The Papyrus Project Bremen

The papyrus collection of Bremen includes 87 papyri, of which 84 are located at the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen and three papyri at the Übersee-Museum . It belongs thus to the minor papyrus collections in Germany.

Before the founding of the Deutsche Papyrus-Kartell the merchand Hermann Melchers (1842-1918) commissioned in 1902 the archaeologist Ludwig Borchard (1863 - 1938) to purchase papyri. The papyri with the Apollonios archive were distributed after their acquisition between the various locations in Bremen.

Melchers let the papyri of Bremen be put under glass by the worldwide acknowledged expert for conservation of the Berlin State Museums Hugo Ibscher (1874-1943). He offered them in November 1903 to the director of the then municipal library of Bremen, Heinrich Bulthaupt (1849-1905) as a donation. As from 1905 the papyri were described by Ulrich Wilcken and edited with new numbering. Therefore, they have two signatures.

The papyri of Bremen originate mainly from the environment of the official Apollonios, who acted as nome strategos under the emperors Trajan (98-117) and Hadrian (117-138 AD) from ca. 113 to 120 AD. He was instructed with the administration of the nome Apollonopolites Heptakomias. The documents written in Greek (the only exception is P.Brem. 85 [= Nr. 86] = P.65 in copte) contain administrative records as well as private and business letters. The importance of this collection results primarily from the genesis of the documents mainly around the strategos Apollonios.