The Center for Tebtunis Papyri logoEthnic Identity in Roman Tebtunis header


This is an archived exhibit of The Bancroft Library, University California, Berkeley.

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Editions of texts are abbreviated throughout the exhibition following the conventions set by John F. Oates, Roger S. Bagnall, Sarah J. Clackson, Alexandra A. O'Brien, Joshua D. Sosin, Terry G. Wilfong, and Klaas A. Worp, Checklist of Greek, Latin, Demotic and Coptic papyri, ostraca and tablets (September, 2004).



Bagnall, Roger S. 2000. The Fayum and its people. In Ancient faces: Mummy portraits from Roman Egypt, ed. Susan Walker. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Routledge.

Bierbrier, M.L. (ed.). 1997. Portraits and masks: Burial customs in Roman Egypt. London: Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Press.

Bowman, Alan K. 1996. Egypt after the pharaohs, 332 BC–AD 642: From Alexander to the Arab conquest. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Clarysse, Willy. 1992. Some Greeks in Egypt. In Life in a multi-cultural society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and beyond, ed. Janet H. Johnson. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51. Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Fournet, Jean-Luc. 2004. Deux texts relatifs à couleurs. In Gedenkschrift Ulrike Horak, ed. Hermann Harreur and Rosario Pintaudi. Papyrologica Florentina 34.

Hall, Jonathan M. 1997. Ethnic identity in Greek antiquity. Cambridge, England; New York: Cambridge University Press.

———. 2002. Hellenicity: Between ethnicity and culture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

La'da Csaba. 2003. Encounters with ancient Egypt: The Hellenistic Greek experience. InAncient perspectives on Egypt, ed. Roger Matthews and Cornelia Roemer, 157–169. London: UCL Press, Institute of Archaeology.

Malkin, Irad. 2001. Introduction. In Ancient perceptions of Greek ethnicity, ed. Irad Malkin, 1–19. Washington, D.C.: Center for Hellenic Studies, Trustees for Harvard University; Cambridge, Mass.: Distributed by Harvard University Press.

Marlowe, Nancy. 1984. Catalog of the painted portraits from Roman Egypt in the Lowie Museum Collection. Master's thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

Parlasca, Klaus. 1966. Mumienporträts und verwandte Denkmäler. Wiesbaden: Steiner.

———. 1977. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano. Serie B, Vol. 2–3. Palermo: Fondazione "Ignazio Mormino" del Banco di Sicilia, 1969; Roma, "L'Erma" di Bretschneider.

Roy, Ananya. 2001. Identity, space, power. In Hybrid urbanism: On the identity discourse and the built environment, ed. Nezar AlSayyad, 229–245. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Walker, Susan. 1998. Notes on mummy portraits and other finds from Grenfell and Hunt's excavations at Tebtunis (1899–1900), now in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley. Typescript.

——— (ed.). 2000. Ancient faces: Mummy portraits from Roman Egypt. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Routledge.


Sources of the Papyri

Crawford, Dorothy J. 1971. Kerkeosiris; An Egyptian village in the Ptolemaic period. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Grenfell, B.P. and A.S. Hunt. 1900. A large find of papyri. The Atheneum, no. 3785, 12 May:600–601.

Grenfell, B.P. and A.S. Hunt. 1900. A large find of Ptolemaic papyri. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete 1:376–378.

Grenfell, B.P., A.S. Hunt and D.G. Hogarth. 1900. Fayum towns and their papyri. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Grenfell, B.P., A.S. Hunt and J.G. Smyly. The Tebtunis papyri I. 1902; II, B.P. Grenfell, A.S. Hunt and E.J. Goodspeed. 1907; III, pt. I, A.S. Hunt and J.G. Smyly, assisted by B.P. Grenfell, E. Lobel and M. Rostovtzeff. 1933; III, pt. II, ed. A.S. Hunt, J.G. Smyly and C.C. Edgar. 1938. IV, ed. J.G. Keenan and J.C. Shelton. 1976.

Thomas, Nancy (ed). 1995. American discovery of ancient Egypt. Los Angeles; New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; PB Abrams [Distributor].


Individual and Society: The Evidence of Personal Names and Families

Arlt, Carolin. Forthcoming. Die Mummienschilder im Britischen Museum.

Bagnall, Roger S. 1995. Reading papyri, writing ancient history. Approaching the Ancient World. London; New York: Routledge.

Clarysse, Willy. 1985. Greeks and Egyptians in the Ptolemaic army and administration.Aegyptus 65:57–66.

———. 1995. Greeks in Ptolemaic Thebes. In Hundred-gated Thebes. Acts of a Colloquium on Thebes and the Theban Area in the Graeco, ed. S.P. Vleeming, 1–19. Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava 27. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

———. 1998. Ethnic diversity and dialect among the Greeks of Hellenistic Egypt. In The two faces of Graeco-Roman Egypt: Greek and Demotic and Greek-Demotic text and studies presented to P.W. Pestman by alumni of the Papyrological Institute, ed. A.M.F.W. Verhoogt and S.P. Vleeming 1–13. Papyrologica Lugduno–Batava 30. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

———. 2002. Souchos and Astarte in Syron Kome. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 140:201–202.

———. Forthcoming. Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs at Theogonis.

Clarysse, Willy and Dorthy J. Thompson. Forthcoming. Counting the people in Hellenistic Egypt. Historical Studies. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge Press.

Clarysse, Willy and Katelijn Vandorpe. Fayum project: An on-line gazetteer , September, 2004.

