From literary text to document: scribal practices in Greek medical texts of the Roman and Byzantine periods at Oxyrrhynchus (Egypt)

Ricciardetto Antonio


Although the bibliological and palaeographical analysis, as well as the study of the layout and context, is today the general rule in literary papyrology, this is not the case of documentary papyrology. Excepting specific studies, research on these documents have actually been carried out exclusively on their content, provenance and date. Using the research protocol applied in my doctoral dissertation on the Typology of the Greek Medical Documentary Papyri: Contracts, Petitions, Medical Reports and Letters, this is the gap we intend to fill. First of all, the data of the ca. 100 Greek medical documents on papyrus from Oxyrhynchus (Middle Egypt) dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods (1st-6th cent. AD) is collected. Then, either by autoptic inspection or photograph analysis, I study the form, layout, writing, content and context of these documents, and compare the obtained results with the significant data produced by the bibliological and palaeographical analysis of the 66 contemporary Greek literary papyri of medicine found in the same locality. Looking for their similarities and differences, I finally provide a synthesis illustrating the connections between the scribal practices of the medical documentary writings, on one hand, and the literary ones, on the other hand, produced in the same environment.

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