By Roger S. Bagnall
Lots of the daily writing from the traditional world--that is, casual writing now not meant for a longevity or huge public distribution--has perished. Reinterpreting the silences and blanks of the historic checklist, major papyrologist Roger S. Bagnall convincingly argues that standard people--from Britain to Egypt to Afghanistan--used writing of their day-by-day lives way more widely than has been well-known. Marshalling new and little-known facts, together with striking graffiti lately stumbled on in Smyrna, Bagnall provides a desirable research of writing in numerous segments of society. His e-book bargains a brand new photo of literacy within the old international within which Aramaic competitors Greek and Latin as a very good foreign language, and during which many different neighborhood languages improve technique of written expression along those metropolitan tongues.
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Extra info for Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East
The Zenon archive contributes nothing at all to manumission, inheritance, the military, religion, or the household. Zenon contributes much less than average—less than the 67 percent that his archive provides of the overall datable documentation—to juristic matters and to construction. By contrast, Zenon provides all of the information on sitometry—the distribution of grain rations to slaves— and clothing allowances, as well as on the education of slaves; and his archive is overwhelmingly the main source of information on sales of slaves, runaway slaves, and textile production.
All through the history of papyrology, scholars have wrestled with the question of how far the discoveries that could be made from the papyri were applicable to the Greek and Roman world generally. There has been a fair amount of work in the last two decades aimed at showing that Roman Egypt, and, perhaps even more, late antique Egypt were more “normal” than was once believed, perhaps no more different from other Roman provinces than the others were diverse among themselves. 19 As a result, it has been possible for ancient historians to assume the contrary, and, starting with what I consider to be unexamined and faulty assumptions about Hellenistic Egypt, presume that the rest of the Hellenistic world was different from it or, at least, that they may be forgiven sentences beginning, “Even if the evidence from Hellenistic Egypt is left aside .
The nekrotaphoi archive from Kysis does not go beyond 314; after that date the site has yielded only ostraca. 9 If one reflects that overall we have just one slave sale for every 444 published papyri of the Roman and Byzantine periods, even a single sale is already more than we might statistically have expected Kellis to produce. We are left with five valley cities, all capitals of nomes, which are, after all, the most natural sources of slave sales. Of these, Panopolis has yielded family archives with a mix of documents very similar to that of Aurelius Isidoros, plus some public documents.
Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East by Roger S. Bagnall