grk 321

documentary papyrology

syllabus s07

human: Joshua D. Sosin
coordinates: Allen 229 / Perkins 344D WF 11:40-12:55

Allen 229A / OH: M 930-11; T 14-1530;
and when I am in my office

SPIEL: This course is an introduction to the discipline of documentary papyrology. We shall all work together but each of you will take on two independent responsibilities. By the end of the semester each of you is to have accomplished two tasks
  1. Produce an edition with translation and commentary of an unedited papyrus, chosen in consultation with me. We shall work on these throughout the semester, perhaps in teams, but each of you will assume primary responsibility for your own text(s). OR Write a research paper on a papyrological subject (e.g. women and lending, violence in the countryside, some piece of legal formulary, textual puzzles, whatever).

  2. Pick a subject area that you will explore over the course of the semester. This area might be defined by (a) document genre, e.g. loans, leases, marriage contracts, private letters, petitions, vel sim., (b) content, e.g. texts mentioning slaves, some sort of agricultural reality, a type of official, cult of some sort, vel sim., or (c) any other criterion you choose, so long as it results in a group of texts that someone might want to consult as a group. Each week (for wks 3-12; 9 total) you are to translate one document (or several, if they are small) from your chosen area of focus and submit the translation(s) to me. During the course of the semester you will have the opportunity to give two presentations on special topics within your chosen field.
We shall split our time between a variety of exercises in class: translate edited papyri, read papyri from photographic reproductions without aid of accompanying edited Greek text; discuss primary and secondary (assigned) readings, present on special topics, and prepare a selection of unedited Greek papyri for publication.

On-line Greek: To configure your machine for viewing Greek texts below follow a few easy steps. I recommend the Athenian font, which Perseus gives away for free. Note Perseus' documentation on getting your browser to display Greek.7

Books: Normally, I would not urge you to buy any books. But the following--though not required--is worth owning: R. S. Bagnall and D. W. Rathbone, Egypt from Alexander to the Copts: An Archaeological and Historical Guide (2005); ISBN 0892367962; 2004 BM Press printing (ISBN: 0714119520) is fine. Lots of used copies available [ amz | abe ].


Week Wednesday Friday


01/10 - No class


01/12 - Allen 229

  • Introduction to goals, structure, content, methods of the course.

  • Tools: Checklist | DDBDP | BL (Berichtigungsliste) | BP | APIS | HGV | WL | LDAB | Mertens-Pack

  • Leiden:
    • [ ]: text missing, restored: cr[u]d
    • < >: modern addition, where app.crit. is silent; modern correction of ancient text, where app.crit. indicates original, erroneous, text: idi<o>t without app entry = scribe wrote "idit"; with app entry "idiut Pap." = idiot is correct but scribe wrote "idiut"; also common to print idiut in the text, where the Greek is pretty clear and indicate "read idiot" in the app.
    • ( ): modern expansion of abbreviation: Jum(bo) Shr(imp)
    • { }: modern deletion; ancient text but superfluous: Condolee{e}zza or Duran Duran {Duran}.
    • [[ ]]: ancient deletion: Papyrology [[totally]] rocks.
    • sublinear dot: uncertain letter

  • Look -- demotic: P.Col. III 26 | 40 | P.Tebt. III.1 773 | P.Mich. V 253; Coptic: P.Duk.inv. 1053v | 471 | 438); map of Egypt | of the Fayum (both from an exhibit at the Kelsey)

  • Here's a sort of beginner's orientation that is better than some I've seen (another structured bibliography).

  • Making papyrus sheets.

  • Translate at sight.


01/17 - Perkins 344D


01/19 - Allen 229

  • Plate read (IV/III): P.Eleph. 1 [plate] | P.Cair.Zen. II 59251 [plate | CSAD] | II 59155 [plate | CSAD] | PSI IV 367 [plate]

  • READ: P. van Minnen, 'The First Century of Papyrology," BASP 30 (1993) 5-18.

  • SEE: O. Montevecchi, La papirologia (2nd ed.; Milan 1988).
  • SEE: H.-A. Rupprecht, Kleine Einführung in die Papyruskunde (Darmstadt 1994).
  • SEE: P. W. Pestman, The New Papyrological Primer (2nd ed; Leiden 1994).

