The Artemidorus Papyrus
In 1998 the influential pages of "Archiv für Papyrusforschung" brought a papyrus of obscure origin to the attention of scholars. The front of the papyrus featured eight columns of writing and a series of drawings. The back featured 42 drawings of animals with Greek captions. The experts consulted dated the find to the first century BC and identified the text as part of the lost Geography of Artemidorus of Ephesus. These pages review the results of a painstaking collective investigation which, directed by Luciano Canfora, demolishes the authenticity of the find with documentary rigour and philological finesse. What is it that we have actually recovered? A piece of a missing puzzle which, as chance would have it, recycles what little was already known? Or are we looking at the creation of an inspired and prolific modern inventor? The prime suspect is Costantino Simonidis, born in Greece and lover of painting no less than ancient geography, in addition to being one of the shadiest characters ever to have lived in nineteenth century Europe. Oh, and did we mention that he was also a celebrated forger?