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Introduction to Papyrology: A Journey through Papyri (Intermediate-Advanced Greek Reading)

Tues., 9am (U.S. Eastern Time)

Course Description: This course is a broad introduction to Papyrology. Ancient texts on papyrus have survived in astonishing quantities, mostly from ancient Egypt. The study of papyri ranging in date from the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great (332 BC) to the Arab occupation (middle of the VII century AD) offers an extraordinary glimpse into many aspects of daily life, history and literary culture of Greco-Roman and Byzantine Egypt that are otherwise unknown. Papyrology is an essential discipline for students and scholars of the Ancient World – classicists, historians, specialists in ancient literature, linguistics, material culture etc. This course aims to introduce participants to the study of papyri, especially in Greek, documentary as well as literary. The students will acquire the main lines of the history of the discipline; they will learn how to read papyri, the methods and tools to understand their meaning, as well as the massive – but sometimes not recognized enough – contribution of papyrology to other disciplines. Through a selection of relevant exemplars, they will be provided with the skills to contextualize and analyze papyri as both texts and artifacts, and will appreciate the role of papyri as privileged sources for the history of Egypt from the age of the Ptolemies to late antiquity.


Level: This course is intended for students with intermediate to advanced knowledge of Ancient Greek, as well as for experts in Classics and related fields.

Textbook: E.G. Turner, Greek Papyri. An Introduction, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1968 (or more recent editions) and P. Parsons, The City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish. The Lives of the Greek in Roman Egypt, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007. 

Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Regular price $250.00

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Isabella Bonati

Isabella Bonati grew up and studied Classics in Italy, where she had teaching experiences in Papyrology and Classical Philology at the University of Parma and taught Latin and Italian in public schools. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the North-West University of Potchefstroom (South Africa), where she also lectured on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. She was previously a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Papyrology at the University of Parma (Italy), and holds a PhD in Papyrology from the same University, where she also completed both her BA and MA in Classics. In 2012-2013 she was Yggdrasil Guest Researcher at the University of Oslo (IFIKK – Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas) thanks to a grant awarded by the Research Council of Norway. Her research interests range widely and include papyrology, classical philology, linguistics, material culture, history of medicine and science. She has several publications on Papyrology and Classics, among which a book entitled Glosse esotiche nei frammenti di Ipponatte. Gli esotismi nella lingua del giambografo di Efeso (Voces peregrinae in the Fragments of Hipponax. Foreign Loan-words in the Language of the Iambographer of Ephesus), EAI, Saarbrücken 2015, and the monograph Il lessico dei vasi e dei contenitori greci nei papiri. Specimina per un repertorio lessicale degli angionimi greci (The Vocabulary of Greek Vases and Containers in the Papyri. Specimens for a Dictionary of Ancient Greek Vase Names) APF-B 37, De Gruyter, Berlin-Boston 2016.