Andreas Winkler, Egyptian astrological manual in Demotic

Papyrus Carlsberg 81 in Demotic

Papyrus Carlsberg 81 in Demotic

The main manuscript presented here (P.Carlsberg 81) is just one witness out of three to an astrological text, a handbook for casting horoscopes, from Tebtunis, a town situated in the southeast corner of the Fayum oasis in Egypt. As the case is with most papyri, it is incomplete; though being durable, papyrus is a perishable material subject to organic decomposition and vermin. In spite of this, the warm and dry climate of Egypt has preserved much material for us.

As of today, 32 individual fragments have been identified of this particular manuscript roll. There are two even more fragmentary manuscript stemming from the same locality that preserve the same text.

The ductus of the script in P.Carlsberg 81 indicates that the manuscript can be dated to the second century AD, although the text is surely a couple of centuries older. The other papyri found in conjunction with the present one also largely confirm such a date; they too are in most cases dated to that very century.