Archive name: Berlin Library
Trismegistos Archive ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Collections for the archive. 435
Date: question mark icon Dates are CE unless preceded by a minus sign <->, in which case they are BCE. 642 – 800
Provenance: Fayum, Egypt (?)
Trismegistos Place ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Places for the place of provenance.
Manuscripts: KYP M76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 111 112 114 115 116 119 3714
See all manuscripts in this archive.

These manuscripts may comprise an “archive”, meaning that they were brought together and deposited by an ancient person or persons.


21 papyrus and parchment Coptic magical formularies (along with one alchemical text) of various sizes and formats, with 21 fragments of further texts (Berlin P. 8333 = M116).


Purchased by Dr. Carl August Reinhardt (1856-1903), Prussian consul to Egypt, in the Fayum (Richter 2020: p. 152; Dosoo forthcoming).


Berlin P. 8331 is written on a reused protocol from the governorship of Abd al-ʿAzīz ibn Marwān (685-705 CE). Since the hands on all the manuscripts are similar, a date shortly before this, or in the century following it, seems reasonable (Richter 2020: p. 153-154).


The texts were said to have been purchased in the Fayum, and this provenance is also suggested by dialectal features of the texts of the archive, since all of the texts are written in Coptic, generally Sahidic which displays Fayumic influence or Fayumic.


The manuscripts are generally in the form of narrow rotuli (ca. 10 cm in width) written on papyrus or parchment. A few pieces are larger – Berlin P. 8313 (M76); 8318 (M81) – a horizontal roll and a rotulus respectively, written on papyrus.


All of the manuscripts contain magical texts of diverse kinds – amuletic, healing, love spells, curses etc. – with the exception of Berlin P. 8316 (M79) which contains an “alchemical” text, consisting of instructions on how to create purple dye.

Bibliography: Dosoo, Korshi. "Horus, Sabaoth, Satanas: La « Bibliothèque de Berlin » et autres fonds d’archives magiques de l’Égypte romaine et des premières siècles de la période islamique", in La magie et les sciences occultes dans le monde islamique edited by Jean-Charles Coulon (forthcoming).
Erman, Adolf. “Ein koptischer Zauberer.” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 33 (1895): 43-46.
Richter, Tonio S. “P.Berlin P.8316 (= BKU I 21), ein koptisches Rezept zur Purpur-Imitation durch Krapp-Färbung auf gebeizter Wolle”, Journal of Coptic Studies 22 (2020): 151-186.
Edit History:

KD (29/9/2020); EL (29/9/2020); KD (23/11/2020)

How to cite:
Korshi Dosoo, Edward O.D. Love & Markéta Preininger (chief editors). "KYP A14: Berlin Library," Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects, Accessed on 02/12/2023

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