Archive name: Hermonthis Archive
Trismegistos Archive ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Collections for the archive.
Date: question mark icon Dates are CE unless preceded by a minus sign <->, in which case they are BCE. 301 – 500
Provenance: Thebes, Egypt
Trismegistos Place ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Places for the place of provenance.
Manuscripts: KYP M156 157 158 748 749 1138
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.


Five manuscripts on papyrus (4 rolls and a sheet) purchased by the British Musuem in 1888. PGM XIa (M158) was written on the verso of an account which is also mentioned in P. Lips. 1 97 (M1138), which may therefore also belong to the library.


Five of the papyri (M156, M157, M158, M748, M749) were purchased by the British Museum in May 1888 from a native Egyptian, which had been brought to England by Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge with Messrs Bywater, Tanqueray and Co. of London acting as agents, for £150, along with the Book of the Dead of Ani (BM EA 10470), part of the Book of the Dead of Nakht (BM EA 10473), and a miscellaneous collection of Hieratic texts (BM EA 10474). Budge seems to have acquired the text from a seller based in Luxor, perhaps Muḥammad Muḥassib (1843-1928) or ‘Abd al-Magid Hussain Aga (ca 1850-1915) (KD 23/11/2020). P. Lips. 1 97 is in two parts, one held in Leipzig, one held in Bonn. The Leipzig part was originally broken into two fragments, the smaller of which, containing the first six columns, was originally held in the Royal Museum in Berlin before being transferred to Leipzig. The larger part, containing the remainder, is said in the Leipzig Papyrusammlung’s inventory book to have been purchased through Otto Rubensohn of the Berlin Museum in August 1902, and to have come from Ashmunein. The details of the acquisition of the Bonn section are unknown (Colomon & Schott 2005; Mitteis 1906).


PGM XIa (M158) is written on the back of an account of expenses dated to 336 CE relating to an estate centering on Hermonthis, south of Luxor, thereby giving the archive its name (although we cannot be certain that this is where it was from). P. Lips. 97, a copy of several Psalms written on the back of another series of accounts, apparently from the same estate as those of PGM XIa, may also belong to the archive. The hands have been dated by the GEMF project to the fourth century (fourth or fifth for PGM X = M749 and PGM XIa = M158).


All the texts are written in Greek.


All the texts consist of rolls of various lengths, 25-33 cm in height, except PGM IX (M748) which is written on a strip 9.5 cm wide cut from such a roll and turned 90 degrees to be written against the fibres. PGM XIa (M158) and P. Lips. 1 197 (M1138) are both written on the backs of accounts from the same estate.


All of the manuscripts contain a range of Graeco-Egyptian magical texts, except P. Lips. 1 97 (M1138), which is a copy of Psalms LXX 30.5-55.14.


The coherence of the article is suggested by the fact that they were all (except P. Lips. 1 97 = M1138) acquired in a single sale, and contain similar material presented in similar manuscript formats in similar hands. P. Lips. 1 97 (M1138) may well belong to the archive, since the estate which produced the accounts on its recto is only otherwise attested by the recto of PGM XIa (M158); it would therefore be a considerable coincidence if both papyri had been re-used separately, well-preserved, and then discovered and sold within 15 years of one another.


Bagnall, Roger S. Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, p. 126.

Colomo, Daniela and Reinhold Scholl. “Psalmen und Rechnungen: P.Bonn. Inv. 147 + P.Lips. I 97,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 153 (2005): 163-167.

Dosoo, Korshi. “A History of the Theban Magical Library,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 53 (2016): 265-266.

Gee, John. “Abracadabra, Isaac and Jacob,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 7.1 (1995): 45.

Martín Hernández, Raquel. “El PGM VII y los papiros del ‘archivo mágico de Hermontis’. Algunas consideraciones sobre su contenido.” In Magia, cultura y sociedad en el mundo antiguo, ed. Emilio Suárez de la Torre, Isabel Canzobre and Carmen Sánchez Mañas. Madrid: Dyckinson, 2020, p. 277-291.

Mitteis, Ludwig. Griechische Urkunden der Papyrussammlung zu Leipzig. 1er Band. Leipzig: Teubner, 1906, p. 245-246.

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 A7: Hermonthis Archive," Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects, Accessed on 20/06/2024

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