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The Lending Of Books In The Fourth Century C.E. P.Oxy. LXIII 4365—A Letter On Papyrus And The Reciprocal Lending Of Literature Having Become Apocryphal

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Chapter Summary

Although quite small in size and with little text preserved (only six lines on 11.5 × 8 cm) the private letter Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P.Oxy.) LXIII 4365 aroused considerable attention immediately after its first edition. In literary and papyrological sources there are various and varied attestations of the book trade in (late) antiquity, and especially the distribution of books apart from the official and commercial area, so that it can be reconstructed in a quite reliable way. The skills in reading and writing, the drawing up of copies, and the possession of books are interrelated with a certain social status, as for all of them sufficient financial resources are necessary as a general prerequisite. Besides, papyri are even important for knowledge about the lending of books, because they present aspects of everyday life at that time in an unadulterated way just as fingerprints do.

Keywords: books; P.Oxy; papyri



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