The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

Archive for the category “documentary Papyrology”

Land and power in the ancient world

The 3d meeting of the Austrian Academy of Sciences sponsored project at the University of Vienna, “Imperium et Officium” will take place in a couple of weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to be an external partner of this project and have attended the launching meeting a few years ago as well as the meeting last year on Bureaucracy and law. My Austrian colleagues are superb hosts and this promises to be an outstanding academic meeting. This year the theme is “Land and Power,” a topic close to my heart, and it gives me an opportunity to revisit an important topic and to see many old friends. It’s a great program of papers:

Programme (provisional)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

9–9.30 a.m. Welcome address by Jursa, Michael and Palme, Bernhard (Vienna)

Section 1: Elite Formation

Chair: Jursa, Michael

9.30–10 a.m. Garfinkle, Steven J. (Washington): Landownership and Office-Holding: Pathways to Privilege and Authority under the Third Dynasty of Ur

10–10.30 a.m. Kaiser, Anna (Vienna): Flavius Athanasius, dux et Augustalis Thebaidis

10.30–11 a.m. coffee break

11–11.30 a.m. Scheuble-Reiter, Sandra (Chemnitz): Military Service and the Allotment of Land in Ptolemaic Egypt

11.30–12 a.m. Paulus, Susanne (Münster): The System of Landownership in the Middle Babylonian Time (1500–1000 BC)

12 a.m.–2 p.m. lunch break

Section 2: Feudalisms

Chair: Baker, Heather

2–2.30 p.m. Sarris, Peter (Cambridge): Land and Power in Byzantium c. 700–1000

2.30–3 p.m. Moreno García, Juan Carlos (Paris): Land, Elites and Officialdom in Pharaonic Egypt: Land Tenure Strategies in Elite Building and State Reproduction

3–3.30 p.m. Mazza, Roberta (Manchester): Land and Power in Late Antiquity: The Egyptian Point of View

3.30–4 p.m. coffee break

4–4.30 p.m. Reculeau, Hervé (Paris): Patrimonial and Official Land-Tenure in 2nd Millennium Upper Mesopotamia

4.30–5 p.m. Tost, Sven (Vienna): The riparii domorum gloriosarum: Police Power and Large-Scale Landholding in Late Antique Egypt

5–5.30 p.m. Selz, Gebhard (Vienna): Land, Property and Rights of Disposal: A Glimpse at Mesopotamian Sources of the 3rd Millennium

Keynote address:

6.30–8 p.m. Morony, Michael (Los Angeles): Issues and Opportunities in the Study of Land and Power

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Section 3: Centre and Periphery I

Chair: Tost, Sven

9.30–10 a.m. Waerzeggers, Caroline (Leiden): The Persian State in Babylonia: Integration and Control of Office-Holding Élites

10–10.30 a.m. Malczycki, W. Matt (Auburn): Caliphal Policy and the Baladiyyūn of Ifriqiya 757–800 CE

10.30–11 a.m. coffee break

11–11.30 a.m. Pirngruber, Reinhard (Vienna): Land and Power in Late Achaemenid Babylonia

11.30–12 a.m. Palme, Bernhard (Vienna): From City Council to Senate: Landlords from Late Antique Egypt Becoming Imperial Aristocrats

12 a.m.–2 p.m. lunch break

Section 4: Control and Taxation of the Country and its People

Chair: Procházka, Stephan

2–2.30 p.m. Varisco, Daniel Martin (Hempstead): Why the Sultan is Rich: A Case Study of Bureaucracy in Rasulid Yemen (13th–14th centuries)

2.30–3 p.m. Kehoe, Dennis (New Orleans): Urbanization, Land, and Political Control in the Roman Empire

3–3.30 p.m. Frantz-Murphy, Gladys (Denver): Environment and History in the Early Islamic Middle East

3.30–4 p.m. coffee break

4–4.30 p.m. Manning, Joseph (New Haven): Patrimonial Power, State Power, and Land in Greco-Roman Egypt

