Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anecdote from Birmingham

The wonderful conference in Birmingham is now over and I have just stopped by in Cambridge to visit Peter Head and his family and then continue to the airport at London Stansted. I will try to summarize more papers when I get home, but here is a small anecdote told by the now retired papyrologist at the British Library, Walter Cockle (on the picture), whom I met at the colloquium.

At breakfast he told us about a professor in Edinburgh, Wallace Lindsey (I hope I remember the name), who died tragically in a traffic accident. Among his belongings, within a book, was found a documentary papyrus. The scholars at the university had to write to Cockle and ask him where it could have come from (they seemed to be worried). He could tell them that it was part of the Oxhyrhyncus papyri and that it had been given to the university, since they had helped finance the excavations. Apparently, Wallace Lindsey had used this papyri as a bookmark! There was not much control in those days in their library.

By the way, Cockle told me that it was he who had cleaned and prepared P78 for vol. 34 of the Oxyr. Papyri, an item on which I have written an essay.

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