Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) acquired the eleven papyrus manuscripts in 1906/1907 from the Egypt Exploration Fund. After a period of excavations and discoveries under the direction of Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt around the turn of the century, selected universities were given small collections for study and research.
None of our fragments are "new classics," or documents leading to great discoveries regarding the life of the times on which they were written. They are valuable chiefly as examples of writing in their respective periods. Hibeh Nos. 147, 123, 108, and 59 are among the oldest Greek manuscripts extant (the oldest dates from 270 B.C.). Oxyrhynchus 737, as an example of Latin writing in manuscripts, is probably the second in age only to a papyrus in the Vienna library of the date 17-14 B.C.
The descriptions are paraphrased from "Western Reserve Papyri" by Henry B. Van Hoesen, Western Reserve Literary Bulletin v.16 #4, May, 1913.
Examples from the Oxyrhynchus Site:
Oxyrhynchus 748: Homer's Iliad 1, 107-116 (End of Lines)
Homer's 'The Iliad'; writing along the fibers. 1, 107-116 (end of lines). Discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1903.
Homer's The Iliad; writing along the fibers. 4, 87-96 (fragmentary). Discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1903. Corrections in a second hand.
Oxyrhynchus 1003: Part of a Receipt
Part of a receipt; writing across the fibers. Discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1897. The text which follows has been in part conjecturally supplied by means of comparison with other receipts concerning the same parties and commodities. Translation: "Paid by Apollos worker in lead to [Georgios?] for repairing the copper utensils of the property of Meskanounis, eight pounds of lead and four pounds of tin. Total 8 pounds of lead and 4 pounds of tin only."(Henry B. Van Hoesen)
Sophocles' Antigone; writing along the fibers. Lines 242-246. Discovered at Oxyrhynchus 1897-1906.
Oxyrhynchus 956: Homer's Odyssey 23, 309-326 (Omitting Line 320)
Homer's Odyssey 23, 309-326, omitting line 320, which is bracketed as spurious in most editions of the Odyssey. Discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1897. Published in Oxyrh. Pap. 6, no. 956. One jointure. Writing along the fibers in two columns 2.8-3.5 cm. apart.
Oxyrhynchus 750: Homer's Iliad 2, 57-73 (Parts of Lines)
Homer's The Iliad 2, 57-73 (parts of lines). Writing along the fibers. Discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1903.
Oxyrhynchus 737: Account of Wages
Three fragments (a) 21 x 12 cm. Two jointures. (b) 22.2 x 25 cm. Two jointures (c) 15 x 9.5 cm. Writing along the fibers. Account in Latin of wages-paid from day to day to "weavers," "hired persons," and a "foreman." (Henry B. Van Hoesen). Approximate date, time of Augustus (27 B.C. to 14 A.D.). Discovered at Oxyrhynchus on 1903.
Grenfell, Bernard P. and Arthur S. Hunt. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. London: Egypt Exploration Fund, 1898-
Examples from the Hibeh Site:
Hibeh 59: Letter from Zenodorus to Ptolemaeus
Two pieces of papyrus have been joined to form the sheet; the line of jointure is still evident. Space at the top measures 1.7 cm. Writing along the fibers. The letters are fairly broad and the lines about 1 cm. apart, but the ink is so faded as to make the reading extremely difficult. The recto side contains a letter from Zenodorus to Ptolemaeus. On the verso is the name and addressee. Approximate date, time of Augustus (27 B.C. to 14 A.D.). Discovered at El-Hibeh in 1902. Translation: "Zenodoru to Ptolemaeus, greeting. As soon as you receive this letter, send to us under guard the woman who was delivered to you with contraband oil in her possession, and send also the person who delivered her to you; and if you do not stop your malpractices in the village you will repent it. Good-bye. The...year, Epeiph 10." On the verso; "To Ptolemaeus." (Henry B. Van Hoesen)
Writing along the plant fibers. Recto contains the end of a letter, the verso are illegible traces of three lines. Discovered at El-Hibeh in 1902. Translation: "I shall guarantee by note of hand; for they do not entirely trust us. Dionysodorus is not unjust, but arranged that the guards with you keep guard and give heed that it may not happen to us to be... " (Henry B. Van Hoesen)
Hibeh 123 recto
Hibeh 123 verso
An account of cattle received from different persons. Writing along the fibers. Discovered at El-Hibeh in 1902. Translation: "From whom I have received sheep: Apollonius 1, Sopater 1, Alexander 1, and from the son of Deinias at a price of 1, from Demetrius of Kobas 1, Xenodotus at a price 1, Nicander 1." (Henry B. Van Hoesen)
Hibeh 109: Receipt on a Tax Account
Fragments of two columns 2 to 6 mm.apart, with a space of 9 mm. at the bottom. Writing across the fibers. The content is a receipt on a tax account. Discovered at El-Hibeh in 1902. Translation: Col. 1 "Through...oeconomus, Aristogenes and... have...paid the amount due from them and their partners for the tax of 1-6 upon the palm gardens of Teisander, finance official, for the 39th year, in copper on the silver standard ten drachmae. Total 10 drachmae." Col. 2 "Aristogenes and ... have paid to... banker and controller, the amount due from them and their partners for the tax of 1-6 upon the palm garden of Teisander, finance official, for the 39th year, in copper on the silver standard, five drachmae. Total 5 drachmae." (Henry B. Van Hoesen)