Appendix 1

This chamber, which is entered from the portico of the inner court or peristyle of the house of the Tragic Poet, and lies on the left of it, is nearly of the same dimensions as those opening into the atrium and the tablinum.

If books had been as numerous in the first century after Christ as they have become since the invention of printing, the supposed library of the Tragic Poet of Pompeii would have been but little calculated to contain an extensive collection, but when, from the difficulty of multiplying the copies, books were scarce and valuable, an inestimable treasure might have occupied only an inconsiderable space.

In fact, the Herculanean manuscripts were found in a suburban villa in the year 1753, in a room of very small dimensions, which, it is imagined, had once a vaulted roof, to the strength of which has been attributed the preservation of those precious papyri. Some others are said also to have been found in a corridor or portico of the same habitation, which opened into the garden, but whether this had a vaulted roof or not cannot now be known, and that circumstance, seems at least very doubtful in the instance of the library. Winckelman relates that 800 manuscripts were found, but from the statement of the accurate Canonico Iorio, who thoroughly examined the subject, and published the result in the year 1825, it appears that 1756 were rescued from the ruins, without reckoning a considerable number which were destroyed by the workmen, who imagined that the volumes were of no more value than fragments of charcoal, and actually called the place in which they were found the bottega del Carbonaro.

The papyri were found, according to Iorio, ranged in presses or shelves round the sides of the room to about the height of a man, while, in the centre of the floor, stood a species of insulated rectangular column of books fronting every way, not much unlike those which are frequently found, of a circular form, in the drawing-rooms of ladies in England.

The papyri found in the country house near Herculaneum, according to the Canonico Iorio, from whose essay the whole of this information is obtained, were found in a small chamber paved with mosaic, and had been arranged in presses round the walls, or in a pier in the centre.

The wood all crumbled when exposed to the air, and the workmen only began to suspect the papyri were not common charcoal when they observed the regularity of their disposition, and that one, which broke into two parts, had letters upon it. It must be remembered that the excavation was carried on in a deep underground passage without the advantage of daylight. It appears that some had stood in an erect, and others in a horizontal position, and they were accordingly crushed in both directions. None were found with two unibilici, and many were without any, as they are presented in several ancient paintings.

Instead of binding, a long slip of unwritten paper on the outside served to protect the book within. Many were found which were illegible from having originally been written with pale ink. Some appeared to have been below the others, and to have been formed by the humidity into a hard and almost petrified substance. These were considered as quite hopeless, having become a well united mass scarcely to be penetrated by a needle. Others had a degree of durability equal to plumbago, and might have been used as chalks. The papyri are only written on one side, except in a single instance, where the roll was not sufficiently long. Some were absolutely powder, and when the dust was blown away, the writing disappeared, so that the Canonico Iorio calls them the ghosts of papyri. It appears that the Latin MSS. are more difficult to unroll than the Greek, so that, of 2366 columns and fragments already opened, only 40 are Latin.

The length of the Greek papyri varies from eight to twelve inches. A Latin roll, besicles being much thicker, often extends to sixteen. In both languages the columns or pages of writing formed compartments placed at a right angle with the length of the roll.

The papyri of the ancients were formed by pasting a variety of shreds together at right angles to each other, so that what may be called the grain of one would be opposed in its disposition to tear longitudinally by the cross fibres of the other. It is easy to conceive that when the clamp of some centuries has thoroughly penetrated the whole mass of a volume, a fresh difficulty arises in the unrolling, as what was originally a coating, only used to add substance to the paper, may now peel off for the operator instead of the inscribed face. Sir Humphry Davy, who employed himself a short time in observing the effects of a new process for unrolling the papyri, seemed to think they were not carbonized, and that the colour and substance produced by time resulted solely from humidity. Thot gentleman did not efface the characters by his process, as has been asserted on the spot ; but, on the contrary, in the presence of the author, who was employed to copy the fragments, frequently added rnuch to the brilliancy of letters scarcely discernible.

Some of the manuscripts have been opened with so much difficulty that it was found absolutely necessary to destroy the visible column, after having most carefully copied it, in order to arrive at the next ; and the tare, the patience, and the peculiar talent necessary in the process are such, that those only who see it, and are aware of what has been done, can judge of the merit of those who are employed, and who are often accused of negligence and apathy by the passing traveller.

Of the papyri, 371 were entire ; 61 were nearly perfect ; 161 wanted about one third of each roll.

Of fragments, 1324 were found ; and, of those which had only the exterior perfect, 474 were discovered, but these had been cut half through, longitudinally, in order to discover their contents, their respective centres having been carefully preserved for a future opportunity.

Three hundred and thirty-two volumes have been already tried, and, of 542 taken from the shelves for the purpose of unrolling, 210 are well and neatly done : 127 are in a great measure finished, and 205 remain in the presses at the Museum, which are considered as hopeless. Of some MSS. the title only is as yet known, which was written in a larger character.

