Catalogue


Women's letters from ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800 /
Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore ; with contributions by Evie Ahtaridis.
imprint
Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan Press, c2006.
description
xii, 421 p. : facsims.
ISBN
0472115065 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780472115068 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan Press, c2006.
isbn
0472115065 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780472115068 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5927337
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 407-411) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-03-01:
This volume provides extraordinary insights into the lives of women in Greek and Roman Egypt over a period of about 1,100 years. The authors (classics and history professors, Columbia Univ.) have selected from some 300 surviving letters a range of women's written and dictated letters on papyrus and ostraka. Extensive preliminary chapters provide a solid theoretical base for using the letters and explore such issues as epistolarity and context. The letters themselves are lucidly translated and enhanced, with useful notes and commentary. Consequently, this edition will become a unique resource, especially for social historians. While users may not learn as much about these women as they can learn from the letters of women in, say, the 19th-century West, the letters in this volume still give ancient women a voice they would not otherwise have. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. J. de Luce Miami University
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2007
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Summaries
Main Description
When historians study the women of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquity, they are generally dependent on ancient literature written by men. But women themselves did write and dictate. And only in their own private letters can we discover unmediated expression of their authentic experiences. More than three hundred letters written in Greek and Egyptian by women in Egypt in the millennium from Alexander the Great to the Arab conquest survive on papyrus and pottery. These letters were written by women from various walks of life and shed light on critical social aspects of life in Egypt after the pharaohs. Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore collect the best preserved of these letters in translation and set them in their paleographic, linguistic, social, and economic contexts. As a result,Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, provides a sense that these women's habits, interests, and means of expression were a product more of their social and economic standing than of specifically gender-related concerns or behavior. Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, takes the reader through theoretical discussions about the handwriting and language of the letters, the education and culture of the writers, and the writers' everyday concerns and occupations, as well as comparing these letters to similar letters from later historical periods. For each letter, discussion focuses on handwriting, language, and content; in addition, numerous illustrations help the reader to see the variety of handwritings. Most of this material has never been available in English translation before, and the letters have never previously been considered as a single body of material. Roger S. Bagnallis Professor of Classics and History, Columbia University. Raffaella Cribioreis Associate Curator of Papyri and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Classics Department, Columbia University.
Main Description
When historians study the women of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquity, they are generally dependent on ancient literature written by men. But women themselves did write and dictate. And only in their own private letters can we discover unmediated expression of their authentic experiences. More than three hundred letters written in Greek and Egyptian by women in Egypt in the millennium from Alexander the Great to the Arab conquest survive on papyrus and pottery. These letters were written by women from various walks of life and shed light on critical social aspects of life in Egypt after the pharaohs. Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore collect the best preserved of these letters in translation and set them in their paleographic, linguistic, social, and economic contexts. As a result, Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, provides a sense that these women's habits, interests, and means of expression were a product more of their social and economic standing than of specifically gender-related concerns or behavior. Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, takes the reader through theoretical discussions about the handwriting and language of the letters, the education and culture of the writers, and the writers' everyday concerns and occupations, as well as comparing these letters to similar letters from later historical periods. For each letter, discussion focuses on handwriting, language, and content; in addition, numerous illustrations help the reader to see the variety of handwritings. Most of this material has never been available in English translation before, and the letters have never previously been considered as a single body of material. Roger S. Bagnallis Professor of Classics and History, Columbia University. Raffaella Cribioreis Associate Curator of Papyri and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Classics Department, Columbia University.
Bowker Data Service Summary
More than 300 letters written by Egyptian women between the conquest of Alexander and the early Islamic period have survived. This volume sets the best preserved ones in their paleographic, linguistic, social and economic contexts.
Long Description
When historians study the women of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquity, they are generally dependent on ancient literature written by men. But women themselves did write and dictate. And only in their own private letters can we discover unmediated expression of their authentic experiences. More than three hundred letters written in Greek and Egyptian by women in Egypt in the millennium from Alexander the Great to the Arab conquest survive on papyrus and pottery. These letters were written by women from various walks of life and shed light on critical social aspects of life in Egypt after the pharaohs. Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore collect the best preserved of these letters in translation and set them in their paleographic, linguistic, social, and economic contexts. As a result, "Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800," provides a sense that these women's habits, interests, and means of expression were a product more of their social and economic standing than of specifically gender-related concerns or behavior. "Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800," takes the reader through theoretical discussions about the handwriting and language of the letters, the education and culture of the writers, and the writers' everyday concerns and occupations, as well as comparing these letters to similar letters from later historical periods. For each letter, discussion focuses on handwriting, language, and content; in addition, numerous illustrations help the reader to see the variety of handwritings. Most of this material has never been available in English translation before, and the letters have never previously been considered as a single body of material. Roger S. Bagnall is Professor of Classics and History, Columbia University. Raffaella Cribiore is Associate Curator of Papyri and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Classics Department, Columbia University.
Table of Contents
List of Lettersp. ix
Illustrationsp. xiii
Introduction: This Book and How It Came to Be Writtenp. 1
How This Book Came to Existp. 1
The Organization of the Bookp. 3
Citations and Imagesp. 4
Why Women's Letters?p. 5
Whose Voices Are We Hearing?p. 6
Which Women?p. 8
The Distinctive Value of Lettersp. 9
Generalizations and Particularsp. 10
About the Corpus of Lettersp. 12
Changes in Letter Writing from Ptolemaic to Byzantine Timesp. 15
Women's Letters in Copticp. 18
The Chronological Distribution of the Lettersp. 19
Archives, Excavations, and Plunderingp. 22
How This Book Is Organizedp. 23
Late Medieval Letters as Comparative Evidencep. 25
Four Wealthy Familiesp. 27
Handwritingp. 28
Languagep. 31
Writing and Sending Lettersp. 33
Writing Materialsp. 33
Letter Writing: Dual Lettersp. 36
Getting Letters Deliveredp. 37
Handwritingp. 41
Typologyp. 42
Physical Appearance of a Letterp. 46
Final Greetings: Second Hand versus Second Stylep. 46
A Woman's Handp. 48
Women Write: The Archivesp. 49
Women Write: The Isolated Lettersp. 51
Coptic Lettersp. 53
Dating Handwritingp. 54
Languagep. 56
Greek and Egyptian in Literate Societyp. 57
Dictated versus Composed versus Autograph: Orality of Letter Prosep. 59
Assessing Levels of Education: The Use of Rare Wordsp. 65
Economic and Social Situationp. 68
The Ptolemaic Lettersp. 68
Roman Archivesp. 69
Propertyp. 70
Moneyp. 71
Movable Goodsp. 71
Officesp. 71
After the Fourth Centuryp. 72
Household Management and Travelp. 75
Childbirthp. 75
Rearing Childrenp. 76
Weaving and Other Textile-Related Activityp. 77
Household Managementp. 79
Public Businessp. 81
Women's Travels and Freedom of Movementp. 81
Practical Help in Reading the Lettersp. 84
Kinship Termsp. 85
Greeting Formulasp. 88
The Proskynema Formulap. 89
Moneyp. 90
Datingp. 91
Letters
Archives and Dossiersp. 97
Themes and Topicsp. 258
Bibliographyp. 407
Indexp. 413
Index of Lettersp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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