Archive name: Heidelberg Library
Trismegistos Archive ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Collections for the archive. 421
Date: question mark icon Dates are CE unless preceded by a minus sign <->, in which case they are BCE. 951 – 1100
Provenance: Fayum, Egypt
Trismegistos Place ID: question mark icon Page on the database Trismegistos Places for the place of provenance.
Manuscripts: KYP M148 166 186 291 293 296 311 312 313
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.


Nine Coptic formularies in the form of sheets and codices on paper and parchment.


Said to have been found in the Fayum, the manuscripts were purchased by Carl Schmidt in 1930 and 1933 through the dealer Maurice Nahman (Gardner and Johnston 2019: p. 31-34).


The manuscripts written by Iōhannes the deacon (see “hand(s)”) were likely written within a few decades (if not less) of 967 CE, the date given on the colophon of P. Heid. Kopt. 582 (=M291). The remaining texts are dated palaeographically to the tenth or eleventh century.


The manuscripts are written either in a form of Sahidic heavily influenced by Fayumic.


The manuscripts written in the hand of Iōhannes the deacon (see “hand(s)”) are all written on parchment. P. Heid. Inv. 685 (M186) and 686 (M166) are written as palimpsests on single sheets from older literary texts which have been folded in half to produce bifolios; that of P. Heid. Inv. 685 contains a Christian lectionary. The remaining parchment manuscripts are small sheets. The remaining manuscripts are written on paper; two P. Heid. Inv. 678 (M311) and 679 (M296) are sheets, while P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 684 (M148) is a codex.


All the manuscripts contain Coptic magical texts of various kinds.


Gardner and Johnston (2019: 50-51) suggest a possible relationship to the monastery of the Archangel Michael at Perkethaut.


Bilabel, Friedrich, and Adolf Grohmann. Griechische, koptische und arabische Texte zur Religion und religiösen Literatur in Ägyptens Spätzeit. Heidelberg: Verlag der Universitätsbibliothek, 1934, p. 304-325, 392-414, nos. 122, 137-142.

Dosoo, Korshi, and Markéta Preininger. Papyri Copticae Magicae. Coptic Magical Texts, Volume 1: Formularies (PCM I 1), Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete – Beihefte 48. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2023, p. 259-263.

Gardner, Iain. “The Heidelberg Magical Archive: A Discussion of its Origins, Context and Purpose.” In Drawing Spirit: The Role of Images and Design in the Magical Practice of Late Antiquity, edited by Jay Johnston and Iain Gardner. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2023, 45-71.

Gardner, Iain. “An Archive of Coptic Handbooks and Exemplars for the Making of Amulets and the Enacting of Ritual Power from the Tenth Century (P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 680–683 and 685–686).” In Drawing Spirit: The Role of Images and Design in the Magical Practice of Late Antiquity, edited by Jay Johnston and Iain Gardner. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2023, 73-134.

Gardner, Iain and Jay Johnston. “‘I, Deacon Iohannes, Servant Of Michael’: A New Look at P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 682 and a Possible Context for the Heidelberg Magical Archive”. Journal of Coptic Studies 21 (2019): 51-53.

Johnston, Jay and Gardner, Iain. “Relations of Image, Text and Design Elements in Selected Amulets and Spells of the Heidelberg Papyri Collection”. In Bild und Schrift auf ‘magischen’ Artefakten, edited by edited by Sarah Kiyanrad, Christoffer Theis and Laura Willer (De Gruyter, 2018), p. 139-148.

Kropp, Angelicus. Der Lobpreis des Erzengels Michael (vormals P. Heidelberg Inv. Nr. 1686). Bruxelles: Fondation égyptologique reine Elisabeth, 1966.

Meyer, Marvin W. The Magical Book of Mary and the Angels (P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 685). Text, Translation and Commentary. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1996.

Meyer, Marvin W., and Richard Smith. Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power. Princeton (New Jersey): Princeton University Press, 1999, p. 153-158, 179-180, 212-215, 323-341, nos. 73, 86, 105, 135.

Edit History:

KD (29/9/2020); EL (29/9/2020); KD (1/2/2023)

How to cite:
Korshi Dosoo, Edward O.D. Love & Markéta Preininger (chief editors). "KYP A8: Heidelberg Library," Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects, Accessed on 20/06/2024

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