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Thursday, January 03, 2008

REVIEW of Adam Łajtar, Deir el-Bahari in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods

Adam Łajtar, Deir el-Bahari in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods: A Study of an Egyptian Temple Based on Greek Sources. The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, Suppl. IV. Warsaw: Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw University and Fundacja im. Rafala Taubenschlaga, 2006. Pp. xviii, 462; ills. 28. ISBN 10: 83-918250-3-5. ISBN 13: 978-83-918250-3-7. $119.00.

Reviewed by Gil H. Renberg, Washington University in St. Louis (grenberg@artsci.wustl.edu)
Word count: 3485 words

Few new publications should be of as much interest to scholars of ancient religion as epigraphical corpora devoted to the finds from individual sanctuaries, especially those sites omitted from our literary sources. Among these is the Egyptian sanctuary of Amenhotep son of Hapu and Imhotep at Deir el-Bahari, where a rich collection of scratched and painted wall inscriptions composed primarily in Greek and Demotic illuminates the beliefs and practices of those visiting the site during the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Late Antique periods. It is the 323 Greek graffiti and dipinti, representing roughly 60 percent of the surviving total, that are the subject of this outstandingly interesting and useful new corpus by Adam Łajtar. Łajtar (henceforth L.) has participated in Polish and Polish-Egyptian missions at Deir el-Bahari over a period of two decades, and the great investment of time both on site and in the library shows: the publication is an exemplary work that should be emulated by others undertaking work on a corpus of artifacts linked to a particular site, whether inscribed or uninscribed.

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