  • Pick special topic


01/24 - Perkins 344D

01/26 - Allen 229A


01/31 - Perkins 344D

02/02 - Allen 229


02/07 - Perkins 344D

02/09 - Allen 229


02/14 - Perkins 344D

02/16 - Allen 229

  • Plate read (II): P.Batav. 7B = SB I 5865 [plate] | P.Dion. 11 = P.Rein. I 18 [plate] | P.Hels. 13 [plate]

  • READ: W. Clarysse, "Ethnic Diversity and Dialect among the Greeks of Hellenistic Egypt," in Pap.Lugd.Bat. XXX 1-13.

  • READ: N. Lewis, "The Demise of the Demotic Document: When and Why," JEA 79 (1993) 276-281

  • Look: P.Tebt. I 45 | 46 | 47 | IV 1095 (=I 126) | 1096 (=127)

  • Look P.Mich. V 249 Gr-Dem bilingual [APIS | image]

  • MSI at Oxy


02/21 - Perkins 344D

02/23 - Allen 229


Week Wednesday Friday




  • Plate read (I): P.Ryl. II 183A [plate] | II 167 [plate] | II 150 [plate] | II 119 [plate]

  • READ: D. Hobson, "The Role of Women in the Economic Life of Egypt: A Case study from First Century Tebtunis," EchCl 28 (1984) 373-390, with P.Mich. II 121 | 123 | V 238




CRANK AWAY: at editing (only 7 weeks to go)




  • READ: All of Athenaeus


  • READ: All of RE


03/21 - ALLEN 229


CRANK AWAY: at editing (only 5 weeks to go)

03/23 - PERKINS 344D



  • Xlate: P.Giss. 40 | BGU V 1210 | P.Cair.Mich. (these last two will take a long time to load)

  • READ: H. C. Youtie, "Callimachus in the Tax Rolls," Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology (Toronto 1970) 545-551.

  • Written translation (no. 9) due

CRANK AWAY: at editing (only 4 weeks to go)


  • Plate read (IV/V): P.Oxy. LXI 4129 [plate] | LXVII 4628 [plate] | CPR XVIIA 17a [plate] | CPR V 23 [plate] | PSI XII 1239 [plate: whole | top]

  • READ: P. van Minnen, "House-to-House Enquiries: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Roman Karanis," ZPE 100 (1994) 227-251 [ZPE].

  • SEE: R. S. Bagnall and B. W. Frier, The Demography of Roman Egypt (Cambridge and NY 1994).



  • Xlate: P.Herm.Landl. I (this will take a long time to load)

  • READ: A. Bowman, "Landholding in the Hermopolite Nome in the Fourth Century A.D.," JRS 75 (1985) 137-163. [jstor]

  • READ: R. S. Bagnall, "Landholding in Late Roman Egypt: The Distribution of Wealth," JRS 82 (1992) 128-149, which responds to the Bowman. [jstor]

  • READ: J. Rowlandson, Landowners and Tenants in Roman Egypt: The Social Relations of Agriculture in the Oxyrhynchite Nome (Oxford 1996), ch.IV: "The Landowners and their Properties," 102-138.

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CRANK AWAY: at editing (only 2 weeks to go)


  • Plate read (VII/VIII): P.Flor. III 307 [plate] | P.Leid.Inst. 79 [plate] | P.Horak 37 [plate] | P.Bingen 147 [plate] | CPR V 25 [plate] | CPR IX 19 [plate] Perseus down; most Greek here.

  • READ: R. S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity (Princeton 1996) ch.7-8, 230-309.

  • READ: R. S. Bagnall, "Monks and Property: Rhetoric, Law, and Patronage in the Apophthegmata Patrum and the Papyri," GRBS 42 (2001) 7-24.


04/18 - LAST DAY

CRANK AWAY: at editing (only 1 week to go)





COUNT: Final grade breakdown. In-class translation: 25%; in-class plate-reading: 25%; nine weekly translated docs: 10%; brief presentation on weekly translation topic: 10%; final paper / edition: 30%.

Assessment: At the end of the semester I shall give you a brief written assessment of your performance in the class. Nothing in this document should be news to you. I ask you please--this is a requirement--to arrange to meet with me twice during the semester (once before the midpoint and once after) so that we can chat about how you are doing and how you can develop strategies for improving your skills and broadening your knowledge.