Rossi’s Edition of the Coptic Papyrus Codices in the Egyptian Museum in Turin 1

Although published a long time ago by the Italian Egyptologist Francesco Rossi, the collection of seventeen Coptic papyrus codices which are preserved in the Egyptian Museum in Turin is still little-known outside a small group of Coptologists. Starting with 1883, Rossi published the texts of the papyri in ten fascicles of the Memorie della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino. The fascicles were gathered together afterwards in two thick volumes under the title I papiri copti del Museo Egizio di Torino (vol. 1: 1887; vol. 2: 1892).

However, Rossi’s publications has numerous shortcomings. The most important of these shortcomings is doubtlessly his negligence in organizing the material. It is not only that sometimes he neglected to mention whether the texts he edited come from the same manuscript or not but, moreover, he included fragments from the same work in several different fascicles he published during the course of time. These errors were soon noticed by other scholars. For example, many useful emendations are scattered in Oscar von Lemm‘s Koptische Studien & Miscellen. For his part, Robert Atkinson published a critical article concerning Rossi’s haphazard method of editing.

A few words are in order concerning the provenance of the Coptic codices in Turin. They were acquired in Egypt, together with other antiquities, by Bernardino Drovetti, who was general consul of France in Cairo until 1815. In 1821, Drovetti sent the papyri to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, where they were studied for the first time by Amedeo Peyron.

In the covers of one of the codices the volume’s index was discovered, which ends with the remark that the codex belonged to the church of Thinis. This provenance is confirmed by an ex-dono note in another manuscript, which mentions that the book was the property of the Church of John the Baptist in Thinis. This town was the capital of the Thinite nome in Upper Egypt.

Further details about the Turin papyri can be found in T. Orlandi, “Les papyrus coptes du Musée Egyptien de Turin,” Le Muséon 87 (1974) 115-127 (article available here).

Papyrus page containing the beginning of a homily on the Cross and the Good Thief attributed to Theophilus of Alexandria

Here are the five fascicles of the first volume published by Rossi and their content. I will put up the second volume as soon as I finish to scan it.

fascicle 1 – Trascrizione di un codice copto del Museo Egizio di Torino (download here):

  • Acta Pilati
  • ps-Theophilus of Alexandria, Homily on the Cross and the Good Thief

fascicle 2 – Trascrizione di alcuni testi copti tratti dai papiri del Museo Egizio di Torino (download here):

  • Life of Athanasius of Alexandria
  • Gnomai of the Council of Nicea
  • ps-Athanasius of Alexandria, Didascalia

fascicle 3 – Trascrizione di tre manoscritti copti del Museo Egizio di Torino (download here)

  • Life of the Blessed Aphou
  • Eudoxia and the Holy Sepulchre
  • On John the Baptist
  • ps-Proclus of Constantinople, On John the Baptist

fascicle 4 – Papiri copti del Museo Egizio di Torino. Testo e traduzione della Vita di sant’Ilarione e del Martirio di Sant’Ignazio (download here)

  • Jerome, Life of Hilarion
  • Martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch

fascicle 5 – I martirii di Gioore, Heraei, Epimaco e Ptolemeo con altri frammenti (download here)

  • fragments from the Acts of the Council of Nicea
  • fragments from the Life of Athanasius of Alexandria
  • Martyrdom of Joore
  • Martyrdom of Ama Heraei
  • Martyrdom of Epimachus
  • Martyrdom of Ptolemy

About Alin Suciu

I am a researcher at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. I write mostly on Coptic literature, Patristics, and apocryphal texts.
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11 Responses to Rossi’s Edition of the Coptic Papyrus Codices in the Egyptian Museum in Turin 1

  1. Hany N. Takla says:

    Thank you so much Alin. These are very valuable and rare sources. Keep up the good work.

  2. Alin Suciu says:

    Yes, that’s why I found it useful to scan them. The four fascicles of the second volume are coming soon.

  3. Thank you so much for making these available! I’ve been wanting to look at the John the Baptist material from there for some time, to see if there are any points of intersection with Mandaean sources.

  4. Pingback: Rossi’s Edition of the Coptic Papyrus Codices in the Egyptian Museum in Turin « Exploring Our Matrix

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  6. Sergey says:

    Thank you so much!

  7. Christophe says:


    Have you scanned yet the fascicules of the second volume ? I would be deeply interested !

    Best regards.

  8. AP says:

    Hello Alin,
    This was a helpful post.
    Are fascicules of the second volume available?
    Thank you

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