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Writers and writing in the Roman Army at Dura-Europos

Austin, Jacqueline F. (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This socio-palaeographic thesis maintains that behind the uniform appearance of Roman army writing was a particular, dedicated training. Focussing on the third century Dura-Europos, it uncovers evidence for the thorough schooling given to the clerks of the resident Cohors XX Palmyrenorum enabling them to fulfil their administrative duties. These include maintaining efficient documentation systems and preparing a range of accurate, legible texts, and the clerks were trained to produce a repertoire of standard military scripts. Additionally other soldiers and the more general public were taught to read and to understand, to varying degrees, but the clerks, distinct, were specialist writers who found dignity in the work that they did. This dissertation, a preliminary study, draws throughout from the camp’s rich epigraphic and papyrological evidence. It sets out the context in which clerical soldiers worked and the evidence for army literate education and then introduces Roman writing, its form and development generally, before analysing in detail the letter-forms used in one particular standard hand over the decades the cohort’s documents span. In this hand, the well-known development out of Old Roman Cursive is presented and discussed. A brief additional chapter presents the possibility that military clerks also produced camp signage.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Davis, Tom R.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Institute of Archaeology & Antiquity
Keywords:Latin Palaeography, Roman palaeography
Subjects:CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals
C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:895
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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