Chicago: New Light on Life on the Southern Frontier of the Roman Empire: Ostraca of the 1st Cataract

Presented by: Professor Sofia Torallas-Tovar; Professor, Classics NELC University of Chicago

  • 5:00 PM CTChicago
  • ISAC (Breasted Hall), and Zoom1155 E 58th St, Southeast corner of 58th St and University Ave, east of the University Quadrangle, Chicago, IL 60637-1540
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Lecture Abstract

For the last ten years I have been collaborating with the Swiss Institute of Archeology in Cairo on the Greek, Latin, and Coptic ostraca as they oversee the rescue excavations at the city of Aswan, ancient Syene. They have not only reconstructed parts of the ancient city’s basic structure, but they also unearthed a large number of written documents. In this paper I will present the current state of research on the ostraca and give a few examples of how they contribute to our understanding of the interrelations of the native population and the soldiers stationed under Roman rule:  a slice of life in the southern frontier.

Speaker Bio

Sofía Torallas Tovar is Professor at the Departments of Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. She obtained her PhD in Classics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) in 1995 on the Book on Dreams by Philo of Alexandria. Her main areas of research are Papyrology, Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Egypt. Since 2002 she is the curator of the Roca-Puig papyrological collection at the Abadia de Montserrat. She is author and co-author of the four volumes of papyrus editions published since 2006. She is currently working on the edition of the roll of Athanasius’s Letter to Dracontius, probably the earliest witness of Athanasius works, and a critical edition of the Coptic versions of the Gospel of Mark in collaboration with Anne Boud’hors (CNRS, Paris). For the past eight years he has worked with Chicago Professor Christopher Faraone on the project “Transmission of Magical Knowledge,” dedicated to the reedition of the Greco-Egyptian magical papyri, for which they recently received the Goodwin Award of Merit from the Society of Classical Studies (USA). On the topic of this lecture, she collaborates with the Swiss institute of Archeology in Aswan, on the edition of the Greek and Coptic ostraca.