• News

    Kyprianos Digital Database Presentation: 5 November 2020

    Now that the Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects has been online for nearly a month, the team would like to hold a short online session via Zoom in order to help demonstrate how it works, and discuss our plans for its development. The session is open to the general public, and held on Thursday 5 November at 4pm Würzburg time (GMT + 1) – this is equivalent to 8am Los Angeles time, 11am New York time, 3pm London time, 5pm Cairo time, 12 midnight Tokyo time, and 2am Sydney time. The session will be held digitally via Zoom. If you’d like to attend, please register here. The…

  • News

    Update to the Coptic Dictionary Online

    The Coptic Dictionary Online is a fantastic online resource – free to use, it is already the most complete dictionary of the Coptic language to exist, containing not only the words of native Egyptian origin, but also a huge number of Greek loanwords. Our colleagues behind this tool have just announced an update making it an even more useful resource; one of my favourite new tools is the “term network”, which allows you to see how the word is typically used in larger constructions. Here is a press release giving fuller details:

  • News,  The Kyprianos Database

    2020 Review: The Kyprianos Database Launch and the Second Year of the Coptic Magical Papyri Project

    The Launch of the Kyprianos Database In September, we hit the second year mark, so it’s time to talk about all the things we’ve been up to in the last twelve months. But before we get to that, we should share our big news – the Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects is now online! In this first stage, we’re sharing our data on 677 manuscripts and 11 texts, but there will be regular updates to increase the number of published manuscripts and texts, and begin to add information for archives, as well as copies of drawings from the magical texts. At the moment, the database includes manuscript…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #5: Egyptian Language Development with Edward Love

    Edward O.D. Love, a member of our project, talks about the development of Egyptian language and script, as the relation between Demotic and Coptic was the focus of his PhD research. Edward thoroughly explains the evolution from hieroglyphics, Hieratic, Demotic, to the Coptic writing, as well as the grammatical progress of the language. A particular focus is put also on the domains of writing and their explanation. Besides these topics, Edward discussed his academic background and his years in Oxford, where he obtained his BA, MSt and PhD. You can listen to the podcast here, or you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. A link to…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #4: Coptic Magical Papyri Project with Korshi Dosoo

    For the next three podcast episodes, we have decided to bring the project closer to you by interviewing the three core members of the project. In this podcast episode, Korshi Dosoo, the leader of the project, talks not only about the origin of the Coptic Magical Papyri project, but about Coptic magic within the larger framework of the cultural context, as well as about the roots of his own interest in magic in general. You can listen to the podcast here, or you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Podcast Addict. A link to the podcast is also on the sidebar, on the right.

  • Coptic Amulets

    Coptic Amulets V: “Oh Lord God Almighty, may you take away every pain and every wind from the leg of Beres”

    This week’s post takes a deep dive into another healing amulet from Kyprianos, our database of Coptic magical texts. P. Vienna K 08638, now housed in the collection of the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, is a small rectangular sheet of parchment, 8.5cm in height and 6.8cm in width. The recto (front) of the sheet was filled with an applied text, whose 13 lines covered the surface, with the name of its client written upon it. With three clear vertical creases and perhaps five horizontal creases, the sheet was perhaps folded from the outside in, leaving all of its outer edges folded within a neat parcel of about 2cm by 2.5cm. This…

  • Coptic Charms

    Coptic Charms II: Horus and the Fish of the Sun God

    In this series we’re discussing charms – spells in the form of short stories which mirror and resolve problems in the real world. In the first post of this series we discussed a text from an eighth-century CE manuscript which, although from a Christian context, contained a story in which the Egyptian god Horus eats a bird which is mysteriously three birds at the same time, and has a stomach ache which is healed by his mother Isis. As we mentioned, this Coptic text has a very close parallel in a much older Egyptian charm, which is the subject of this post. Leiden I 348 is a roll 360 cm…

  • Coptic Amulets,  Coptic Magic

    Coptic Amulets IV: Jesus Christ, give healing, quickly, quickly!

    This week’s post takes a deep dive into another healing amulet from Kyprianos, our database of Coptic magical texts. This tall thin sheet of parchment, 30.5cm in height but only 4.5cm in width, was filled with an applied text, a text with the name of its client written upon it. The amulet was produced to protect a man named Mina, son of Euprepri and Zoe, from all manner of illnesses through the names and powers of Jesus Christ. Although dated by its first editor, Viktor Stegemann, to the 5th century CE, some of the ways certain words in the text are spelled suggest it could be later. The photograph of…

  • Podcast

    Podcast #3: Koptische Magie und Alchemie mit Sebastian Richter

    In our third podcast episode – recorded this time in German – we sat down with Professor Sebastian Richter from the Free University of Berlin, expert on Coptic language and papyrology to discuss, among other topics, the possible relationship between Coptic magical and alchemical texts. What did alchemy mean in the context of Byzantine and Islamic Egypt? What alchemical processes do the manuscripts edited by Professor Richter uncover, and who wrote them? Listen and enjoy! In unserem dritten Podcast – ausnahmsweise in deutscher Sprache aufgenommen – haben wir uns mit Prof. Sebastian Richter von der Freien Universität Berlin zusammengesetzt, um die mögliche Beziehung zwischen koptischen magischen und alchemistischen Texten zu…

  • Coptic Curses

    Coptic Curses V: Pshai, Ouales, and the Scorching of the Mustard

    This week we’re going to take another look at one of the most unusual magical texts to survive from Late Antique Egypt, P. Kell. Copt. 35, a letter containing a magical spell intended to separate a couple. We already discussed this text briefly in our post about Manichaeism and magic – like all of the texts from the ancient oasis-city of Kellis, this papyrus was uncovered by the excavations of the team from the University of Monash in Melbourne, Australia, led by Colin Hope. It was found in House 3 of Area A, inhabited in the fourth century by several generations of an extended family of Manicheans, who abandoned it…