Herculaneum Papyri in the National Library in Naples

A look back (this was first published on 30 March 2015): I’m new to papyrology but I’ve never seen anything as brain-crackingly slow or detailed as the work being done by these academics.

The Phraser

Herculaneum papyrus Naples A papyrus scroll – not quite destroyed by Vesuvius

The photograph above is of a papyrus scroll from a private library buried by Vesuvius in AD 79.

There are hundreds of scrolls like it, all scarred keepers of ancient thought.  So far it has taken almost two thousand years to unpick a fraction of their secrets.

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Burned, buried and brought back to life

A look back (first published 17 February 2015): discovering the secrets of the papyrus scrolls of Herculaneum, now in the National Library in Naples, Italy.

The Phraser

Library of Naples Library of Naples
Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli

It’s never a good idea to judge anything by appearances.  Here’s an example.

Mid-autumn of last year I was new in Naples.  The language was a challenge and I still didn’t know my way around.  The city seemed hectic and disheveled.

Then, on a wet Wednesday in November, I was invited on a trip to the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli.

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Two years with the Commonwealth Ladies of Naples, Italy

View over Naples, Italy

View over Naples, Italy

Go to any city and there will be groups meeting.  Usually the difficulty is finding your way into them, especially if you’re a newcomer and you don’t speak the language.  Not so in Naples, Italy.

I arrived here two years ago, and luckily it wasn’t long before I was introduced to the Commonwealth Ladies.

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Herculaneum Papyri in the National Library in Naples

Herculaneum papyrus Naples

A papyrus scroll – not quite destroyed by Vesuvius

The photograph above is of a papyrus scroll from a private library buried by Vesuvius in AD 79.

There are hundreds of scrolls like it, all scarred keepers of ancient thought.  So far it has taken almost two thousand years to unpick a fraction of their secrets.

Continue reading