Older than the Oldest

After my post Is this the World's Oldest Bound Book? appeared, Cillian O'Hogan, who is the curator of classical and Byzantine studies at the British Library, kindly tweeted some comments making out a case that papyrus books older than the Codex Vaticanus do exist, and met the objection from Roger Pearse, who is an eminent citizen-science blogger, that only a bundle with more than one quire to it counts as a "book". He then wrote:
All those Ps refer to papyrus finds, along with numbers given to them by Christian scholars seeking the earliest texts of the New Testament. Some of these things are not online at all, but acceptable images of the 75 leaves of P66 are at EarlyBible.com. This is the one that is probably contemporary with the Codex Vaticanus.

As for the item Cillian O'Hogan dates to 200 CE, the biggest bit (P67) is in the fourth-century Barcelona Papyrus, which I discussed some years ago on my website. Sadly, that papyrus has never been viewable online. However there is an image of P4 at EarlyBible.com and P64, the three small fragments making up MS Gr. 17 at the Magdalen College Library, Oxford, are accessible online as the following tweet points out:
In addition, I pointed out myself that the 102 battered pages at the BAV in Rome of Hanna Papyrus 1, also known as P75, are supposed to date from approximately the same period. It has not been digitized yet, but there are a couple of leaves visible at VatLib. For low-res images, see P75 at CSNTM.

Finally, it was pointed out that there is a very old leaf of a secular work, Homer's Odyssey, dated to the period 200-400 CE. Click on the link below to see it:
In addition, Cillian O'Hogan pointed to a very fine Medieval Fragments blog post by Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel), a medieval book historian at Leiden University, in December 2013 with a different tack on the topic, What is the Oldest Book in the World?

So where do we stand? A case could be made that one or all of these four items are books older than the Codex Vaticanus, but would they, in their incomplete and damaged state, be accepted by the average teenager as "books" in the common garden sense of that word? They have no covers and have been torn apart.

The Codex Vaticanus may not be in its original binding, and indeed it has had leaves inserted in it to replace its lost pages, but it exists as a bound codex that people (see the first post) have continued to open and shut (and handle without using tweezers) right up to the present day. I would compare this to the difference between a shipwreck and a ship. Every wreck was a ship, but is a ship no longer, unless it can be refloated and patched up and made to sail again. No one would dream of messing with the papyrii or "repairing" the indignities done to them by illegal diggers and dealers in Egypt, so I think that we would have to consider them, for now at least, to be the remains of former books.

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