Greek and Latin Writing in the Papyri

Guglielmo Cavallo

in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199843695
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Greek and Latin Writing in the Papyri

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Papyrology
  • Historical Archaeology


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This article briefly sets forth some methodological considerations in the history of Greek and Latin writing in the papyri. The writing exercises attested in papyri, ostraca, and tablets offer many examples of training at various levels. The distinction that emerges from them is thus not between documentary and literary hands but between cursive and semicursive writing styles, in which the greater or lesser velocity of the ductus modifies the traces and forms of the letters, and regular or rather calligraphic handwritings. Starting with the fourth century, manuscripts preserved in libraries begin to be available alongside those found in archaeological excavations. Paleographical evidence can emerge from the comparison of dated or datable documentary writing and undated literary hands.

Keywords: Greek writing; Latin writing; cursive styles; calligraphic handwritings; paleographic evidence

Article.  11622 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Papyrology ; Historical Archaeology

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