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The Greek subliterary texts and the Demotic literature

Adrienn Almsy
Abstract
The Demotic literature is regarded by some Egyptologists as isolated from the foreign impacts whereas according to a hypothesis,
the contact with the Iliad has left its marks on the text of Petubastis-cycle. In this paper I intend to raise the possibility that the Greek
subliterary texts (extracts, hypotheses, lists etc.) used at school and in everyday life influenced the development of the Demotic epic
literature by the fact that they served as a means of the distribution of Greek literature in more digestible form than the literary works
themselves. The Egyptian writer/s, who was in a social and cultural situation to be able to create the Demotic narratives, evidently knew
the Greek, the language of administration which was learned even by the well-educated Egyptians. The only method for Greek teaching
in the Mediterranean world during the Hellenistic period was based on passages and other subliterary texts of the most popular episodes
of Classics, which seemed to be fixed till the Roman times. The patterns of these episodes can be recognized in the Demotic epics.
Keywords
Greco-Roman Egypt, Demotic narrative, education, Greek influence, Petubastis-cycle, Greek subliterary texts

Professor Ulrich Luft, the versatile researcher of the


Egyptology, was not only one of my valued teachers at the
University of Budapest, but he was the one who introduced
me to the Demotic studies. Encouraged by him I chose the
Demotic literature as the subject of my researches and
he is always ready to provide me with precious advice in
my work. I would like to thank him with this paper for
all inspiration and help and hereby to wish him happy
birthday.

already mentioned that the text might have contained


elements inspired by Homeric works, and later on Volten
(Volten 1956) developed this hypothesis in analysing the
Demotic texts. In the latest publication of The Contest for
the Breastplate of Inaros, Hoffmann (Hoffmann 1996)
comparing thoroughly the Demotic text to the Iliad has
drawn the conclusion that the Greek epic did not influence
this piece of the Demotic literature whereas the contrary
viewpoint was expressed later by Thissen (Thissen 1999,
369-87) who stressed the importance of the international
context in the writing of the Demotic text. Although the
examination of arguments concerning the elements,
motives inspired by Greek epics is not the objective of
this inquiry, for the further investigation we have to form
a view on the question. Sharing the opinion of Thissen,
the present article is based on the assumption that Greek
literature had a certain contact with the Demotic literature,
and even if there is no direct influence they were written
with an awareness of the Homeric poems, as Tait put it
(Tait 1992, 310; On the different views cf; Thissen 1999,
376-378. Main publications on the subject: Hoffmann
1996; Roeder 1927, 182-237; Stricker 1954, 47-64.; Volten
1956, 147-152). This time, not the Demotic texts but the
socio-cultural surroundings form the basis of examination,
that is to say I am looking for the answer concerning the
question how the literary contact between the two cultures
could evolve.

The long-standing question if in the multi-cultured milieu


of the Greco-Roman Egypt the Egyptian and the Greek
literature could flourish side by side without contact
demands complex inquiry from several aspects. The
presence of Greek literature in Egypt, which is justified
by the enormous amount of Greek literary papyri found
in the sands of Egypt, and the fact that the Greek was the
official language of administration learned by all literate
Egyptians, raises the question of how much the Greek
literature was known among the Egyptians. Although
we know that the educated Egyptian spoke and wrote
letters/documents in Greek, the sources do not reveal the
profound acquaintance with literature in the Egyptian elite
or middle-classes. Nevertheless, if they learned the Greek
supposedly by means of literary texts applied universally
in Greek educational system, the Greek literature at least
the Classics must have been partly present in their lives.
In this paper I wish to examine the possibility that the
Demotic narrative literature might have been influenced
not by the Greek literary but the subliterary-texts on
Homeric epics used mostly in Greek education in GrecoRoman Egypt.

Raising the question whether the Greek literature


effectively influenced the Demotic literature, or if it was at
all in a position to exercise an influence on it, two questions
should be first clarified; 1. How familiar the educated
Egyptians were with the Greek language 2. Which social
class had the opportunity to read the Greek literature?

