Thursday, April 21

Lost Greek Tragedies Written on Crocodile Mummies!!

The decoding of the Oxyrhynchus papyrii: What a story! In a former life, I was a student in Prof. Joseph Duggan's paleography ('old writing') graduate seminar and got a chance to see the famous papryi stored at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. I do other things now, but the idea of ancient texts written out by bored students of" the classics" on scrap papyrus later used to mummify crocodiles for a cut-rate Alexandrian funeral--it still tickles me mightily. Lost works of Sophocles deciphered at last! These days, I mostly decipher press releases and 10-K filings, but hey, deciphering is deciphering. The romance of it is irresistible.


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