The Arabic Papyrology Database allows you to search Arabic documents on papyrus, parchment and paper from the 7th up the 16th century A.D. – there are now 414 (out of ca. 2,000) at your disposal. Use this database to locate relevant historical data, investigate linguistic peculiarities, find references and more. [The APD is for] papyrologists, historians, philologists, editors, professors, students: Specialists in Arabic studies, Islamic studies, history of the Middle East upt to the 10th/16th c., Islamic law, linguisits, historians in general – just anyone dealing with Arabic documents. Try it out!

Firefox only, so far; sorry, IE users. (Via wood s lot.)


  1. Fantastic! Thanks for blogging this.

  2. Far out, this is fantastic!
    If only I was smitten by a language as rich in terms of recorded history with a vibrant and diverse speech community as Arabic rather than a language with no written history and as few as 6 remaining speakers.
    Oh well, to each their own. And besides, I love what I do!

  3. Great find! Those papyri are really hard to read – they couldn’t be bothered with dots most of the time.

  4. I second all previous comments. Thanks a lot, Steve.
    BTW, did anyone else start the online course?
    Dang it, too bad I’m not teaching anymore, it would have made a great final year course…

  5. The database has expanded quite a bit; as of 2024:

    The Arabic Papyrology Database comprises a total of 13446 documents. Through DOCUMENTS, you will be able to search all 13446 documents by their metadata as for instance their edition name, inventory number, kind, material, place and date of origin. Through TEXT, you might search the Arabic full text of 4394 documents by the spelling of words and word combinations as on the document, by their transliteration, lemma (lexicon entry), root and stem; non-standard forms have not been standardized, but will be found by their standard forms. LEXICON gives you direct access to all lemmata and roots. In TYPES, 6922 documents have been attributed to 460 formal document types and you will be able to search documents by their phrases and layout elements; we fully marked up the layout on 460 documents, and text structure on 1469 documents. PALEO is a visual tool to compare scripts while sitting in front of the originals: you might search 1002 documents by their script angles. BIBLIO gives you access to all 3326 monographs, collective volumes and papers we know about including all their reviews.

Speak Your Mind