Richard Janko

The Derveni Papyrus is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Richard Janko, Gerald F. Else Distinguished University Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. This wide-ranging conversation covers Prof. Janko’s research on the Derveni Papyrus, Europe’s oldest surviving manuscript from the 4th century BCE and the most important text relating to early Greek literature, science, religion and philosophy to have come to light since the Renaissance.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Discovering the Past, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. A Great Discovery – Followed by unparalleled foot-dragging
  2. Derveni Details – Setting the scene
  3. An Ancient Culture War – Societal strains in late 5th-century Athens
  4. Rose-coloured Glasses? – Democratic biases
  5. Summing Up – Mathematical philology and Herculaneum speculations



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including:





The Derveni Papyrus is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow CollectionConversations About History, Volume 2, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.

A one-hour version of our conversation with Richard Janko is now available on Vimeo On Demand, here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thedervenipapyrus.