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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

REVIEW: Johannes Kramer, Vulgärlateinische Alltagsdokumente auf Papyri, Ostraka, Täfelchen und Inschriften

Johannes Kramer, Vulgärlateinische Alltagsdokumente auf Papyri, Ostraka, Täfelchen und Inschriften. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete. Beiheft; 23. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2007. Pp. 182. ISBN 9783110202243. $109.00.

Reviewed by Kalle Korhonen, University of Helsinki (kalle.korhonen@helsinki.fi)
Word count: 1333 words

Johannes Kramer's (= K.) work is a new edition of 12 ancient documents in Latin, with Greek elements in a few of them. The documents have been chosen because they all illustrate, on the one hand, everyday life in antiquity, and on the other, Vulgar Latin. They include letters, a list of soldiers, funerary inscriptions and graffiti, the purchase document of a slave, the translation of a Greek fable, and two glossaries. The collection is mainly intended for the purposes of instruction, because, as Kramer puts it, "die meisten Studierenden des Lateinischen oder der Romanistik erfahren am Anfang des 21. Jahrhunderts weit weniger über das Vulgärlateinische, als Romanisten oder Latinisten zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts vermittelt wurde" (p. 14). This is not necessarily an exaggeration. As a collection of teaching materials, the work is useful, and it will most likely be used in courses which cover the history of Latin, Vulgar Latin, or variation and change in Latin, although the relatively high price may prevent students from acquiring it.
Etc. at BMCR

Publisher's Blurb:
About this Title
Only a small proportion of the few written ancient vulgar Latin texts are to be found on their original medium. A number of these are presented in this volume, each of them with a bibliography, text, translation, drawing of the original written document and a detailed linguistic commentary. The collection includes four numbers with letters (ChLA 43, 1241c; Tab. Vindol. 2, 310; P. Mich. 8, 471; O. Bu Njem 76-79), a list of soldiers (SB 22, 15638), five graffiti from Pompeii, two inscriptions from the Rhineland (CIL 13, 7645; Gauthier Nr. 45), three bilingual documents (SB 3, 6304; P. Amh. 2, 26; Folium Parisinum) and the annexe to the Appendix Probi.