The influence of the Homeric epics on the Demotic


literature is a well-known topic of the Demotic Studies as
early as the first publications of the so called Petubastiscycle. Spiegelberg - in the publication of The Contest
for the Benefice of Amun (Spiegelberg 1910, 10) has

For the examination of the status of Greek held in the


culture of the bookish Egyptians we ought to proceed from
the education. The materials used at school could reveal
how the Greeks first met the Greek literature, what they

From Illahun to Djeme. Papers Presented in Honour of Ulrich Luft


read, which vocabulary they acquired. Although we have
almost a complete image about the Greek curriculum,
the Greek teaching method worked up for Egyptians are
less known. Large quantity of Greek documents indicates
that writing and reading in Greek could be the first step
for career of higher administration in the Greco-Roman
Egypt, however, the sources have not shown the precise
process of teaching the official Greek for Egyptians. The
only sources containing Greek exercises written evidently
by Egyptian children are the bilingual Narmuthis-ostraca
(Medinet-Madi). Nevertheless, the well-known case of an
Egyptian official, who could write only his name in Greek,
is remarkable. Petaus lived in the Fayoum of 2nd century
AD and was holding the position of comogrammateus,
the scribe of village. From the documents signed by
him Youtie drew a conclusion that he was illiterate and
as chief scribe he needed the help of one of his educated
friends or relatives for his work (Youtie 1966, 127-143).
Notwithstanding, his carrier can not be regarded as
common use in the Greek-based administration.

could not be part of the teaching material (Tassier 1992,


315).
On the other hand, the Greek exercises elaborated
originally for Greeks rested on texts of literary contents
from the classical period on. The Greek literature formed
part of the curriculum of the lettered Greek/Hellenized
native everywhere in the Mediterranean world, and the
well-established educational system of the Greek writing
and culture was also adopted in the Ptolemaic Egypt. This
well-structured Greek formation resisted the native effects
and did not adapt the local methods or themes. Only
few god-names and a fable showing Egyptian thematic
influence indicate the Egyptian milieu where they were
written (Cribiore 2001, 180). According to this, the
pupil gets through several levels to obtain the literate
attribute (Cribiore 1996 and 2001) and the Homeric texts
had formed most important part of the education from
the first step on and appeared among the school-texts on
every level. The use of some literary works in education
could be explained by two coherent facts; these works
were considered as classics and their role in formation
overreached the simple teaching of writing-reading.
For Greeks of classical period in fact, the fundamental
historical work was the Iliad, the collection of heroic
exploits as moral models to follow. It was the keystone
of the ethical formation in initiating the pupils into the
society of polis. In the Hellenistic period on the other
hand the role of the Homeric texts changed and the moral
importance was faded by a new function in preserving
the Greek Panhellenic identity beyond the borders of
the Greek motherland. To know the Greek pantheon, the
famous protagonists of the mythological-historical stories,
was essential for the acquirement of the Hellenic culture
(Morgan 1997, 742). Accordingly, the aim of the paidea,
the overall Greek education prevailed in the Hellenistic
Mediterranean in order to train the Greek children as to
become Greeks, differentiated from Barbarians (Debut
1987, 7). This was in fact the major difference between the
Greek and the Demotic education: the Demotic education
was scribal training, preparatory for the official career,
which is confirmed by the nature of the school texts (writing
training, calculations, official formulas etc.), whereas the
Greek teaching was devoted to enable the Greek children
to enter the educated society. The Greek teaching for lower
Egyptian classes minor officials having the necessary
knowledge of Greek for writing documents - may not have
been different from this conception. It is not probable that
another educational system was elaborated for the nonnative speaking Egyptians than the well-known Greek
formation prevailing everywhere in the Mediterranean
world which is also suggested by the Greek exercises of
Narmuthis. It thus seems reasonable that the Egyptian
scribes and officials learned the Greek by means of the
same writing exercises as the Greek students did but on
lower level. Although the clerks of low and middle rank
did not reach the level of reading the complete literary texts
but they had yet knowledge by Greek exercises on Greek
literature. The importance of the Greek in administration

