A Text on Medicine & Magic

P. Mich. Inv. 593; recto (pages 9-10)

The inventory number 593 includes a group of papyrus leaves and fragments, ten leaves of which are believed to comprise twenty pages of a codex known as the Wizard’s Hoard. The content of the manuscript is magic and medicine, and it is believed to date from sometime between the fourth and the sixth centuries. The text description contains this qualification: “The line of demarcation between medicine and magic is, of course, not always easily drawn. Prayers, spells and substances are all applied in the same pragmatic way.” The manuscript is written in Coptic in various hands with varying quality of letter formation. 

P. Mich. Inv. 593

 P. Mich. Inv. 593; recto (pages 9-10)

P. Mich. Inv. 593; verso (pages 11-12)

These two leaves from the codex, above and on your right (pp. 9/10, and pp. 11/12) show the two consistent holes pierced along the spine edge (left edge of page 9, right edge of page 12) indicating an attachment system, perhaps thread or thin cord passing through the holes stabbed through the side of the text block, the thread then overcast along the spine edge. The vertical break in the middle of each page indicates the group of sheets was folded in half. The codex would have measured approximately 17 cm high x 16 cm wide; the almost square format is not unusual among Coptic codices.

P. Mich. Inv. 593

P. Mich. Inv. 593; verso (pages 11-12)

P. Mich. Inv. 593 (cord)

A textile strap also assigned to the 593 inventory number, approximately 70 cm long. A note written on the general inventory list entry for 593 suggests that this textile strap may have wrapped the bundle of manuscript leaves at some point; the fold memory points in the strap match the width of the text block when the text block is folded in half vertically. 

P. Mich. Inv. 593 (cord)

P. Mich. Inv. 593 (cord)

Model of P. Mich. Inv. 593

Here is a model showing how the pages would have been folded and wrapped with a band. For this exhibit, curator Julia Miller has built numerous models that reconstruct how these texts were originally bound.

Model of P. Mich. Inv. 593

Model of Mich. Inv. 593 (folded)

A School Exercise & Biblical Texts

Homer & The Old Testament