Beyond the Text. New Funerary Compositions from the Graeco-Roman Period

Project Status

Ongoing

Short Description

Ancient Egyptians left us an extremely rich corpus of funerary texts, of which the Book of the Dead is perhaps the best-known example. In the Ptolemaic period (332–30 BCE), new compilations with different content and formats emerged, gradually displacing this famous compendium. The project proposes a thorough investigation of this phenomenon, offering an in-depth study and contextualized knowledge of this emerging literature as a successor to an ancient practice and part of a reformulated tradition.

 

Through the study of extant copies, the project analyses the development of emerging compilations and the transmission of these texts so that they can be understood through the notion of (re)productive tradition. The research focuses on the ideas or principles that govern the long and abridged versions of the same composition and the development of derivative or composite documents, seeking to explain the processes of de-formalization and re-formalization of textuality.

 

Although their exact origin often remains unknown, these new testimonies are said to originate from Thebes. This encouraged the project team to consider the special role of this region, exploiting its archaeological and religious peculiarities to integrate this documentation within local burial practices and take into account the influence of neighboring cults.

 

The research also focuses on the beneficiaries of these compositions as either individuals or groups to highlight the socio-cultural factors that favored the emergence and development of this literature. 

 

The project combines funerary, documentary and archaeological sources, develops tools for philological and linguistic analysis, and applies specific methods of archaeology, iconography and prosopography to contextualize this written tradition. 

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History

Literature

Egypt