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Latin Relics in a Greek Egypt

Project description

Documenting the cultural and political authority of Rome in Late Antique Egypt

The EU-funded LAREGRE project aims to study all Egyptian documentary papyri that include passages in the Latin language, dating between the 4th and 7th centuries AD. The documents to be studied include all forms of text, ranging from mere characters and words to phrases and scripts. The documents total about 400, and they will be investigated in the larger framework of Late Antique Egypt as well as the Late and the Eastern Roman Empire, hoping to answer a key question: How did the central government use the Latin language in the Egyptian provinces to enhance its power and authority? The employed methodologies will combine papyrological and palaeographical analyses on the manuscripts.


LAREGRE takes into account all documentary papyri from IV to VII AD Egypt, which contain passages in the Latin language, be they simple characters, words, phrases, or full texts (about 400 manuscripts). These documents will be investigated within the larger frame of Late Antique Egypt, the Late, and the Eastern Roman Empire. The core questions of this study are i) how the central government (first that of Rome, than that of Constantinople as the Empire fragmented) used the Latin language in the Egyptian provinces to enhance its power and authority; and ii) how people in Egypt reacted to the cultural and political decline of Rome, hitherto the centre of Roman power and the symbol of Western rule. The project addresses sets of documents so far understudied and fills a long-standing gap in scholarship; it stems from my experience as a scholar and interpreter of Latin texts on papyrus within the ERC-funded project PLATINUM (2015-2021), which has contributed to re-assess the historical importance of manuscripts, such as Latin papyri, potsherds or tablets from Egypt and the Mediterranean basin, usually overlooked or understudied. Employed methodologies will combine papyrological and palaeographical analysis on the manuscripts – which will be greatly improved at the Center for the Tebtynis Papyri in Berkeley – with historical investigation on the texts and contexts gathered from those very manuscripts, to be decidedly enhanced by the final year of the Fellowship at the DISCI in Bologna. The success of this project will improve my professional profile into a more complete scholar, and will boost my chances of getting a tenure-track position within the DISCI itself.



Net EU contribution
€ 251 002,56
40126 Bologna

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Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 251 002,56

Partners (1)