P.Nepheros 9 (P.UB Trier S 73-16)

What is Papyrology?

You love to solve riddles? You are fascinated by antiquity, its culture, religion, economy as well as its politics and you want to take a dive into its every day life? Would you like to discover the way of thinking, the emotions and the feelings of ancient people? You are interested in the reconstruction of texts and the reality of living in the ancient times? You are captured by the history, languages and literature of the greco-roman past? You enjoy working in an interdisciplinary environment and you would love to work with real antique objects? If this applies to you, Papyrology is the right choice for you!


Papyrology, meaning the science of paper, got its name from the papyrus plant, Cyperus Papyrus L., whos stem was used to manufacture writing materials by the ancient Egyptians. Papyrologists engage in studying and decifering handwritten Greek as well as Latin texts that are preserved on papyrus or other writing materials, such as parchment, potsherds or wood etc. Furthermore, papyrologists gather the information extracted from these ancient sources.


The Papyrus plant was exported from the land oft he pyramids into the whole antique world and came to use everywhere, as well as in Roman Trier. The vegetable material as an archeological find can only be excavated in the dry desert sand, which is the only environment where it is preserved, as it decomposes under wet conditions. Most findings of papyri originate from Egypt, where the Greek language became the official language since it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. Even after the conquest of Egypt by the Romans and its inclusion into the Imperium Romanum in 30 CE Greek remained the most important language and papyrus was still in use. Because of this period texts in Latin were preserved as well. The status of Greek as the official language was maintained until the early ages of the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in 642 CE, who introduced rag paper. This new material slowly replaced papyrus and the Arabic language along with the Islam superseded greco-roman culture.