The Archimedes Palimpsest

Scholarship on Other Texts

In 2004, Reviel Netz and Nigel Wilson started to pay some attention to yet another set of leaves in the palimpsest. These were particularly difficult to read, but they seemed to be philosophical in nature. Many people became more interested in this text after Nigel Wilson discovered the word "Aristotle" on one of the leaves in June 2005. During meetings held at The British Academy, one group of scholars would work on the Hyperides text, while another group would work on the philosophical text. In this fly-on-the-wall video Robert Sharples, Richard Sorabji, and Nigel Wilson tackle a very difficult problem.

Progress is being made, but this is was difficult text to read and progress was slow. A report was written by Robert Sharples in 2007 that makes clear just how challenging this task was.

This manuscript was the hardest to image and the hardest to transcribe. But by the end of 2010, Roger Easton and his students had processed the images in new ways, and scholars including Natalie Tchernetska, David Sedley, Bob Sharples, Marwan Rashed and Nigel Wilson had recovered most of the text.

Now, in 2011, we know that The Archimedes Palimpsest consists of eight manuscripts: the prayerbook and seven erased texts. The erased texts are Archimedes Treatises, Hyperides Speeches, the Commentary on Aristotles Categories, two Byzantine liturgical manuscripts, and two manuscripts that we have not yet been able to identify.