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Long lost papyrus scraps reveal life in Egypt 2,000 years ago

Hangover cures, plays about Moses and a doctor's report on a drowned slave girl

A long-lost speech from a play about Moses has been discovered on newly translated papers found more than a hundred years ago on an ancient Egyptian rubbish pile. The speech explains how he was given the name Moses because he was found on the riverbank, written in a Greek-style tragedy about the Biblical character written in the Second Century BC. It means that the classic Biblical story would have been performed more than 2,000 years before Charlton Heston played Moses in the 1956 blockbuster The Ten Commandments. 

Also discovered by the Ancient Lives project was a transcript from known playwright Euripides' lost play Andromeda, a tragedy first produced in 417BC. There is additionally a doctor''s note from the 3rd century AD, describing the 'twisted and lifeless body' of a drowned slave girl. But the most interesting to many will be the fragment of a long-lost rendition of the Book of Exodus, written in the style of a Greek tragedy by little-known author called Ezekiel.

Volunteers have helped uncovered a speech by Moses in an original play about the character written in the Second Century BC, found in 1896. File picture
Pictured is one of the 500,000 documents found during the excavation
This papyrus is an example of texts found at Oxyrhynchus and features Euclid's Elements of Geometry. It is one of 500,000 documents found by Victorian archaeologists Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt in 1897
The documents were discovered at the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt  around 120 miles (193km) form Cairo in 1896 (marked)
Hundreds of thousands of texts written on papyrus were found at Oxyrhynchus during the excavation (above)

It had been quoted in another documents by Church Father Eusebius, written 400 years later, but until now, no-one had ever seen it.

Dr Dirk Oddbink, of Oxford University, co-ordinating the project, said: 'We didn't know for certain that a text existed: Eusebius might have made it up or misremembered it,' reports The Independent.

THE ANCIENT HANGOVER CURE

Other discoveries made since the ancient project began include the original cure for a hangover, along with 24 other ancient medical texts published for the first time last year.

Written in Greek, one of the medical recipes offers advice for how to tackle a 'drunken headache' - with the leaves of a shrub called Alexandrian chamaedaphne, or sometimes Alexandrian laurel.

The text recommends stringing the leaves of the evergreen plant, also called Ruscus racemosus, together and possibly wearing it around the neck.

 

'Now we have a real copy, a long speech by Moses, in iambic trimeters, telling the history of his life and how he was discovered as a baby in the bulrushes.

'We can put some flesh and bones on a lost work of literature, one that was presumably performed long before Charlton Heston.'

Other discoveries made since the ancient project began include the original cure for a hangover, along with 24 other ancient medical texts published for the first time last year.

Written in Greek, one of the medical recipes offers advice for how to tackle a 'drunken headache' - with the leaves of a shrub called Alexandrian chamaedaphne, or sometimes Alexandrian laurel.

The text recommends stringing the leaves of the evergreen plant, also called Ruscus racemosus, together and possibly wearing it around the neck.

Workers for the Ancient Lives have uploaded hundreds of thousands of images of Greek papyri fragments online.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3472392/The-original-Ten-Commandments-Ancient-papyrus-reveals-play-Moses-performed-2-000-years-Charlton-Heston-s-classic-movie.html#ixzz41kqqQhD4 

 

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