Documentary texts are vital to our understanding of many aspects of the ancient world, such as its administration, education, and economy. The value of these texts goes even further however: being autographs, they directly testify to ancient communication practices, a field of study which so far has remained underexplored. In this volume, specialists in the field engage with a broad range of documentary sources. They discuss not only how various modes of communication, such as language, handwriting, and lay-out, are employed in specific contexts of writing, but also how these different modes are interrelated. Building on insights from contemporary social-semiotic theory, the volume makes a case for the establishment of historical social semiotics as a discipline.
Klaas Bentein, Ph.D. (2012), is associate research professor at Ghent University and PI of the ERC project EVWRIT. He has published widely in the fields of Ancient Greek linguistics and papyrology, including Verbal Periphrasis in Ancient Greek: Have- and Be- Constructions (OUP 2016).
Yasmine Amory, Ph.D. (2018), École Pratique des Hautes Études, is postdoctoral research fellow at Ghent University. She has published many articles on communication practices in Antiquity and compiles editions of unpublished papyri from different collections around the world.
Contributors are: Yasmine Amory, Klaas Bentein, Sarah Béthume, Eleonora Conti, Geert De Mol, Mark Depauw, Jean-Luc Fournet, Antonella Ghignoli, Nicola Reggiani, Marco Stroppa, Sofía Torallas Tovar, James Wolfe.
Acknowledgments Notes on Contributors Editorial Notation
Introduction: Developing a Historical Social-Semiotic Approach to Communication Practices in Antiquity Klaas Bentein and Yasmine Amory
Part 1: A Novel Approach to the Visual and Material Characteristics of Ancient Documents
1 Beyond the Text or the Contribution of “Paléographie signifiante” in Documentary Papyrology: The Example of Formats in Late Antiquity Jean-Luc Fournet
2 BIG & Small: The Size of Documents as a Semiotic Resource for Graeco-Roman Egypt Marco Stroppa
3 Notes on Ostraca and Scribal Practice Sofía Torallas Tovar
4 Visual Signs of Deference in Late Antique Greek Letters on Papyrus Yasmine Amory
5 The Spread and Persistence of Roman Features in Some Greek Papyrus Letters of the High Chancery Eleonora Angela Conti
6 Applied Category Analysis for Interpreting a List in the Late Antique Documentary Tradition: Some Preliminary Considerations Antonella Ghignoli
Part 2: A Multi-Modal Approach to Ancient Sources
7 The Textualization of Women’s Letters from Roman Egypt: Analyzing Historical Framing Practices from a Multi-Modal Point of View Klaas Bentein
8 Towards a Socio-Semiotic Analysis of Greek Medical Prescriptions on Papyrus Nicola Reggiani
9 Imagining Faith: Images, Scripts, and Texts of Early Christian Inscriptions from the Roman Near East James Wolfe
10 The “Exposed Writings”: Semiotic Contributions to the Analysis of Linguistic Variability in Archaic Greek Inscriptions Sarah Béthume
Part 3: A Quantitative Approach to Linguistic Variation in Papyri
11 Ὀκτώ or ὀκτώι: Reconsidering Orthographic Hypercorrection in Antiquity Geert De Mol
12 Word-Split Frequency in Greek Documentary Papyri (with an Appendix on Syllabification) Mark Depauw
Index of Passages Cited Index of Subjects
This volume will be of interest to classicists interested in the interdisciplinary study of ancient communication practices. It will also be of relevance to specialists of modern-day languages with an interest in historical corpora.