Abstract: Texts written on papyri, potsherds, and wooden tablets have been the raw materials of ancient history for more than a century, but mostly as edited, printed texts disconnected from their material supports. The past few decades have seen papyrologists turn back to looking at their texts as material objects, with both inherent characteristics and archaeological contexts. Digital images have made it far easier to look at handwriting, layout, and other visible aspects of letters and documents, while renewed study of old excavations and careful stratigraphic excavation at newer sites have both contextualized papyrus finds and enabled documents to function as archaeological objects.
Biography: Roger Bagnall is Leon Levy Director and Professor of Ancient History at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Before joining the NYU faculty in 2007, Roger Bagnall was Jay Professor of Greek and Latin and Professor of History at Columbia University, where he had taught for 33 years. Educated at Yale University and the University of Toronto, he specializes in the social and economic history of Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique Egypt. He directs NYU's excavation project at Amheida (jointly sponsored with Columbia) in the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt.
Free and open to the public.
This lecture is part of the Thursday Speaker Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.