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Monday, April 08, 2013

M. Vierros, Greek Papyri as a Linguistic Resource

Visiting Research Scholar Lecture

09 April 2013, 06:00 PM
Lecture Event
Marja Vierros

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1989 (1989.137). Image Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Greek became the administrative language in Egypt in the third century BCE. It was also the native language of immigrants from the Greek world, a group numerically much smaller than the native Egyptians. A great number of Greek texts written on papyrus sheets and rolls, as well as potsherds, survive from Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. What does this direct evidence tell us about the development of the Greek language and its 'common form', koine? How can we use the written corpus to decipher who spoke Greek, how it was spoken, and who was literate? Many of the administrative documents were in fact written by bilingual, native Egyptian, officials. Some other texts, like private letters, were sometimes written by scribes. How do we tell apart the language of the scribe from the language of the original author of the text? Do they differ from one another, and if so, how?
The linguistic study of Greek papyri has been experiencing a recent revival. The material can provide answers to many questions concerning the development and the use of Greek in Egypt, especially if we also develop new digital research tools. I will present one such project in its infancy.

NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time.

Reception to follow
Event is open to the public