Database updates

Kyprianos Update (28 May 2021)

We’ve just posted our latest update to the Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects. As well as correcting some small mistakes in manuscript, text, and archive entries, the update includes:

  • 22 new manuscript entries, bringing the total to 911.
    • These contain primarily Greek and/or Coptic magical texts from Egypt.
  • 6 new text entries, bringing the total to 94. Among the texts we’ve chosen for this update are…
    • the Hymn of Praise of the Archangel Michael, the longest surviving Coptic magical text, a fascinating long prayer for healing and protection from demons attributed to Michael himself. Our new edition is the first since the original German edition of 1966 to be based on the images of the manuscript itself, and also draws upon an unpublished parallel belonging to the Collège de France to resolve some confusing sections of the text, and correct several mistakes from the earlier editions.
    • One of the earliest surviving Coptic magical texts, a curse against a man named Jacob (Iakōb) written in the Akhmimic dialect. This is the first of a group of Akhmimic curses which we’ll be publishing here over the next few updates.
    • An amulet asking for protection for a Zakharias; our new translation resolves several problems with the original edition, and reveals it to be a prayer attributed to the Virgin Mary (as Jacques van der Vliet already observed in 1991!).
    • One of the lists of the names of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, a group of soldier saints whose names were often copied as amulets.
  • The manuscripts table now also contains links to texts mirrored and given linguistic analysis in the Coptic Scriptorium. One example of this can be seen here, and we look forward to increasing the number of mirrored texts as our editing work continues.

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