From the third to the eighth century CE some historical phenomena can be studied in continuity. Documentary practice is certainly one of these. The basic textual frame of “Barbarian” documents is recognizable as part of a Roman “discourse.” This fact is fundamental evidence for the derivation of the early medieval documentary practice in the West from the late Roman world. At the same time, however, this fact constitutes the main obstacle to our understanding the process of derivation in all its aspects. This paper will not follow long-term developments of specific documentary typologies. Rather, it is concerned with a mode of written communication connected to a particular need that emerges as a constant in the whole documentary tradition of the period, regardless of questions concerning the longue durée: the need to represent a sequence of “things” within the written records produced for pragmatic purposes by bureaucrats, official scribes, notaries, and individuals. The paper attempts to reflect on the possibility of framing significant features in the “practice of writing a list” within the rich transmission of documentary papyri of late Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The aim is to assemble a minimal number of critical elements useful for comparative analysis of similar practices attested in the very poor transmission of documentary sources in the late Roman and post-Roman West, in order to provide a basis for the interpretation of a sixth-century Latin documentary papyrus from Italy containing a fragmentary list, which has recently discovered and will be edited and commented in a forthcoming monograph.

Applied Category Analysis for Interpreting a List in the Late Antique Documentary Tradition: Some Preliminary Considerations

Antonella Ghignoli
2022

Abstract

From the third to the eighth century CE some historical phenomena can be studied in continuity. Documentary practice is certainly one of these. The basic textual frame of “Barbarian” documents is recognizable as part of a Roman “discourse.” This fact is fundamental evidence for the derivation of the early medieval documentary practice in the West from the late Roman world. At the same time, however, this fact constitutes the main obstacle to our understanding the process of derivation in all its aspects. This paper will not follow long-term developments of specific documentary typologies. Rather, it is concerned with a mode of written communication connected to a particular need that emerges as a constant in the whole documentary tradition of the period, regardless of questions concerning the longue durée: the need to represent a sequence of “things” within the written records produced for pragmatic purposes by bureaucrats, official scribes, notaries, and individuals. The paper attempts to reflect on the possibility of framing significant features in the “practice of writing a list” within the rich transmission of documentary papyri of late Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The aim is to assemble a minimal number of critical elements useful for comparative analysis of similar practices attested in the very poor transmission of documentary sources in the late Roman and post-Roman West, in order to provide a basis for the interpretation of a sixth-century Latin documentary papyrus from Italy containing a fragmentary list, which has recently discovered and will be edited and commented in a forthcoming monograph.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1659956
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