Concerning the educational systems of Greco-Roman


period three sorts of sources are known: 1. Few Demotic
texts show features indicating their provenience from
the school-milieu (the content, the hand of the texts, the
material suggest that they have been applied in school
exercises). It is useless to stress how problematic and
dubious is to determine the school-texts which makes the
research difficult on mechanism of the school (On the
Demotic education: Kaplony-Heckel 1974; Devauchelle
1984; 2002; Tassier 1992; Tait 1997). 2. Many purely
Greek school-texts, exercises were preserved, which were
supposedly made for Greek students. 3. The bilingual
ostraca of Narmuthis provide us with Demotic-Greek
school exercises implying the simultaneous teaching
of the Greek and the Demotic writing (The publishing
of the Narmuthis ostraca is currently in progress. E.g.:
Menchetti 2005; Menchetti and Pintaudi 2009, 201-238;
Messeri Savorelli and Pintaudi 2002, 209-237). Although
this latter group of sources could help us to understand
the admittedly double-education of the Egyptian scribe
apprentices, the bilingual texts of this collection are
confined to the exercises of elementary level: containing
Demotic writing exercises of numbers, and of words,
maxims, and some rules concerning religious services,
and other practical advices (Menchetti 1999-2000, 137150; Pintaudi and Sijpesteijn 1989, 85-92). In contrast
the Greek ones consisted in writing exercises of alphabet,
numbers, lists of gods, and short maxims, which do not
correspond thematically to the level of education of the
Demotic texts. The Demotic education was effective and
practical. It was developed with the intention of enduing
the scribal apprentices with practical knowledge as to
prepare them to the office tasks (Devauchelle 1984; 2002;
Tassier 1992). Thus the Demotic exercises consisted in
practising the documentary and sacerdotal language,
formulas. Besides, by the time of the invention of the
Demotic script, when the Demotic educational system was
elaborated, the Demotic literature did not exist thereby it

Adrienn Almsy: The Greek subliterary texts and the Demotic literature
and cultural life affected during the first Ptolemies only
the Greek immigrated population, but in the 2nd century the
Egyptian names already appeared in top functions (Lada
2003, 167) which shows the increasing importance of the
Greek among Egyptian elite. Later on, the spoken Greek
must have been widely used as the language of everyday
communication among the Greek and the Egyptian
(Maehler 1983, 203) and perhaps among the native elite.
To speak Greek and to be familiar with the basic elements
of the classical and contemporary Greek culture was
doubtlessly appreciated even in the Egyptian high classes.

time - the Book VI. for example was more famous in the
Ptolemaic Period Book VI than in the Roman one and by
level of education, but the above-mentioned proportions
did not significantly change. The investigation of Morgan
indicates the beginning of the epic was more popular in
school than the other parts, and interestingly not only the
famous scenes, which determined the main plot, but the
following passages appeared frequently among the school
texts: beginnings of Books, lists, similes, portents and
invocations, battle scenes (Morgan 1997, 740-741). 1.
The beginning of the Book generally contains references
to the story of the Book in question, or a significant
scene to the plot. As the beginning of a new chapter, the
content was more easily understandable, and was in fact
more important than the rest. 2. The lists focused on the
characters names - the Greek gods, the mythological
figures, the heroes and the places whose knowledge
formed part of the Greek historical, geographical and
literary cultivation. The descriptions of battle scenes had
the same function; to initiate the pupils into the word of
heroic ancestors by memorizing their names and origins.
3. The similes, the portents and the invocations for gods
were first of all poetic devices often used by Homer, they
were furthermore interesting for learning pupils, and gave
practical knowledge for citation in letters or conversations
during banquets, in other word the possibility to acquire
cultivated manners. Beside the quotations and the Scholia
Minora copied at schools, other subliterary texts on Iliad
helped the students to become familiar with the Greek
mythological history. Therefore speaking about Homeric
school text we should not think of the whole epics,
because they were often written in abridged and simplified
form excerpted from one or more Books and lines. This
kind of excerpts were popular from lists (mostly from the
Shipcatalogue) and from battle scenes simplified to the
names of adversaries connecting without or with the same
verb, often in the order of their occurrence in the Iliad.
The memorizing tasks in form of catechism (question and
answer) were common among the school exercises. E.g. P.
Oxy. 65 4460, LDAB 5416, CPP 68. The exercises, e.g. P.
Oxy. 3829 (2nd century AD, LDAB 1676, CPP 43) contains
a list of characters of Iliad enumerated in catechism which
is followed by a narrative of antehomerica and a hypothesis
for the Book I. The first section (lines 1-7) enumerates
the figures of Iliad with their roles in the story, in form of
question-answer:

