Oxyrhynchus is the name of the chief town of an ancient district in Middle Egypt, on the west bank of the Bahr Yusuf west of the Nile, at modern Bahnasa. So called by the after a fish worshiped there, it became famous particularly through the excavations for papyri carried out by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt in the of 1896-1897 and in the years 1903-1907. The excavations were so productive that this site is first in Egypt for its yields of papyrus.

The papyri are chiefly documents and literary texts from the time of down to the eighth century, which are currently being published in the series Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The literary finds are of particular importance. In addition to the texts, there are texts in Hebrew and Syriac, but only a few in Coptic have become known (Crum, 1927; Kahle, 1898; Quecke, 1974).


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  • Crum, W. E. “Some Further Meletian Documents.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 13 (1927):25f.
  • Fikhman, I. F. Oksirinkh. Moscow, 1976.
  • Kahle, P. E. Bala’izah I, p. 236, n. 2. London, 1954.
  • Oxyrhynchus Papyri. London, 1898-; 55 vols. to date.
  • Preisendanz, K. Papyrusfunde und Papyrusforschung, esp. pp. 137-41. Leipzig, 1933.
  • Quecke, H. In Papiri della Universita degli Studi di Milano, Vol. 5, 1974. 87ff. Milan, 1974.
  • Turner, E. G. “Roman Oxyrhynchus.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 38 (1952):78-93.