title

All texts are assigned a ‘conventional title’ by the Coptic Magical Papyri project. This is either a name by which the text is already known, or a brief description of its nature. The original title is any title which appears in-text in its original language, a translation of which is given in ‘original title (translated)’.

Language(s)
Script(s)

Indicates the language(s) and script(s) present in the text. Coptic is defined as ‘Egyptian (Coptic)’; earlier stages of the language are likewise classified as ‘Egyptian (Demotic)’, ‘Egyptian (Middle)’,‘Egyptian (Late)’, ‘Egyptian (Old)’. Any uncertainties will be noted in the Language/Dialect (notes) field. If there is no linguistic content (e.g. the text does not belong to any identifiable language), it is classified as [non-linguistic]; in these cases the script may be defined as “Coptic/Greek-derived (?)” if there are, for example, symbols clearly derived from Greek or Coptic letters.

Dialect

At present, dialect is only noted for Coptic texts. The dialects used are:

  • Bashmuric (G)
    • el-Bashmur region in the north-east of the Nile Delta
  • Bohairic (B) (Also: Memphitic)
    • Sub-dialects include: B4, B7, B71, B74
  • Fayumic (F)
    • Sub-dialects include: F4, F7, F8, F9
  • South Fayumic (V)
  • Mesokemic (M) (“Middle Egyptian”; Oxyrhynchite)
  • Sahidic (S)
    • Sub-dialects include: P (‘Proto-Theban’)
  • Hermopolitan (H) (Ashmun(ein)ic)
  • Lycopolitan (L) (Asyutic; Older: Sub-Akhmimic)
    • Sub-dialects include: i, i7, J
  • Akhmimic (A) (Older: Panopolite)
    • Sub-dialects include: C

If the dialect diverges noticeably from the literary ‘standard’, ‘(non-standard)’ will be added afterwards.

Text, Translation, Apparatus & Notes

The text field contains the original language form of the text, with minimal interventions: in Coptic texts, spaces between words are added to allow for easier comprehension, following the scheme of Walter Till; in Greek texts accents and breathings are added, but the text will contain only punctuation present in the original manuscript. In Demotic texts, transliteration follows the established conventions in Demotic studies, with variations appropriate to the writings in each text.

At the top of each page or column the fibre direction (↓/→) is noted for papyrus, side (hair/flesh) for parchment, and curvature (concave/convex) for ostraca, where possible.

The translation contains the English language translation of the text produced by the Coptic Magical Papyri project. 

Apparatus contains brief, standardised notes facilitating the interpretation of the text, and noting different readings in previous editions and translations. The Notes field is reserved for more complex, discursive discussions of the interpretation of the text and justifications of readings.

Images in the text are referred to as tableaux, and their position is indicated by [tableau NUMBER] inserted into the text at the appropriate position. At present, these images are not viewable online, but they are contained in the project database, and we hope to make them accessible soon.

The text editions in the database use the following norms:

Text added above or below the line

If text is written above or below the line, either because it was added later, or indicates an abbreviation, or for another reason, it is marked by ⧹ⲁ⧸ (text above the line) or ⧸ⲁ⧹ (text below the line).

Variant readings

Variant readings by previous editors are indicated in the apparatus according to line number. The form in the text is given, with the form read by the previous editor following a colon <:>, followed in turn by their name :

  • 23. ⲉⲙⲙⲟⲟⲕ  : ⲉⲙⲟⲟⲕ Drescher
Non-standard lemmata and Greek loanwords in Coptic

Coptic words which appear in a form not found in W.E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary (1939) will be given their standard Sahidic form in the apparatus. The standard forms of Greek loanwords are displayed likewise. 

  • 23. ⲉⲙⲙⲟⲟⲕ i.e. Sahidic ⲙ̅ⲙⲟⲕ
Abbreviations

Abbreviations are expanded, before the dictionary form is given where appropriate; abbreviations  in Coptic magical texts are typically Greek loanwords. 

  • ⲇͅⲇͅ l. ⲇ(ⲉ)ⲓ(ⲛⲁ) ⲇ(ⲉ)ⲓ(ⲛⲁ) i.e. Greek  δεῖνα δεῖνα 

Variant reading by previous editor or commentator:

  • 23. ⲉⲙⲙⲟⲟⲕ i.e. Sahidic ⲙ̅ⲙⲟⲕ :  ⲉⲙⲟⲟⲕ Drescher
Corrections, deletions and missing letters

Corrections by the scribe are indicated in the apparatus as follows:

  • 23. ⲙⲙⲟⲕ corrected from ⲛⲙⲟⲕ

Text deleted by the copyist is indicated by doubled square brackets, with the form of deletion specified in the apparatus:

  • [[ⲛⲙⲟⲕ]] ⲙⲙⲟⲕ
  • 23. [[ⲛⲙⲟⲕ]] deletion by crossing-out

Where missing letters or words are supplied in the footnotes or apparatus, these are indicated by pointed brackets ⟨⟩.