As we have seen, the general aim of the Greek teaching


method was not only to teach the writing and the literary
Greek language but to initiate the students to the Greek
culture. This fact is confirmed by the school-works: the
passages used in teaching, and the extracts, word-lists
which were copied by students and were served as help
for memorizing the famous personages, places and events
of the basic Greek literature. These texts show that only
certain parts of the Greek literary texts were employed
in elementary school, and were possibly known by the
literati who received a basic education and accordingly
could read and write any practical texts such as contracts,
documents and letters (Morgan 1997, 738-743). This
means that a Greek or a Hellenized Egyptian of low but
still literate class learned also the Greek literature to
the certain extent which did not require text-analysis or
reading long passages. There were obviously several
schools and the opportunities of pupils depended upon
social and financial backgrounds. The Greek and the
Hellenized Egyptian elite, who received higher formation,
was apparently more familiar with the Greek literature,
which is attested by the quotations of classical authors in
private letters, but regarding regular perusal of entire books
we have no information. The private Greek or bilingual
archives, which could answer the question, contain only
occasionally literary texts that can be explained by the fact
that those were mainly the collections of private papers not
books for entertainment (Clarysse 1983, 61). The Greek
literary texts on the other hand came out from cartonages
or pits of discarded papyri and what could be expected for
our investigation, the library of a well-to-do Hellenized
Egyptian, is not preserved. Lacking relevant data, we are
forced to confine ourselves to the thematic study of the
found Greek literary texts.
Returning to the use of the Iliad in school, it seems that
the epic did not generally circulate in entire form, but in
passages. Since the Homeric epics were read at every level
of education, many of them are preserved as compared
to other literary works. 97 fragments of the Homeric
passages found in Egypt are regarded as school texts, 86
from the Iliad and 11 from the Odyssey. The distribution
of the fragments of Iliad: Book I 28; Book II 22; Book
III 5; Books V- 6; Book VI 6; Books VII 1; Book
IX 2; Book X 1; Book XI 7; Book XIII 1; Book
XIV 1; Book XV 1; Book XVIII 1; Book XIX 2;
Books XX 1; Book XXI 1. (Morgan 1997, 739). The
popularity of the parts and Books of Iliad changed with

1. ...t[m]e[r s]lboukoi;
Poukud[l]ar ja [A]mtmyq.
tmer jqujer; E[d]aor ja[]
Eldgr Dk[ymor] pat[q,
5. syr [d] ja D[ky]m. tmer
lmter; Ek[emor] ja Jassmdqa Pqilou pader. (Kppel 1989, 33)
The prose summaries and paraphrases to certain Books or
scenes were often preserved with other Homeric practices
showing that they were also current in school-milieu
(E.g. Wooden Tablet, Oxford Bodleian Library Gr. Inscr.
3017, Cribiore 1966, no. 333, LDAB 1844, CPP 382; P.
3

From Illahun to Djeme. Papers Presented in Honour of Ulrich Luft


Michigan Inv. 4832: Cribiore 1996 no. 345; LDAB 2359,
CPP 133). Thus the Homeric texts exposed to students for
copying and memorizing were only passages of some lines,
not whole Books and along with other subliterary school
materials like the excerpts, paraphrases, lists etc. - all
served to teach a., the characters of the story (heroes, gods,
places) b., the Homeric vocabulary c., to familiarize the
students with the epic devices (similes, invocations) and
scenes which are general in the Homeric epics (dialogue,
duel). Although in higher education in rhetorical and
grammatical school the profound knowledge of Classics
was required, at elementary level, the pupils learned only
the most essential scenes of the epics and the history of
the whole Trojan War by passages and subliterary texts.
The circulation of these texts, however, was probably
not confined to the school area. The subliterary sources
found beyond school raise the opportunity of their use in
everyday social life of intellectuals.

the basic skills did not demand reading of entire works.


Excerpts, lists made from the literary works helped them
to memorize the famous episodes and characters and
beside the written materials, representations might have
also helped their training, inasmuch as the representations
of main scenes of the Trojan War were widespread in the
whole Mediterranean World. The scenes of the Trojan
Cycle among other mythological scenes - were frequently
depicted on vases, mosaics, sarcophagi, lamps etc. (Brown
1957, 55, no. 37, tabl. 30-31. and 54, no. 35, tabl. 25-26;
Daszewski 1985, 69 and 174-176. no. 50, tabl. 40B, 41;
Woodford 1993). The painted Attic black figured vases
had been imported to Egypt as early as the 7th century
BC - according to the finds of Naucratis (Venit 1988 67)
- and the mythological scenes had been more frequently
used as decorating motives in the Greco-Roman period
as well. As for the current representations of Iliad in the
arts, essential scenes of the plot (such as the duel between
Achilles and Hector, the ransom of the body of Hector
by Priam) and general scenes of model (preparation of a
hero for fight, dialogue between a hero and his beloved,
duels) were depicted. The function of the mythological
decoration in the private houses of late Antiquity also
reflects the already well fixed episodes and scenes of the
literary works of Classics. Through the knowledge of the
basic mythological stories and characters the elite showed
off its social status whose the most essential basic parts
and means of expression were by the 4th century AD the
classical literature (Uytterhoeven 2009, 321-342).

