Learning outcomes of the course unit
Aim of the course is to provide basic notions about Papyrology with reference to bibliographical tools and to methods and perspectives of study of the papyri as original artefacts and as sources for historical and literary studies. The course leads the students to material and palaeographical analysis of the written product, and to the contextualization and critical fruition of the preserved text (either document or literary text), allowing for the acquisition of competences in the comprehension and use of the historical-documentary and philological-literary sources in context.
The aim of the basic course is to learn the fundaments of Papyrology (reading papyrus texts and using the bibliographic instruments). Introduction to a proper method of reading, interpretation and study of literary and documentary texts found on papyri.
Prerequisites are competence in both basic reading skills and in a historical or cultural area such as Greek Literature, Greek History, Roman History, and Classical Archaeology, for which the sources that are to be studied may be applied
Course contents summary
Course title: Introduction to the study of the papyri between history and literature.
The course offers an introduction to writing materials in Antiquity (papyri, ostraka, tablets, parchments); to the history of findings and studies; to the historical and cultural context of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt; to the history of book products and typologies (roll and codex); to the languages and writings attested in the papyri; to the texts as historical, literary, cultural, and scientific sources; to the traditional and electronic resources for papyrological research. A selection of significant texts will be presented and commented in translation.
Introduction to the study of papyrological evidence between literature and history.
(6 CFU): The basic course will deal with the writing material recovered in Egypt (papyrus, parchment, wooden tablets and ostraca).
Culture and history of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Places and methods of recovering papyri. Different types of books and documents (roll and codex). Languages and handwritings in the papyri with examples of texts and translations. Papyrology and digital resources.
Introduction and overview: what is Papyrology; papyri as artefacts and writing supports; text and context; history of the studies. The most ancient papyri. History and culture of Ptolemaic Egypt. History and culture of Roman Egypt. Papyri outside Egypt and Latin papyri. Archives of papyri. Papyri as book products: roll and codex. Papyri as artistic-cultural products: illustrated and musicated papyri. Papyri as scientific products: the medical papyri. Papyri as literary products: papyri and ancient literature. Papyri and the multilingualism of Graeco-Roman Egypt. The papyrologist at work: the tools of the trade and the edition of texts. Digital Papyrology: methodologies, tools, and digital edition of texts.
Course contents: The Papyrologist at Work. A methodological approach. The block course will deal with the literature and documents that have been found in Egypt. Life and culture, history and administration over the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Archaeological context and the history of the excavations. Palaeographical examination, reading and interpretation of a selection of papyri together with more thorough investigation and exercise with the evidence supplied by literary and documentary texts (reading will include reproductions of the originals as well as translations).
Manual: E.G. Turner, Papiri greci, ed. by M. Manfredi, Roma: Carocci 2002.
M. Capasso, Che cos'è la papirologia?, Roma: Carocci 2009.
P. Parsons, La scoperta di Ossirinco. La vita quotidiana in Egitto al tempo dei Romani, Roma: Carocci 2014.
R.S. Bagnall, Papiri e storia antica, ed. by M. Capasso, Roma: Bardi 2007.
G. Cavallo, La scrittura greca e latina dei papiri. Una introduzione, Roma: Serra 2008.
H. Blanck, Il libro nel mondo antico, ed. by R. Otranto, Bari: Dedalo 2008.
E.G. Turner, Papiri greci, ed. italiana a c. di M. Manfredi, Roma: Carocci, 2002
G. Cavallo, La scrittura greca e latina dei papiri. Una introduzione, Roma: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2008
R.S. Bagnall, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History. London and New York: Routledge, 1995 (pagine scelte) (ora in trad. it: Papiri e Storia Antica, edizione italiana con aggiornamenti a cura di M. Capasso, Roma: Bardi Editore, 2007)
M. Capasso, Che cos'è la papirologia?, Roma: Carocci (Le Bussole.351) 2009
Frontal classes with PowerPoint slides. Study materials provided in class.
Education is imparted in a series of lessons. Ppt projections and materials prepared for each session prior to attending class.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination. It will be verified the knowledge of the main features of the texts presented and commented in class (in Italian translation), of the historical-cultural contexts discussed during the course, and of the reference manual.
The examination will comprise one question about the manual (evaluated from 1 to 10 points), one about the topics presented in the classes (from 1 to 10 points), one about a topic to be selected by the student either from the manual or from the class topics. To be evaluated are: (a) the ability to understand ad re-elaborate critically the specific issues of the discipline; (b) the ability to orient among the topics and the central themes of the discipline; (c) the ability to present and contextualize efficaciously the notions learned.
Oral examination. The exam is passed when the candidate is able to introduce the content of most of the texts which constitute part of the course. Important is also the attendance at the lessons during the semester. An important role in the examination is the ability of the candidate to sent the evidence into a chronological and archeological context.
Beside the regular classes, optional seminarial activities of trasncription and edition of unpublished Greek papyri from Tebtunis will be organized. The papyri belong to the collection of the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley.
The basic course will deal with the reading of both literary and documentary papyri in a historical or cultural area such as Greek Literature, Greek History, Roman History, and Classical Archaeology. Life and culture, history and administration over the Ptolemaic and Roman periods will be explored. Reading will include reproductions of the originals as well as translations. Students will be introduced to a proper method of interpretation of literary and documentary texts found on papyri ranging in date from the fourth century BC to the sixth century AD. A training in the use of bibliographic instruments to deepen a correct understanding of interdisciplinary aspects offered by the sources is also included.