The collection of ancient documents, the main group of which comprises papyruses, but which also includes a very large number of other media, was built up starting in 1899 on the initiative of two professors at the University of Strasbourg - Wilhelm Spiegelberg and Richard Reitzenstein. It was subsequently developed by the Germany Papyrus Cartel, which was managed by the library from 1912 to 1914. The First World War put an end to further growth of the collection.


In addition to the collections of ostraca (5 000 items), 255 mummy labels, 487 tablets in cuneiform script and 15 cylindrical seals, there are 5 200 papyruses.

The BNU is particularly proud to be able to offer papyrologists, Egyptologists and specialists in Ancient History this valuable collection, which is one of the very top collections in Europe in this field.

The papyrus referred to as the Strasbourg papyrus of Empedocles is one of the highlights of the collection; but there are also very many other exceptional items that bring Strasbourg closer to the eastern Greek world, important moments in the culture of the ancient world, and the birth of our own civilisation.

Every language spoken in Egypt in the course of its history is represented here - Greek, demotic Greek, Coptic and Arabic.

Manager of the Egyptology collections:
Gisela Bélot
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 32

Reserve Stacks Manager:
Daniel Bornemann
tel. +33 (0)3 88 25 28 20

For more information:

Charpin, D., Durand, J.-M. Documents cunéiformes de Strasbourg conservés à la Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire. Strasbourg, 1981.

Collomp, Paul (et al.). Papyrus grecs de la Bibliothèque nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg: 126-168 (Publications produced by the Faculty of Letters of Strasbourg University; 97). Paris, 1948.

Didier, Christophe (dir.). Impressions d'Europe : trésors de la B.N.U.S. Entre France et Allemagne. Strasbourg, 2003.

Didier, Christophe (dir.). Egypte-Europe, allers-retours. La Revue de la BNU, Strasbourg, 2010, no.2.

Frank, Carl. Strassburger Keilschriften in sumerischer und babylonischer Sprache. Berlin, 1928.

Iltis, P. Katalog der technischen Werke und Zeitschriften der Kaiserl. Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek in Strassburg. Strasbourg, 1913.

Preisigke, Friedrich. Griechische Papyrus der Kaiserlichen Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg, Leipzig, 1912-1920.

Spiegelberg, Wilhelm. Die demotischen papyrus der strassburger Bibliothek. Strasbourg, 1902.

Schneider, Nikolaus. Die Drehem und Djoha-Urkunden der strassburger Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek. Rome, 1931.

Schwartz, Jacques (et al.). Papyrus grecs de la Bibliothèque nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg : 169-900. Strasbourg, 1963-1989.

Viereck, Paul (et al.). Griechische und griechisch-demotische Ostraca der Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg. Berlin, 1923.

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