The hypotheses, for example, which are the prosaic


descriptions of poetical and prosaic works, outline chapter
by chapter (Book by Book) the plot of the text, narrating
in few lines the principal events with the representation
of the principal characters. The general composition
of the hypothesis is simple and basically identical: the
introductive line is a citation of the chapter in question,
which is followed by the summary (Rossum-Steebeek
1998, 54). This kind of texts were written for the plays
of Euripides, the epics of Homer and a few prosaic
works, and were circulated probably not independently,
but collected into anthologies, collections, thus books of
excerpted works of the most famous authors were in use
at school and also in everyday life in the bookish GreekRoman elite. The large quantity of Greek subliterary texts
hints at their circulation beyond school and scholar use,
and despite the lack of information on the circumstances
of use i.e. the contents of libraries it is probable that the
common literate kept it and read it at home.

Seen in this light, the main mythological stories of the


heroic age were by the late Ptolemaic period very popular
with everyone who learned Greek, or I dare say who
was educated in Egypt and a certain episode-fixation and
canonization showed growing tendency.
According to the above-mentioned, if we suppose that
the Greek epic literature influenced Demotic literature,
certain patterns of this impact must be recognizable in the
Demotic texts, but only in episodic subjects. Considering
that the Greek texts were not read but in parts even among
the Greek speaking literati, structural analogies between
the Greek and the Demotic works could not be expected.
In consequence, we must leave the structural analogies of
the real Homeric texts out of considerations and we have to
confine our investigation to the effects of episodic themes
and of the structure of the excerpted lists of Iliad.

As to the Egyptian elite, the conversance of Greek culture


encoded in literature and arts was beyond any doubt a
prerequisite for entering the Greek speaking high society.
Some of those certainly read a few Books or the whole
epics, but considering that the Homeric language was
archaic in that time, and although the children learned
it at school, only few people reached such a level as to
be able to read the whole Iliad. In addition, to own the
Homeric epics on the shelves could not be so common as
one expected on account of the price and the dimension of
the texts themselves: the whole Iliad and Odyssey written
on a coherent papyrus could be 90 meter long (Groningen
1963, 15 et n. 3). The knowledge of the Greek literature
was essential to understand theater, poetry, arts, and to
participate in the lettered communication. In consequence,
the Egyptian high society obviously needed to have
this knowledge so as to be able to enter the ruling class,
however, reaching the high level of literary education was
not necessary for conversation among literati. Although
the knowledge of the mythological-literary figures, events,
places was required of the elite class, the acquisition of

Since a thematic analysis of all Demotic epics could take


volumes, therefore I cast light only on a few items of The
Contest for the Breastplate of Inaros (hereinafter Contest)
relating to the subject. In my opinion, the Homeric
influence can be detected in three essential cases in the
Contest, which reflect the popular or stereotyped scenes.
In this respect I would like to look over the following
elements of the Demotic text: As evidence of structural
impact; 1. the catalogue of heroes. And from the thematic
side; 2. the scene of Tainefer and Pami 3. the role of
Montbaal.

Adrienn Almsy: The Greek subliterary texts and the Demotic literature
Several catalogs of heroes enumerating the main
characters are inserted in the Contest, but one of them is
worth mentioning here. The passage from 17.24 to 18.3
contains a list of the allied forces arriving by ships at the
Lake Gazelle near to the battlefield for fight. The catalogue
forms a structural unit loosely connected with the text,
and the ten arriving troops with their heroic leaders were
identified in the following system: a. introduction b. name
of the hero c. filiation d. denomination of the town ruled
by the hero.

that Greek-type heroes emerged in the Egyptian literature


only after the Conquest of Alexander the Great, but the
topic would call for a comprehensive inquiry on the social,
cultural and historical circumstances which result the
birth of national heroes. For that reason I shall survey the
exploits of Monthbaal in this context. He appears in the
battle field (19.24) after seeing a dream to come to help
his brothers, but considering his great physical force he
was ordered by the pharaoh to the ships who had chosen
the pairs of adversaries. Monthbaal was forced then to stay
away from the fights till the ninth hour of the battle, when
he could no longer restrain himself and take the field just
like a berserker. The hero standing back and then engaging
in battle reminds me of the basic conflict in the Iliad, when
Achilles restrained from fighting. (I wonder if the fact
that the Iliad plays in the 10th years of the Trojan War, and
Monthbaal starts the fight at the 9th hours in the evening
could be coincidental showing only a late time implying
the hardness of fights.)

