Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Literature > 190. Homer

190a.  Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?).  Iliad [Book 2.433-452]. Papyrus fragment, Greek: Ist Century BCE-early Ist Century CE. RBML, Col. inv. 517b, P. Col. VIII 196

190b.  Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?).  Odyssey [Book 12.384-390]. Papyrus fragment, Greek: IIIrd Century-IInd Century BCE. RBML, Col. inv. 201c1, P. Col. VIII 200

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses Columbia's extraordinary collection of 2000 papyrus fragments. The fragment to the right from the Odyssey is Columbia's earliest Homeric fragment, dating from between the third century to the second century BCE.

Most papyrus finds are non-literary texts, but among the literary pieces, Homer is the most frequently represented author. Fragments of the Odyssey are much less common than those of the Iliad, being outnumbered four to one.

(Iliad) Purchased from M. Nahman through H. I. Bell, 1930 ; (Odyssey) Purchased from Dr. Askren through H. I. Bell, 1924

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