Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Derveni Papyrus
(619 words)


The Derveni papyrus is the oldest surviving Greek manuscript. It was found carbonized near Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1962, and  preserves in a fragmentary manner a previously unknown prose work written in Ionic-Attic by an unidentifiable author who interprets a theogonic poem ascribed to the mythical poet and sage Orpheus as a coded cosmological theory.

A carbonized papyrus-roll found in 1962 near Derveni, a site about 10 km northwest of Thessaloniki, Greece, among the debris from a funeral pyre that had been strewn over …

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Theokritos Kouremenos, “Derveni Papyrus”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000093>
First published online: 2013

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