Mario Capasso (C.), professor of papyrology at Lecce, is one of the most active researchers in Italy in the field of papyrological studies. Author of the Manuale di Papirologia Ercolanense (Galatina, 1991) and editor of the annual Papirologica Lupiensia (1992- ), Studi di Egittologia e di Papirologia is the second annual journal which C. has founded.
In his introduction (p. 9) C. quotes Aristide Calderini’s preface to the first volume of Aegyptus, Italy’s oldest and best known papyrological journal (recently revived under the editorship of R. Pintaudi). In this Calderini established the aim of Aegyptus as the promotion of the union between Egyptology and papyrology. C. goes on to set forth a similar aim himself for this new journal: “Our journal, more modestly, wishes to contribute to the history of ancient Egypt, equally via the papyri, and to contribute to the study and the better comprehension of the papyri (documentary and literary) of Egyptian provenance, equally via Egyptological research”. Discussion of Herculaneum material is also to be included where it relates to Greco-Egyptian material.
The new journal therefore is very much in the mainstream of papyrological studies, and that is reflected in the wide range of subject matter treated in the articles of this first volume, which achieves an excellent mixture of topics from both literary and documentary papyrology as well as Egyptology. The organization of the papers is alphabetically by author’s name (Angeli to Zecchi: a veritable A-Z). I summarise them below according to areas of interest.
Firstly literary topics, beginning with a Herculaneum text. A. Angeli opens with a long article (pp.11-20) discussing music and the warrior ethos in a passage from one of the Herculaneum papyri, Philodemus, On Music IV cols 58-59 D. There follow two shorter pieces by F. Angiò on the new Posidippos, discussing epigram 37 A.-B. dedicated to Arsinoe Philadelphos (pp. 21-25) and the desirability of a third edition (already!) of the Posidippos papyrus (pp. 27-30). The new Posidippos is the focus also of two pieces by W. Luppe, who with characteristic brevity offers convincing new readings in epigrams 83 and 86 A.-B. (pp. 93-4, 95-6). C. Damiano De Luca re-edits (pp. 83-85) P.Cair.inv. 25, with the opening lines of Iliad XXIV, assigning it (correctly I think) to the later A.D. ii rather than A.D. iv as the original editor had proposed. N. Pellé contributes a long study (pp. 97-115) on the texts of Xenophon found on the verso of reused rolls. She suggests that these were predominantly private copies and that Xenophon was appreciated in Roman Egypt primarily for his narrative and philosophical works rather than as an historian. Finally, E. Puglia in a closely argued paper (pp. 133-138) based on P.Herc. 1021 col. xxxiv presents the case for believing that Philodemus may have studied at Alexandria before he went to Athens.
Next, documentary papyri. M. Bergamasco (pp. 31-41) improves the reading of three apprenticeship contracts, P.Osl. inv. 1470, P.Oxy. LXVII 4596, and PSI III 241. The gains are sometimes small but such improvements are part of the necessary ongoing work of papyrology. W. Clarysse and K. Mueller (pp. 53-58) present the first edition of a second century Ptolemaic text, P.Mich. inv. 4359, an internal report about deposits made to a grain bank in the well known Fayum village of Bacchias. This is the first mention of such a grain bank in Bacchias, and the authors reinvestigate the connection between this institution and the size of the settlement where it was located. S. Daris (pp. 59-60) presents an interesting Oxyrhynchite text of A.D. iii from his own collection, P.Daris inv. 226, with nominations of personnel to unspecified liturgies. Some more notes on the last few lines of the text, which is broken at the foot, would have been useful here. G. Tedeschi (pp. 147-148) offers a re-reading of another liturgical papyrus, P. Lond. II 331, the well known contract to engage musicians for a village fete. P. Pruneti (pp. 129-131) transcribes three small Ptolemaic documentary scraps from the Lecce papyrus collection. Finally, P. Radiciotto (pp. 139-145) publishes a fragmentary Latin papyrus rediscovered within the pages of a Chinese printed book in the collection of the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome. The ‘new’ fragment turns out to be from a papal bull of the High Middle Ages, perhaps documenting a concession granted to the archbishop of Ravenna. While the text is a papyrus, the connection here with Egypt and Egyptology becomes rather tenuous, to say the least.
Finally, Egyptological topics. M. Betrò (pp. 43-48) discusses the pharaonic antecedents of two magical papyri, P.Lond. 122 (= PGM VIII) and P.Oxy. LXV 4468, and argues for the vitality of the magical tradition which they represent. E. Bresciani (pp. 49-51) publishes a very fine example of a Late Period amulet of the naked dwarf god Pataikos from a private collection in Tuscany. P. Davoli (pp. 61-81) brings together and discusses a number of inscribed magical bricks from private tombs now in the Cairo Museum. Used as amulet stands, in some cases these bricks still have their amulets with them. Part of a wider project, this is a most useful study with good illustrations, although the absence of a scale is regrettable. S. Ikram (pp. 87-92) discusses the victual mummies (mummified meat offerings) from the semi royal burial of the wife of the Theban high priest Pinudjem II, who controlled Egypt 990-969 B.C.E., and asks whether, given the unpalatable nature of some of them (calf’s head, lungs/windpipe), they might have been included for their ritual and symbolic significance rather than as nourishment for her Ka. S. Pernigotti contributes two pieces. One is the first publication of part of a wooden panel with a hieroglyphic inscription giving the Horus name of Ptolemy III Euergetes. Discovered at Soknopaiou Nesos in 2003 by the joint Bologna/Lecce archaeological mission, it is one of the most ancient finds from that site and may come from the naos of a statue of the god Sobek dedicated by Euergetes himself (pp. 119-122). Pernigotti also publishes a new fragment in hieratic from the Lecce collection, PUL inv. I 4, with sections of the Book of the Dead (pp.123-127). Finally, M. Zecchi (pp. 149-153) discusses the sexually dangerous aspect of the crocodile god Sobek, with his fondness for rape and adultery. Unlike other Egyptian gods, Sobek has no consort or family, although sometimes he features as the husband of Hathor. This is an apt pairing, given that goddess’s connection with female sexual freedom.
The journal is well produced, soft bound with quarto size sewn pages of a thick creamy paper. Plates are printed within and following each article on the same paper. This is not always completely successful, although that may be due to the lack of definition in the original photos rather than to the printing process.
There is a large editorial committee listed before the title page, but as the journal is yet to be listed by Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, it is not possible to tell whether contributions are formally refereed. Even so, all of the pieces in this first volume are informative and worthwhile contributions, although some may be viewed as slightly lightweight. C. has made an excellent start with his new venture, and all scholars working in papyrology and Egyptology will wish the new journal well for the future.