Derveni Papyrus

The Derveni Papyrus dates back to 340 B.C., making it the oldest surviving manuscript of Europe. This ancient Greek papyrus was found in 1962. It is a philosophical treatise produced in the second half of the fifth century B.C.. This papyrus has offered us fascinating new evidence on the philosophy and religion of ancient Greece.

The scroll was found in a nobleman’s grave in Macedonia, northern Greece. This rich cemetery was once part of an ancient city, Lete. Currently, the papyrus scroll is housed in the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.

In the text, the writer comments on a poem written by Orpheus. Through the poem, Night gives birth to Heaven, Uranus. Cronus (Time) later takes the crown from Uranus, losing it in turn to the mighty Zeus.

The text has been partially published, though more study is needed. The text is difficult to translate. Modern scholars are attempting to decipher the mysteries of the Derveni papyrus.

The Derveni papyrus, courtesy Wikipedia.