4.30–5 p.m. Heidemann, Stefan (Hamburg): The Seljuq Form of Government in Northern Syria and Northern Mesopotamia

Friday, 22 February 2013

Section 5: Centre and Periphery II

Chair: Palme, Bernhard

9.30–10 a.m. Mathisen, Ralph (Urbana): The Settlement of Barbarians in the Late Roman World: Barbarians Who Got Something

10–10.30 a.m. Baker, Heather (Vienna): Land and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire

10.30–11 a.m. coffee break

11–11.30 a.m. Bsees, Ursula (Vienna): The Partition of Land and Power at the Periphery: Some Notes on the Agreements between St Catherine’s Monastery and Surrounding Bedouin


11.30 a.m.–13.00 p.m. Résumé by Keenan, James (Chicago) and general discussion


Egyptian papyri in Japan

I am off to Japan in a few hours to examine, along with my good colleague Richard Jasnow from Johns Hopkins, a collection of unpublished papyri, mostly Demotic, mostly of early to mid Ptolemaic in date (some earlier things though) They are primarily documents (contracts and letters). We are going to examine them,  make some conservation recommendations and, we hope, use this as a means to introduce both conservation of papyri and Papyrology to Japanese students. This could be a very exciting venture. This is the only (as far as I know at the moment) significant collection of Egyptian papyri in Asia. Full report when i am back in a week’s time.

Digitization of ancient texts

There is a nice piece in the May 8th WSJ that offers a good summary of the major digital projects in Papyrology. The story also provide some goods links to some of the major ongoing efforts. Among them is the very exciting multi-spectral imaging project taking place this summer in the papyrus collections of Michigan, Berkeley and Columbia. Spectacular results, and new texts, and new information, are sure to be announced.

Among the more important projects are those being run out of the Center for the Study of Ancient Documents (CSAD) in Oxford. They’ve recently placed on line a digital collection of Greek papyri in Cairo. Underlying the project is the pioneering photographic work of Adam Bülow-Jacobsen in Copenhagen. Superb and wonderful work!

Exciting new multi-year international project on political power and bureaucracy

Scholars in Vienna are creating a multi-year international, cooperative project on political power and ancient bureaucracy focused on Papyrology and later periods of ancient Egyptian history (i..e post-Ptolemaic). It’s called the Comparative Studies in Ancient Bureaucracy and Officialdom project and is part of the Austrian National Research Network (NRN).

Sub-projects and their directors are:

Coordination Project (M. Jursa)
01…Royal Institutional Households in 1st Millennium BC Mesopotamia (H. Baker)
02…Official Epistolography in Babylonia in the 1st Millennium BC (M. Jursa)
03…The Framework of Imperial Power in Late Antique Egypt (284-641 AD) (B. Palme)
04…Official Epistolography in Islamic Egypt (642-969 AD) (S. Proházka)
05…The Interaction of Roman Rule with Traditional Hellenistic Institutions in Asia Minor (H. Taeuber)
06…Police Authorities in Late Antique Egypt (S. Tost)

You can read more about it on their website, which is just being filled up now. Looks like  a really interesting project.  The home of the project, Vienna, is not too far from some mountains. Mmmmmm. More about the project as it develops.

A demotic marriage contract, 97 BC, (Gebelein) Upper Egypt

The following is a legal document written at the beginning of the first century BC, from a military community established in the southern Egyptian Nile valley in the Ptolemaic period. It is the kind of primary documentary material that I am looking at with some of my students this term. We are examining such material from several Mediterranean cultures formthe point of view of how such texts functioned within society as well as some of the technical points of ancient legal documents.   Notice the upper and lower margins here, to protect the preservation of the writing, the scribe would leave wide margins on all four sides typically, so when the text was rolled up and sealed, wear and tear would not effect the contents. Can you spot the beginning of the text? The text is now part of the Schoyen collection (the Adler papyri).ms161

Post Navigation