During the study, 3D X-rays were taken of two Herculaneum papyrus and three papyrus fragments. Computer scientists also created an artificial intelligence program that allowed them to recognize letters based on subtle changes in surface texture. The ink used by the Herculaneum scribes is made of charcoal and water and is barely distinguishable from the charred papyrus on which it rests.
Brent Sales, a computer scientist at the University of Kentucky, led the study, which was supported by Silicon Valley investors. “For the first time, we have succeeded in deciphering text on a charred papyrus scroll using artificial intelligence,” explains Stefan Parsons, one of the researchers. “πορφύραc” was the first Greek word to be deciphered in one of the scrolls. It means “purple”.
“Almost all previous attempts to open the scrolls had failed. It was a mess when the charred scrolls were crushed. And so they were further destroyed. Scholars have not attempted to open the scrolls since the 19th century. Mystery remains about the contents. Researchers fear that other manuscripts will not be able to be published and read on “Launching.”
Family of Julius Caesar
In the city of Herculaneum there was a library containing hundreds of papyrus manuscripts that were probably written by influential thinkers of the time. The eight hundred manuscripts, which were discovered in the 18th century in an ancient Roman villa, are believed to belong to a high-ranking Roman statesman, possibly Lucius Calpurnius Piso Cisoninus, father-in-law of Julius Caesar.
Scholars will now continue working on reading the rest of the scrolls. They hope that important works of literature can be retrieved through artificial intelligence. The city library buried by Vesuvius in 79 is the only library to have survived from classical antiquity.
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