A 2,000-year-old scroll preserved by a volcano is finally readable. what does he say?
How can you read a 2,000-year-old scroll of paper that is too fragile to open, and too charred to read?
In short: How do you read the unread?
Such was the paradox of the ancient volcanically preserved library, the mystery recently solved by a team of students.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, ash and mud buried more areas than just the city of Pompeii, Italy. The volcano engulfed a nearby library containing hundreds of papyrus scrolls, carbonizing the documents and preserving their ill-fated contents. somewhat.
The Old Library was rediscovered by a farmer in 1750, and its contents became known as the Herculaneum manuscripts.
For centuries, These “unreadable” scrolls. The University of Kentucky said in a press release that experts were baffled. As technology advances, Brent Sales, a computer science professor at the university, set out to decipher this lost 2,000-year-old knowledge.
Sales, along with other technology entrepreneurs Nat Friedman And Daniel Gross Vesuvius challenge in March 2023. The goal of the competition was to use artificial intelligence, machine learning and crowdsourcing to digitally open the Herculaneum Scroll and finally reveal the mysterious contents of the text.
This was done by a team of three students – Youssef Nader from Egypt, Luke Faritor from the United States, and Julian Schleger from Switzerland. Organizers announced on Monday, February 5, that the trio won the grand prize of $700,000.
the students Dismantle 15 columns Of the text from the “end” of one scroll, Friedman, the co-organizer, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Ten months ago, we launched the Vesuvius Challenge to solve the ancient problem of the Herculaneum Papyri, a library of manuscripts that were quickly fried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Today we are happy to announce that our crazy project has succeeded. After 2000… pic.twitter.com/fihs9ADb48
– Nat Friedman (@natfriedman) February 5, 2024
Vesuvius Challenge experts provided a “preliminary” translation of the Greek text.
“As also in the case of food, we do not immediately believe that rare things are more pleasant than those that are abundant.” Old author wrote. “Such questions will be considered frequently.”
Later, the author wrote that their ideological opponents “You have nothing to say about pleasure, either in general or in particular, when it comes to definition.”
The scroll ends by saying “…because we (not) abstain from questioning some things, but from understanding/remembering others. And let it be clear to us to say honest things, as they would often appear clear!”
“We cannot escape the feeling that the first text we discovered is a 2,000-year-old blog post about how to enjoy life,” challenge organizers wrote.
Although the decoded text is short and still under study, experts have hailed it as a breakthrough development.
“This is the The beginning of a revolution In the Herculaneum papyri and in Greek philosophy in general. (Herculaneum Scroll Library) is the only library that has come down to us from ancient Roman times.
So far, only about 5% of a single scroll has been decrypted. The Vesuvius Challenge hopes to decode four more scrolls in 2024 and eventually read all 800 scrolls.
(tags for translation)Nat Friedman