EVWRIT consists out of seven interrelated projects. These are centered around the following themes:
- Greek morpho-syntax (Klaas Bentein, PI)
- Typography of documentary texts (Yasmine Amory, Post-doc)
In the field of documentary papyrology, palaeography is mainly restricted to a secondary role. While new perspectives of research recently invited us to rethink the contribution of palaeography to documentary papyri, particularly through the notion of “paléographie signifiante” (Fournet 2007), this approach still remains mostly overlooked. This project aims to finally consider palaeography as an efficient semiotic tool, as well as to promote the importance of the visual aspect of a document along its written text.
- Greek orthography (Geert de Mol, PhD candidate)
Greek spelling was standardised in the fifth century BC, but as the language underwent drastic changes, spelling and pronunciation grew apart. The phonological changes have already been studied extensively, mainly on the basis of spelling variations, but a systematic study of the social meaning of this variation has yet to be carried out. This part of the project aims at providing such a systematic study by developing an approach to explain spelling variation in Ancient Greek papyri from a historical-sociolinguistic point of view.
- Greek lexicology (Emmanuel Roumanis, PhD candidate)
Atticism has traditionally been studied with near-exclusive reference to its literary and rhetorical roots, but rarely in a manner that engages systematically with the documentary evidence of Koine Greek. My project aims to reconcile linguistic (prescriptive) Atticism with documentary papyri by analysing and utilising the dicta of the Atticist lexicographers apropos of the EVWRIT corpus. I will analyse the data collected to determine how far Atticistic usages (pre- and proscribed forms) are instantiated in the papyri, across intersecting axes of register and contextual variation. To facilitate this, we will annotate our database, where possible, for germane social factors that can be cross-referenced with the corresponding Atticist lexicographical data.
- Multilingualism in Egypt (Antonia Apostolakou, PhD candidate)
The project “A Socio-semiotic Approach to Code-switching and Bigraphism in Late Antique Documentary Papyri” focuses on multilingualism in Late Antique Egypt, with the study of primarily two multilingual phenomena attested in documentary papyri: code-switching and bigraphism. Project sources include papyrological evidence in Greek, Latin, and Coptic, drawn from the EVWRIT database. This research will be facilitated by the creation of annotation tools (e.g. character recognition tool) specifically adjusted to the needs of studying the aforementioned multilingual phenomena, while respecting historical and papyrological characteristics and particularities of the texts. The general objective of this research is to relate these phenomena to their socio-historical environment, in order to obtain a better understanding of everyday multilingual communication and practices in Egyptian antiquity.
- Material aspects of documentary texts (Serena Causo, PhD candidate)
The goal of this project is to investigate the material and visual aspects of legal and administrative papyri (writing material, dimensions, format, orientation, layout, use of recto-verso), which means looking at them as written artefacts, objects embodied into a social narrative. The analysis will focus on the phase of design and production of the documents, in order to gain new insights into the society that produced-consumed them and to better understand its mechanisms of communication. The study aims at creating a sociology of writing and reading, taking advantage of novel perspectives offered by studies in Material Culture, Social Semiotics and Anthropology. The selected corpus for the research includes over 3.000 legal and administrative documents from Roman and Byzantine Oxyrhynchus, where a large number of legal and administrative documents were produced and converged from the whole district.
- Arabic documentary texts (Fokelien Kootstra, Post-doc)
The project “Chaos before order?” proposes to study the variation attested in the Arabic papyri from the first centuries following the Arab conquests (7th-9th cents. CE). Previous studies approached linguistic variation through the lens of a Classical Arabic standard. Since Classical Arabic was only fully canonized in the 10th century CE, using any norm related to Classical Arabic is an anachronistic approach for most of the Arabic papyri. Stepping out of this paradigm, this project will look at the distribution of variation. It will not only consider linguistic variation but also extra-linguistic features such as variation in document type, paleographic features and dating of the documents, in order to identify clusters of co-occurring features that may make up identifiable writing habits. With this approach, this project will give the first data-driven picture of how Arabic developed in the period leading up to its full standardization.