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Colin Adams: Graffiti and literacy practices in Roman Egypt

Date: 18 May 2010 Time: 1.00 - 2.00 pm

Venue: Institute for Advanced Studies Meeting Room 1

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Greek Kings, the Ptolemies, until its annexation as a Roman province in 30 BC, from which time it remained a province until the Arab conquest in the seventh century. Greeks and Romans, resident in Egypt have left their mark, not just in monumental buildings and texts preserved on papyrus, but also engraved in stone, formally as inscriptions, and informally as graffiti. A sharp eye and close inspection reveals thousands of graffiti on buildings, temples, shrines, and even in rock walls in the inhospitable deserts. As a literary genre, they have received very little attention from scholars of the ancient world, but they reveal much of interest: nomenclature, travel patterns, cultural curiosity and an interest in tourism, patterns of faith and belief, and literacy. This paper will introduce the evidence and discuss a number of these issues, and among other things, consider patterns of literacy and intertextuality.

Colin Adams, University of Liverpool

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Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Literacies, Literacy


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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