History of Papyrology - beta

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My dear Smyly,
How is P.P.III2 getting on? I
do hope it is on the point of coming out at last. We
shall not lightly forgive you, if we have to do the
Hibeh volume3 without its assistance. Kenyon4 quite
refused to believe when I assured him that this
winter would see its appearance.
We managed to scramble through the texts of
Tebtunis II5 (except the Dictys fragment6) before we
left. Some day you might look through the proofs,
if you have time; but as the appendices have
still to be written and the volume isnt to appear
till far on in 1906,7 you had better see the revised
proofs. We returned to Egypt to find everyone
trying scheming to get hold of some of the surplus set
free by the Anglo-French Agreement.8 Those
who have got posts are trying to get their salaries
raised, those who havent are intriguing to
obtain them. All the government departments are
being reorganised, the Museum among the rest.
Whether any good will come out of it may be

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doubted. That sucking9 papyrologist, Lefebvre,10
has been made an inspector of antiquities, so
will be practically lost which is a pity
for he was at any rate capable of learning.
Another English inspector or two is to be
appointed, and a fly11 was thrown in our
direction, but needless to say was rejected with
scorn. It would take a very large bribe to
make us desert papyri now, and certainly
nothing could induce us to reside permanently
in this country, which is charming enough in winter
when one is far away by oneself, but is
intolerable in the haunts of the tourist
& official. So we sped as swiftly as
possible back here, and proceeded with
some qualms to knock down the wall
door & window of our house which had been
bricked up during our absence. To our
relief not tenants more serious than
spiders & lizards (and 1 snake) appeared,
and we were ^able to settle down at once
without going through the usual odious

preliminaries of making an encampment.
The excavations proceed as before, with
practically the same set of men, who are pretty
expert by this time, though they require a
good deal of looking after (especially with
regard to the internecine disputes which
inevitably arise about the ownership of a
papyrus on boundary line between two sets
of diggers) ; and this I have to do almost
unaided now, for my headman of former
years has been taken for a soldier, and
his successor has not lung power enough
to cope with the rather turbulent inhabitants
of this village. We have now had nearly
a month's work and filled some 32 tins.
The first three weeks were not very exacting,
but the last week has produced some
quite fine 3rd century documents. Literary
fragments have been numerous in quantity
& rather poor in quality — the best being
with unusual perversity Homer. Nothing
earlier than the 2nd century yet, but I hope
the mound we are going to begin tomorrow

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may yield something earlier — though for
Ptolemaic papyri one dare not expect here,
and even the Roman part is getting rather
exhausted now except where the ^Roman layers are
buried deep under Byzantine and not much
use as far as papyri are concerned.
Jouguet12 has not come out this winter. Rubensohn13
and the Italians14 are quarelling violently over
Eshmunên (Hermopolis)15 which was divided between
them. The Italians seem to have the richer
ground, but Rubensohn appears to buy their
chief finds from the dealer whom they
employ as reis!16
Love to J.P.M.17 As you probably know, I am
to deliver two discourses under the auspices
of Bernard18 at Dublin in June, so hope to see
you all then. Hunt is busy developing
prospective lantern slides. Pace In spite of the
'obscurity' of my style, the Scotch19 seemed
rather to approve of my so-called
popular lecture.
We shall be here till about March 20th or even
a little later, if funds hold out.
Salves from Hunt

Yours ever

2. P.Petr. III, which would appear later in 1905.

3. P.Hib. I, which would appear in 1906.

5. P.Tebt. II, which would appear in 1907.

6. This would be published as P.Tebt. II 268.

7. It appeared in 1907, in fact.

8. The so-called Entente Cordiale.

9. Presumably meaning "not yet weaned."

11. Presumably the metaphor is from angling.

14. Reference to Evaristo Breccia and Ernesto Schiaparelli. The German and Italian teams working in Hermopolis had been quarreling ever since 1903; see Morelli, D., and R. Pintaudi (edd.) (1983) Cinquant'anni di papirologia in Italia. Napoli: 77-81.

16. "Captain," i.e., their foreman.

19. Grenfell lectured for the Aberdeen Philosophical Society on November 17, 1904.

Cite this page: Center for the Tebtunis Papyri. Document 89. History of Papyrology. https://histpap.info/letters/89/.