Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus

Overview

Lying now under the sand 300 kilometres south of the coastal metropolis of Alexandria, the town of Oxyrhynchus rose to prominence under Egypt's Hellenistic and Roman rulers. The 1895 British-led excavation revealed little in the way of buildings and other cultural artefacts, but instead yielded a huge random mass of everyday papyri, piled thirty feet deep, including private letters and shopping lists, government circulars, and copies of ancient literature.

The surviving ...

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Overview

Lying now under the sand 300 kilometres south of the coastal metropolis of Alexandria, the town of Oxyrhynchus rose to prominence under Egypt's Hellenistic and Roman rulers. The 1895 British-led excavation revealed little in the way of buildings and other cultural artefacts, but instead yielded a huge random mass of everyday papyri, piled thirty feet deep, including private letters and shopping lists, government circulars, and copies of ancient literature.

The surviving bookrolls - the papyrus rolls with literary texts - have provided a great deal of information on ancient books, ancient readers, and ancient reading. Examining only those texts that survive in full form in medieval manuscripts, William Johnson has analysed over 400 bookrolls to understand the production, use, and aesthetics of the ancient book. His close analysis of formal and conventional features of the bookrolls not only provides detailed information on the bookroll industry - manufacture, design, and format - but also, in turn, suggests some intriguing questions and provisional answers about the ways in which the use and function of the bookroll among ancient readers may differ from modern or medieval practice. Meticulously erudite, this work will be of great importance to all papyrologists, classicists, and literary scholars.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442626416
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 10/4/2013
  • Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 8.37 (w) x 10.79 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

William A. Johnson is an assistant professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
2 Scribes in Oxyrhynchus : scribal habits, paradosis, and the uniformity of the literary roll 15
3 Formal characteristics of the bookroll 85
Appendix 1 Papyri included in the sample 231
Appendix 2 Addenda and corrigenda to editions in the sample sets 251
Appendix 3 Resolution of ambiguous reconstructions 337
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