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Document Details :

Title: The Crocodile Pit of Maabdeh, Florence Nightingale, and the British Museum's Acquisition of the Harris Homers
Author(s): NONGBRI, Brent
Journal: Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
Volume: 54    Date: 2017   
Pages: 207-217
DOI: 10.2143/BASP.54.0.3239879

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can be known about the provenance and collection history of the manuscripts and introduces new evidence in the form of unpublished letters of Florence Nightingale that mention the sale of Harris’s collection of Egyptian antiquities.

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