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Article

Babatha  

Kimberley Czajkowski

Babatha was a Jewish woman who lived in the province of Roman Arabia in the first half of the 2nd century ce. Her documents were found wrapped up in a leather purse in the Cave of Letters, near the Dead Sea. Babatha’s archive is multilingual and dates from before and after the annexation of the region in 106 ce. It consists of legal and administrative documents, including marriage contracts, deeds of gift, land registrations, and two cases of litigation that were aimed at the court of the Roman governor. The archive therefore sheds light on various aspects of the life of one particular Jewish family in this era, particularly on everyday legal transactions in the newly annexed province and “on the ground” reactions of imperial inhabitants to the new ruling power.Babatha was a Jewish woman who lived in the province of Roman Arabia in the first half of the .

Article

Courtney Ann Roby

Illustrations were extremely rare in ancient literary texts. They were only occasionally used in medical texts, principally Apollonius of Citium, Dioscorides, and perhaps Soranus; references survive to illustrations in lost works on biology by Aristotle.1 Illustrations, or diagrams, were mandatory in the exact sciences—the unique genre of illustrated text in antiquity. Such diagrams were formed by a network of straight and curved lines (certainly drawn with ruler and perhaps by compass as well; the few extant arcs on papyri are drawn freehand). In the extant literature, diagrams are always labelled by letters of the alphabet, standing typically at the intersection points of the lines. The diagrams are crucial to the logical development of the text and encode some of the information the text takes for granted, in a nonverbal way. At the same time, diagrams are drawn schematically so that the apparent metrical relations of the diagram are not meant to represent the metrical relations of the object studied. Thus, diagrams encode topological rather than metrical properties. The foundational study of these attributes of diagrams is Reviel Netz’s study of 1999.

Article

Blossom Stefaniw

Didymus the Blind (c. 313—c. 398) was a textual scholar and ascetic practitioner. He is not associated with any of the major ascetic settlements around Alexandria and appears to have spent his entire life in or near the city. He is most known for his treatises On the Holy Spirit and On the Trinity (although the authorship of the latter is disputed) and for his biblical commentaries.Although the Council of Nicaea in 325 took place when Didymus was still a schoolboy, controversy and competition by the parties involved continued through Didymus’ lifetime. Didymus himself supported the decision of the Council, which the Alexandrian bishop, Athanasius, had promoted. After Didymus’ death, however, he was no longer associated with the orthodoxy of the day and, because of his reception of Origen of Alexandria, was condemned, along with Origen and Evagrius Ponticus, in connection with the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553.

Article

Revision happens when a text is changed. Its most common name in Greek was διόρθωσις; in Latin, emendatio. It was practised by writers of all styles and levels of ability, working alone and in consultation with others, and in many different genres. Evidence for revision comes from papyri and from descriptions in ancient literature. It occurred on papyri, in wax tablets, and in authors’ minds as they prepared a text, and it was understood by ancient writers as either the inevitable consequence of error or as a valuable exercise leading to greater cognitive and political skill. In addition to reminding us of the fluidity of textuality and the always contingent nature of every literary formation, the study of revision provokes reflection on the relationship between literature and natural language, and on writing’s place in social exchange.

Article

Richard J. A. Talbert

Theophanes, an early 4th centuryce lawyer (scholasticus) at Hermopolis Magna in Egypt, is known to us from an “archive” of Greek papyri (Fig. 1). It was unearthed at an unknown location, purchased around 1896, and has been housed in the Rylands Library, Manchester, UK, since 1901. Along with letters and other documents, this “archive” preserves accounts (about 1,500 lines in all) compiled in the early 320s during a return journey that Theophanes made with an entourage from Hermopolis to Syrian Antioch; he stayed there for two and a half months, and was away for five months in all. Publication of these accounts was delayed until 1952, when they were presented by Colin Roberts with minimal commentary and no translation (PRyl. 616–651).1. Thereafter they attracted little attention until 2006,2. when John Matthews realized their remarkable potential. His English translation and analysis demonstrate the scope for reconstructing Theophanes’s progress by riverboat and highway in remarkable detail, including the meals consumed by him and his social peers on the one hand, and their servants on the other. The daily log of purchases offers insight not only into diet (typically “Mediterranean” in character) and drinkinghabits, but also into the identification of vegetables, fruits, and many other items, their availability in markets, and the prices charged there. From this data an attempt can be made to calculate the total daily caloric value of the food purchases. The prices in turn invite efforts to estimate the level of inflation since the promulgation of Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices twenty years earlier.

Article

J. David Thomas

In comparison with Greek papyri, Latin papyri are uncommon, even when “papyri” is understood in a wide sense so as to include *ostraca and parchment scraps. This is so because the vast majority of papyri come from the eastern Mediterranean, where the language of administration was Greek even under the Roman empire. Latin was in regular use in this area until c. 300ce only in the military sphere; and although *Diocletian made an effort to encourage the use of Latin in the eastern provinces, this did not have any great effect.Since the turn of the 20th century, some 600 Latin papyri have been published, less than a quarter of which are literary. Most come from Egypt, but finds have also been made at Dura-*Europus, Nessana, and *Masada, as well as in the west. Two literary papyri dating from the reign of *Augustus are known: the much discussed elegiac verses from Qasr Ibrim attributed to *Cornelius Gallus1 and a fragment of *Cicero, In Verrem (CPL 20).