The Crocodile Pit of Maabdeh, Florence Nightingale, and the British Museum's acquisition of the Harris Homers

Brent Nongbri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Two manuscripts of the Iliad acquired in the middle of the nineteenth century by Anthony Charles Harris, the famous “Harris Homers,” are usually said to have been discovered at “the Crocodile Pit at Maabdeh.” The British Museum eventually bought both manuscripts. Yet, the details of both Harris’s acquisition of the manuscripts and their sale to the British Museum are murky. The earliest relevant sources, which seem to have been lost to scholarship, contradict each other as well as later accounts. This article reviews what can be known about the provenance and collection history of the manuscripts and introduces new evidence in the form of unpublished letters of Florence Nightingale that mention the sale of Harris’s collection of Egyptian antiquities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalBulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • papyrology
  • Mummies
  • Anthony Charles Harris
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Iliad
  • Provenance
  • Museum archaeology

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