  •  ⲛ̅ⲡⲁⲛⲧⲱⲕⲣⲁⲧⲱⲣ i.e. Sahidic ⲙ̅⟨ⲡ⟩ⲡⲁⲛⲧⲱⲕⲣⲁⲧⲱⲣ
Damage to texts

Text lost in damage is indicated using square brackets [ ]. Letters in square brackets cannot be seen in the text. Letters that are partially visible or whose reading is uncertain will be marked with an underdot (e.g. ⲁ̣) to indicate uncertainty.

Line division in translations

Translations are largely continuous, although blank lines are used if it significantly helps comprehension, for example to mark section breaks. Numbers in square brackets refer to line numbers in the original document.

If words are broken across lines in the original text, they will not be broken up in translation; they will instead be assigned to the line which contains most of their letters. If both lines have an equal number of letters, they are usually assigned to the first of the lines on which they appear. If these rules would leave a line with no text, both lines will be indicated in the translation. E.g.:

  • 6. ⲡⲗⲉ-
    7. ⲙⲟⲥ
  • [6-7] Plemos

Performatives, imperatives, optatives and jussives (“I adjure you!”, “Listen to me!”, “Let him go!”, “Let us go!”) are followed by an exclamation mark.

Treatment of Proper Names

For deities and culturally significant figures who are well known, we use the standard English equivalent:

  • ⲓⲏⲥⲟⲩⲥ : Jesus
  • ⲏⲥⲉ : Isis
  • ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ : Peter (the Apostle)
  • ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ : John (the Apostle or Evangelist)

For deities or names whose names do not have a standard English form, we use a standard system of transliteration:

  • ⲁⲃⲣⲁⲥⲁⲝ : Abrasax
  • ⲙⲁⲣⲙⲁⲣⲱⲑ : Marmarōth
  • ϭⲱⲣⲟⲛ : Cōron
  • ϫⲁⲃⲏⲥ : Čabēs
  • Ϧⲁⲣⲓⲡ : Ḫarip
  • ⲁⲭⲏ : Akhē
  • ϣⲁϥⲣⲓⲏⲗ : Šafriēl

For personal names of real individual humans mentioned as clients, victims, or copyists in texts, we use transliteration:

  • ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ : Iōhannēs
  • ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ : Petros
  • ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ : Ahmet
Standard works

Standard reference works referred to in the apparatus include:

  • CDE: Coptic Dictionary Online, ed. by the Koptische/Coptic Electronic Language and Literature International Alliance (KELLIA), https://coptic-dictionary.org/ 
  • Crum CD: Walter E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary (1939) 
  • Förster WBGW: Hans Förster, Wörterbuch der griechischen Wörter in den koptischen dokumentarischen Texten (2002)
  • Černý CED: Jaroslav Černý, Coptic Etymological Dictionary (1976)
  • Kasser CDC: Rodolphe Kasser, Compléments au dictionnaire copte de Crum (1964)
  • LBG: Erich Trapp, Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität, http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/lbg
  • LSJ: Maria Pantelia (director), Online Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon, http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/lsj/
  • Leitz LGG: Christian Leitz, Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen (2002-2003)
  • Vycichl DE: Werner Vycichl, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue copte (1984)
  • Westendorf HWB: Wolfhart Westendorf, Koptisches Handwörterbuch (1965)
Bibliography

Lists previous editions and translations of the text as well as other works mentioned in the notes and apparatus. This is not necessarily a full bibliography of the manuscript to which the text belongs, which may be found in the associated manuscript entry. 

Editor

The project members and collaborators who have worked on producing the edition.


6. List of Editors

The following are the abbreviations used by the primary editors of the Kyprianos database:

AM Ágnes Mihálykó

EL Edward O.D. Love

KD Korshi Dosoo

MPS Markéta Preininger (Svobodová)

ST Stella Türker


7. Usage Policy

The Kyprianos Database is made available under the Open Database License: http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1.0/. Any rights in individual contents of the database are licensed under the Database Contents License: http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/dbcl/1.0/

You are free:

  • to share: To copy, distribute, and use the database.
  • to create: To produce works from the database.
  • to adapt: To modify, transform, and build upon the database.

As long as you:

  • attribute: You must attribute any public use of the database, or works produced from the database, in the manner specified in the ODbL. For any use or redistribution of the database, or works produced from it, you must make clear to others the license of the database and keep intact any notices on the original database.
  • share-alike: If you publicly use any adapted version of this database, or works produced from an adapted database, you must also offer that adapted database under the ODbL.
  • keep open: If you redistribute the database, or an adapted version of it, then you may use technological measures that restrict the work (such as DRM) as long as you also redistribute a version without such measures.

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