▷ New showroom “Papyrus Ebers” opened in the Bibliotheca Albertina

25.10.2021 – 10:02

Leipzig Tourism and Marketing GmbH

New showroom “Papyrus Ebers” opened in the Bibliotheca Albertina

The Leipzig University Library preserves the longest and only completely surviving medical papyrus roll from ancient Egypt, which the Leipzig Egyptologist Georg Ebers acquired for the university library in 1873. Ebers had this text written in hieratic script printed in 1875. In the state in which it was found, the Ebers papyrus was still an 18.63 meter long coherent roll of papyrus. For conservation reasons, when it was first stored in Leipzig, it was cut into 29 parts, kept under glass and since then has not been presented to the public as a coherent whole . The replica of the papyrus roll can now be viewed free of charge as a new part of the permanent exhibition in a specially set up showroom in the foyer of the Bibliotheca Albertina daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. This was officially opened on October 12, 2021.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Johannes Schneider, Director of the Leipzig University Library, said happily: “The papyrus roll is more impressive than the original, which has been glazed in individual parts since 1873. It also shows the black and red writing differently and more tangibly than the digital edition can. “

The Ebers papyrus is one of the most important sources of ancient Egyptian medicine. It contains almost 900 recipes and teaching texts on general and internal medicine. In it he names around 80 clinical pictures, including heart disease, intestinal problems, parasites and eye diseases as well as the associated remedies such as ointments, pills and bandages. Dr. Lutz Popko (project collaborator at the Saxon Academy of Sciences) translated instructions into German read something like this: “A means of treating the hair properly: The tooth of a donkey is smashed and placed in honey. The head is then anointed with it. ”(Eb 470). “Polei Mint” works against colds. Get grated with dates. Be given to the nose ”(Eb 762).

On his second trip to Egypt in 1872/73, Georg Ebers bought the medical papyrus roll in Luxor, which he named after himself. The Egyptologist transported these on a Nile barge about 600 kilometers downstream to Cairo and from there to Leipzig, where he had them published in print in 1875. The replica of the world heritage was realized by screen printing on real papyrus, which creates an impression that is extremely true to the original. When fully rolled out, it is displayed in an eleven-meter-long glass showcase on large illuminated panels and can be viewed from both sides. The scroll contains a total of 110 columns with 879 individual texts on nine medical topics. The texts written in hieratic script are read from right to left and appear in red and black ink, with the red ink mostly indicating the quantities of the recipes. Their emergence is to the end of the 16th century BC. Dated. It can be assumed that the writing comes from a single scribe. Since the role is described at the end on the back, its completeness can be attested.

The showroom was mainly made possible by fundraising in 2019 and 2020. Four major main sponsors and more than 80 donors made a high five-figure sum available for the project. The entire Ebers papyrus has been digitized and is available on the homepage, together with a German and an English translation.

The university library, founded in 1543, is one of the oldest university libraries in Germany. The current building, the Bibliotheca Albertina, was built between 1887 and 1891 by Arwed Rossbach in the neo-renaissance style at its current location at Beethovenstraße 6 and named after the then reigning Saxon King Albert. It is one of a total of eleven locations of the Leipzig University Library and currently houses more than 5.5 million volumes.

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