Learning outcomes of the course unit
Purpose of the course is the introduction to a deeper knowledge of Papyrology, of its methodology of research and critical study of the papyri
as original artefacts and as sources for history and literature. A privileged focus will be the the contribution of the digital humanities to the papyrological methodology, as both support to the research and starting point towards a new approach to its object of study.
At the end of the course, the student is expected to:
(a – knowledge and understanding) know, understand, and critically evaluate the role and the contribution of the digital resources to the ancient studies;
(b – applying knowledge and understanding) apply the general notions learned to individual cases of electronic resources; be able to read and utilize the digital edition of papyrus texts and the other digital resources;
(c – making judgements) be able to utilize critically the digital resources in order to understand the documentation on papyrus as a basic source to ancient history and literature;
(d – communication skills) recognize and describe with the correct technical vocabulary the main digital resources analysed;
(e – learning skills) develop specialized methodologies, skills and sets of knowledge useful for the learning of Classics disciplines.
Course contents summary
Course title: Papyrology in the digital age: methods, tools, perspectives.
The course aims at presenting and discussing the main electronic resources for the research in papyrology, by illustrating their technical aspects, their scientific potentials, their methodological issues, from both the historical (evolution of digital papyrology from the origins to the present) and the epistemological viewpoint (theories and methods of digital papyrological research). The course will address from the papyrological standpoint some very current topics such as digital philology, the digital critical edition, the electronic encoding of ancient texts, quantitative and automatic analysis of data, linguistic annotation, image manipulation, the construction and use of electronic databases and catalogues, through theoretical discussions and practical exercises.
1. Introduction: the importance of the papyri and of their editions
2. History of Papyrology and the reasons for a Digital Papyrology
3. Bibliographies and bibliographical standards
4. Metadata and catalogues, 1: documentary papyri and thematic catalogues
5. Metadata and catalogues, 2: literary papyri, papyrological collections, virtual corpora
6. Indexes, lists, dictionaries
7. Virtual Papyrology
8. Digital Palaeography
9. Quantitative analysis of texts
10. Quantitative analysis of metadata
11. Theory and practice of digital encoding, 1: from the earliest databases to the Duke Databank
12. Theory and practice of digital encoding, 2: Papyri.info and integrated Papyrology
13. Theory and practice of digital encoding, 3: literary papyri and further textual databases
14. The ancient document as hypertext and its digital critical edition, 1
15. The ancient document as hypertext and its digital critical edition, 2
Manual: N. Reggiani, La papirologia digitale: strumenti, metodi, prospettive, Parma: Athenaeum 2019.
N. Reggiani, Papirologia: la cultura scrittoria dell’Egitto greco-romano, Parma: Athenaeum 2019.
F. Pagnotta (a cura di), L'Età di Internet. Umanità, cultura, educazione, Firenze: Le Monnier 2013.
T. Numerico - D. Fiormonte - F. Tomasi, L'umanista digitale, Bologna: Il Mulino 2010.
N. Reggiani (ed. by), Digital Papyrology II. Case studies on the digital edition of ancient Greek papyri, Berlin: De Gruyter 2018.
F. Stok, I classici dal papiro a internet, Roma: Carocci 2012.
N.B. The manual of Digital Papyrology is just a support to the topics presented in class; it is therefore required the knowledge of one reading at the student's choice among the titles indicated above. Who did not take the exam of Papyrology during the three-year degree course (BA) is required to replace the chosen reading with the manual of general Papyrology (Reggiani, Papirologia: la cultura scrittoria dell’Egitto greco-romano, cited above). Who cannot attend the classes is required to study the manual and two readings of his own choice among the indicated bibliography.
Frontal classes with PowerPoint slides. Study materials provided in class and then available on line (platform Elly and the course’s website).
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination (interrogation). It will be verified the knowledge of the main features of the digital resouces presented and commented in class, of the theoretical and practical issues discussed during the course, for which the manual of Digital Papyrology is intended to provide further support, and of one reading chosen by the student among those listed in the section Bibliography/Reference Texts. For the students who cannot attend the lessons, the examination will focus on the manual and two readings chosen as indicated above. Who did not take an exam of Papyrology previously is required to replace the chosen reading with the general manual of Papyrology as indicated in the section Bibliograph/Reference Texts.
The examination will comprise two questions about the topics presented in the classes (evaluated from 1 to 10 points each) and one about the chosen readings (from 1 to 10 points). The final result, expressed in thirtieths, is made of the sum of the three partial results.
To be evaluated are: (a) the ability to understand and 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 effectively the notions learned; (d) the correct formal exposition of the topics.
A fail is determined by the substantial lack of the abilities expressed by the evaluation indicators listed above; a pass (18-23/30) is determined by an acceptable level of the evaluation indicators listed above; middlerange scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above; higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.
Beside the regular classes, optional seminar activities of transcription 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.