A person named Papira, in the year 1786, endeavoured to open three of the MSS. Sir Humphry Davy is said to have had twenty placed at his disposai. Twenty were sent to England, among which were several of those petrified and useless. Mr. Sickler destroyed some of these in the attempt to open them. Mr Hayter, who was sent by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in the year 1800 to Naples, is said to have tried 195 fragments of the papyri, and to have been five years employed in unrolling them. Whether these or any of them have appeared in the collection of Herculanean MSS. published at Oxford in the year 1824, the absence of preface to the work leaves us in igno-rance. The Treatise of Philodemus de Vitiis, one of an anonymous author De Ira, another of Philodemus de Vitiis atque Oppositis Virtutibus, and Demetrius de Poematis, are there given in lithographie fac-simile. These are all found in the Neapolitan list as if existing at present at Naples. The English work is to be continued, and the second volume has already appeared.

Seven papyri have been sent to France.

Among the works now known to exist in this singular collection are the following, both in Greek and Latin, the names of which are copied from the interesting accolant of the Canonico Iorio, the author of this work not holding himself responsible for the orthography, which seems often erroneous.

Demetrius - de geometria - de poematis.
In Polyeni difficultates.
Epicuri - de natura, lib. II. XX.
Colotis in Lysidem Platonis.
Polystrati de temerario contemptu. Now interpreting.
Philodemi - de religione - de moribus - de Epicuro - de morte, lib. IV. De vitiis, lib. I. De vitiis atque oppositis virtutibus eorumque subjectis et objectis, lib. VIII. De vitiis - de musica - de conversatione - de Omeri - de ira - de divitiis - de poematis - de eo quod agendum est - de causa atque aliis rebus tractatus memorabiles. De moribus ac vitiis, opus ex libro Zenonis contractum, seu de dicendi libertate. De poematis. De rhetorica, lib. I. De rhetorica, lib. IV. pars 1. De rhetorica, lib. IV. pars 2. De rhetorica. De rhetorica commentaria - De rhetorica - De Phoenomenis atque signis. De philosophis - De gratia.
Carnisci - amicabilia. Now interpreting.
Crisippi de providentia, lib. II. Now interpreting. Epicuri de natura. Now interpreting.
Anonymi de ira. Now interpreting.

This catalogue will suffice to give an idea of the library of the Epicurean philosopher of Herculaneum, for such he appears to have been. Among others now under examination, a papyrus on the subject of mythology calls Agamemnon a personification of Ether, Achilles of the Sun, Helen of the Barth, and Hector of Luna. The lucubrations of the author may be curious, but not such as will afford much knowledge or instruction.

It is not impossible that some of these papyri may be original works, as no two are written in precisely the same character. Certain ciphers have been observed, which may have been the marks of the amanuensis at the con-clusion of some MSS.

There is a suspicion that, in one of the papyri, have been observed not only contractions but accents ; but this, which would certainly prove a treasure to critics and philologists, is probably an imaginary discovery, and contractions seem impracticable, even in the most corrupt species of writing, with detached capitals. It must be confessed that in the cabinet, arbitrarily or fancifully called the library, at Pompeii, nothing of the kind was particularly observed at the excavation ; but, as nothing else was found, it is highly probable that every thing had been removed before the eruption, or was excavated afterwards, of which the interruption of the strata is a proof.

The ceiling of the chamber was evidently upheld by six small beams or rafters, and these supported the floor of the room above. Papyri have very frequently been found, as it is said, at Pompeii, but they either adhered strongly to the soil, of which they formed a part, or the nature of the material in which they were imbedded was such as to have totally destroyed their texture, and reduced them, like all that was formed of vegetable matter, to a substance little more tenacious than powdered charcoal. The chamber is decorated on all sides with pictures, but, as these are not of sufficient consequence to have prevented the arrangement of shelves, it might yet have been the repository of books piled in a central column ; besides which it opens to the east, according to the recommendation of Vitruvius, as libraries having another exposure were considered fiable to damp, and to the consequent ravages of moths.

The public possesses so little information on the subject of the papyri already discovered, that a short account of what bas been clone or attempted with those of Herculaneum cannot fail to be acceptable.

The chamber in question seems to derive its claim to the honours of the Bibliotheca merely front a small picture still retaining the fragment of a book or roll, on which may be distinguished two or three Greek characters. It is, however, so mutilated, that it would not atone have answered the purpose of showing even the principal forms of the ancient papyri. On this account, a selection from a variety of ancient paintings is exhibited in the vignette, where nothing of importance is omitted. It is needless to remark on the names which have been given by the Ciceroni to certain apartments at Pompeii on account of the pictures or decorations on the walls. They are often purely capricious, but they serve to distinguish them from each other.