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These Shreds, Guardians of Human Memory: Papyrus and Culture in Late Antiquity : Inaugural Lecture delivered on Thursday 7 January 2016

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ISBN: 9782722605008 Year: DOI: 10.4000/books.cdf.5807 Language: English
Publisher: Collège de France
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:24
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Abstract

Papyrology, which burgeoned in the nineteenth century after the discovery of thousands of papyri in Egypt, consists in the study of Greek and Latin texts written on a transportable medium (papyrus, clay potsherds, wooden tablets or parchment). While inscriptions and literary sources can render a normative, idealized and sometimes deformed image of individuals, papyri – no matter how fragmented they may be – take us into their daily lives, thus making possible the archaeology of cultural practices. Attempting to decipher “these shreds, guardians of the human memory” – to paraphrase Leonardo de Vinci – is the challenge of the papyrologist, who ceaselessly renews our knowledge of the past.

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