E.g. 1. ti=w [a.w]y n mny tA mlA Man gab Platz des


Landens des mlA-Schiffes des
2. anx-Hr
Anchhor
3. sA pA-nh -kA
Sohnes des Paneh-ka.
4. ti=w a.wy n mny n tA mlA n na iwnw irm tA mlA na sy.
Man gab Landungsplatz dem mlA-Schiff der Leute von
Heliopolis und dem mlA- Schiff der von Sais. (Hoffmann
1996, 327 17.25-27.)

The order of the localities enumerated do not correspond


to the real geographical arrangement, as in case of the
Ship Catalogue of Iliad, (Allen 1921; Stanley 1993, 16)
but it conforms with the hierarchy of the protagonists.
The structure and the insertion of the Shipcatalogue in
the Demotic text evoke the abbreviated lists of characters
constructed from the catalogues of Iliad, which was
widespread in school-texts. Although mention must be
made of the enumeration of armies and leaders known in
the Egyptian literature; the account of the Piankhy-stela
reviews by two catalogues of the adversary leaders with
their regions (17-20, 114-117. Grimal 1981, 36. 8.; 150.
21.). Nevertheless, the enumeration of personages in
order of their arriving to the harbour reflects in my sight
the abbreviated Homeric Shipcatalogue, considering that
the ships have no significations in the plot, except the
scene of arrival and the last fight which were both popular
episodes of the Iliad as well.

Besides, two other elements in the text, the exaggerated


description of the preparations for fight and the duals also
echo the fixed stereotyped episodes of the Iliad and were
unknown in the previous Egyptian literature.
The use of these elements has some significance beyond
the general characteristics of epic which were in fact
developed as results of some social changes. The birth
of the Demotic epic literature was evidently provoked
by socio-historical events but the Greek literature and art
as cultural factors also contributed to its evolution. Thus,
to have comprehensive image about the contact of the
two literatures the further analyses of the socio-cultural
background is required.
To sum up, in analyzing the above-mentioned elements (and
others not noted here) of the Contest for the Breastplate of
Inaros in socio-cultural context with consideration of the
means of diffusion of Iliad we shall proceed to assume that
there was a certain contact between the Demotic epic and
the Homeric subliterary texts. At any rate, it is remarkable
that the Demotic elements considered as written under
Greek influence correspond to the scenes and passages,
which became popular at school and in art. Naturally the
case of copying or modeling the Iliad cannot be proved
in the Demotic text, insomuch as the character of the two
texts does not render it possible.

The scene of intimate conversation before fight between


the hero and one of his beloved appears in the Contest
wherein Tainefer, the servant of Pami implores his master
not to fight a duel with Wertiamonniut before the arrival
his own troop, lest the army of his enemy fly at him (12.1220). Yet there is a famous scene in the Iliad as well which
presents the moving dialogue between Hector and his wife,
Andromache, who fears for her husband not to be attacked
by the army of Argives in the battlefield (Il.VI. 407-439).
This scene (the dialogue between a hero and a heroine)
is actually one of the stereotyped episodes of Iliad which
were beside the use at school - also represented on works
of art (Woodford 1993, 71) like duels, the armament or the
assembly. All are generalized clich-like scenes showing
the most characteristic episodes of the Trojan War.

I draw the conclusion that the writer/s had learned the Greek
at school by help of passages, quotations and subliterary
texts, but the cultural atmosphere also impressed his work
in writing the Demotic epics. For solving the problem of the
contact of the Homeric epics and the Demotic romances,
however, the social background of the divulgation of Iliad
needs a more complete investigation.

The third essential sign of the Greek contact is echoed by


the heroic deeds of Monthbaal. The figure of Monthbaal,
son of Inaros embodies the ideal epic hero. He is brave,
bellicose and he appears when it is needed. Even the intact
of heroic image in the Contest is questionable, considering

From Illahun to Djeme. Papers Presented in Honour of Ulrich Luft


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