Lecture Series: Between Invisibility and Autonomy
When: Mon, 09.01.2023 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Where: Warburgstraße 26, 20354 Hamburg
Between Invisibility and Autonomy: Negotiating Gender Roles in Manuscript Cultures
Nuns, Domestic Virgins, and Female Devotees in Late Antique Egypt: Evidence From Greek and Coptic Graffiti, Papyri, and Other Written Artefacts
Dr Leah Mascia (Hamburg)
Epigraphic, papyrological, and other textual sources provide essential information on the role played by women in the Christian institutions of Late Antique Egypt and the numerous female devotees affiliated to this religion from the third century CE onwards. The revision of the documentation collected in past archaeological investigations and the examination of textual evidence unearthed in the course of the recent excavations carried out in several sites (i.e. Oxyrhynchus, Antinoupolis, and Western Desert Oases) offer an insight into the names, religious offices, and private and official activities performed by female members of the Christian religious communities of Egypt. Furthermore, numerous written artefacts allow us to take a glimpse into the circulation of literacy among women, their writing practices, and to reconstruct their role in the early use and diffusion of the Coptic language in daily-life activities and the performance of ritual procedures. In particular, essential data are now provided by the Greek and Coptic graffiti, funerary stelae, and other written artefacts recently discovered in the area of the basilica of St. Philoxenos at the site of Oxyrhynchus. The present contribution will examine a heterogeneous corpus of textual sources aimed at presenting an overview of the various roles played by women in the manuscript culture of Late Antique Egypt.