Gospels, Graffiti, Grocery Lists: Writing Culture and its Material Evidence in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Course Description: 

This is an introductory course to study the variety of textual evidences on papyri, parchment, wax, wood, stone, bronze etc. in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. We will look at the availability of texts, its targeted audiences, modes of transmission or survival etc. What forms existed next to each other, which developments can be detected etc.? Linguistic skills to decipher and read the various texts are not a pre-requisite but an interest in writing culture as well as material culture.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the class, students will be able:
- to trace the development of writing on different materials from antiquity to the middle ages
- to distinguish between remains of written culture and deliberately transmitted texts
- to differentiate between the various writing materials for different kind of texts
- to contextualize texts + material in their historical settings
- to understand the importance of the so-called auxiliary sciences like epigraphy, papyrology, codicology for our studies


For credit: weekly class journals 60%  – participation in discussions 40%
For Audit: attendance and participation in discussion 100%