75651 - History and Culture in Papyri (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students can use papyri of Greek, Roman and Byzantine period for historical research in an accomplished and correct way. They can write an updated commentary to texts based on updated bibliography and citing parallels of the same historical value. They are familiar with the digital research on papyri and get a precise knowledge of the relations between the Egyptian evidences and the other sources of Ancient history.

Course contents

1) Introduction: general history of Greek, Roman, Byzantine Egypt. The use of Greek: literature and administration. Alexandria capital of the ancient culture and political and economical megalopolis. How papyri are conserved.

2) Critical reading of ancient papyri on the following subject: Egypt as a historical and cultural pattern of the ancient world.



Student who have never attended a course in Papyrology should read and study , as a preliminary tool in order to attend better the classes, the handbook: O. Montevecchi, La Papirologia, 2a edizione, Milano, Vita e Pensiero 1988.


Students must read one of the following volumes:

R. S. Bagnall, Papiri e storia antica, Bardi Editore, Roma 2007.

P. Parsons, La scoperta di Ossirinco. La vita quotidiana in Egitto al tempo dei Romani, Carocci editore, Firenze 2014.

All the test read and discussed during the course will be available in the web site.

Teaching methods

Students are invited to discuss and to take part in the lessons. A basic knowledge of ancient Greek is recommended, though all texts are always translated and shown in the original 

Assessment methods

The exam is oral. All students will be asked at least 3 questions: on general types of papyri, on the book chosen and on one of the texts commented at classes. The exam is passed if pupils answer correctly and in a proper way, reading, translating and commenting the texts and show knowledge the main features of the discipline. Outstanding knowledge of both the handbook and the texts is evaluated at the maximum; good knowledge and ability in the analysis of the texta, but more mnemonic can earn a good evaluation; a knowledge with some mistakes and misundertandings in the texts are sufficient to pass, serious lacunae in the knowledge of the handbook and no skills in the reading and interpretations of the texts do not allow to pass.

There are at least 7 possibilities per year to give the exam; the dates are published twice, normally in November for the first 5, and March-April for the last 2. All students must be listed on Almaesami and no students are allowed to give exams out of the public lists.

All students must be present at the call of the examination, normally at 9.30 of the examination day. No students are allowed to give exams out of the public lists.

Please check in advance if your administrative position is regular, otherwise you will not be admitted to the exam.

Teaching tools

All texts commented during the course will be available on the

AMS Campus unibo, and all texts will be shown in the critical edition and, when possible, on a digital image.

Office hours

See the website of Fabian Lothar Walter Reiter