Greek and Coptic in Late Antique Egypt

Roger S. Bagnall

in Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267022
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948525 | DOI:
Greek and Coptic in Late Antique Egypt

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This chapter concentrates on Coptic as a documentary language, arguing that the comparisons among Syriac, Bactrian, and Coptic uncover more differences than similarities, and that these differences are, unsurprisingly, revealing of the distinctive situations in the individual societies. It begins by looking at the case of Coptic because, despite recent discoveries in both Syriac and Bactrian, the Egyptian papyri provided for Coptic a depth of documentation unavailable elsewhere. The chapter notes that the quantity of documentary Coptic published so far, measured in raw numbers of texts, is a fraction—about and eighth—of that of Greek.

Keywords: Coptic; documentary language; Syriac; Bactrian; Egyptian papyri; Greek

Chapter.  6980 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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