Oates, John F. 1963. The status designation: Perses, tes epigones. Yale Classical Studies 18. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Ritner, Robert K. 1992. Implicit models of cross-cultural interaction: A question of noses, soap, and prejudice. In Life in a multi-cultural society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and beyond, ed. Janet H. Johnson. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51. Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

———. 1998. Egypt under Roman rule: The legacy of Roman Egypt. In The Cambridge history of Egypt I: Islamic Egypt: From the Arab invasion to the Ottoman conquest (641–1517), ed. C.F. Petry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Verhoogt, A.M.F.W. 1998. Family papers from Tebtunis: Unfolding a bundle of papyri. In The two faces of Graeco-Roman Egypt: Greek and Demotic and Greek-Demotic text and studies presented to P.W. Pestman by alumni of the Papyrological Institute, ed. A.M.F.W. Verhoogt and S.P. Vleeming. Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava 30. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

———. 1998. Menches, komogrammateus of Kerkeosiris: The doings and dealings of a village scribe in the late Ptolemaic period (120–110 B.C.). Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava 29. Leiden: Brill.


Language and Education

Adams, J.N., Mark Janse and Simon Swain (eds). 2002. Bilingualism in ancient society: Language contact and the written word. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Bowman, Alan K. and Greg Woolf. 1994. Literacy and power in the ancient world. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Clarysse, Willy. 1993. Egyptian scribes writing Greek. Chronique d'Égypte 68:186–201.

Cribiore, Raffaella. 1995. A school tablet from the Hearst Museum. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 107: 263–270.

———. 1996. Writing, teachers, and students in Graeco-Roman Egypt. American Studies in Papyrology 36. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

———. 2001. Gymnastics of the mind: Greek education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Gallazzi, Claudio. 1999. Further surprises from Tebtunis. Egyptian Archaeology 14:16–17.

Leach, Bridget and John Tait. 2000. Papyrus. In Ancient Egyptian materials and technology, ed. Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lewis, Naphtali. 1993. The demise of the Demotic document: When and why. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 79:276–281.

Tassier, Emmanuel. 1992. Greek and Demotic school-exercises. In Life in a multi-cultural society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and beyond, ed. Janet H. Johnson. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51. Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Whitmarsh, Tim. 2001. Greek literature and the Roman empire: The politics of imitation. Oxford [U.K.]; New York: Oxford University Press.


Religion: Temples, Synagogues and Churches

Bingen, Jean. 1994. Le dieu Hèrôn et les Hèrôn du Fayoum. In Hommages à Jean Leclant III, ed. Catherine Berger, Gisèle Clerc et Nicolas Grimal. Bibliothéque d'Étude 106. Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale.

Buell, Denise Kimber. 2002. Race and universalism in early Christianity. Journal of Early Christian Studies 10:429–468.

Clarysse Willy, 1994. Jews in Trikomia. Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, Copenhagen 23–29 August 1992, ed. A. Bülow-Jacobsen, 193–203.. Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen.

Depuydt, Leo. 1993. Catalogue of Coptic manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library. Uitgeverij Peeters: Leuven.

Ikram, Salima. 2003. Barbering the beardless: A possible explanation for the tufted hairstlye depicted in the 'Fayum' portrait of a young boy (J.P. Getty 78.AP.262). Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 89:247–251.

Kiss, Zsolt. 1996. Harpocrate-Hèron: A propos d'une figurine en terre cuite du Musée National de Varsovie. In Archaeological research in Roman Egypt: The proceedings of the seventeenth Classical Colloquium of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, held on 1–4 December, 1993, ed. Donald M. Bailey. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement 19. Ann Arbor, MI: Journal of Roman Archaeology.

Lewis, S. 1977. The iconography of the Coptic horseman in Byzantine Egypt. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 10:33–36.

Lutz, Henry Frederick. 1927. Egyptian tomb steles and offering stones of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of the University of California. Leipzig, J. C. Hinrich.

———. 1930. Egyptian statues and statuettes in the Museum of Anthropology of the University of California. Leipzig, J.C. Hinrich.

Mendoza, B. 1999–2000. Tebtunis. In Sites along the Nile: Rescuing ancient Egypt. Exhibition at the P. A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.

Modrzejewski, Joseph. 1996. Jewish law and Hellenistic legal practice in the light of Greek papyri from Egypt. In An introduction to the history and sources of Jewish law, ed. N.S. Hecht et al. The Institute of Jewish Law, Boston University School of Law 22. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nachtergael, Georges. 1996. Trois dédicaces au dieu Hèrôn. Chronique d'Égypte 71:129–142.

Quaegebeur Jan. 1983. Cultes Égyptiens et grecs en Égypte hellénistique. L'exploitation des sources. In Egypt and the Hellenistic World. Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Leuven, 24–26 May 1982, ed. Van't Dack Edmond, P. Van Dessel and W. Van Gucht. Studia Hellenistica 27. Leuven: Peeters.

———. 2001. Le dieu à la bipenne, c'est Lycurgue. Revue d'Égyptologie 52:219–249.

———. 1997. Le temple de Soknebtynis à Tebtynis. In Archeologia e papiri nel Fayyum. Storia della ricerca, problemi e prospettive: Atti del Convegno internazionale. Siracusa, 24–25 maggio 1996, 103–121. Quaderni del Museo del Papiro 8. Siracusa: Istituto internazionale del papiro.

———. 1998. Min, maître de Tebtynis. In Egyptian religion: The last thousand years. Studies dedicated to the memory of Jan Quaegebeur, 241–255. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 84. Leuven: Peeters 1998.

Thompson, D.L. 1979. A painted triptych from Roman Egypt. The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 7:185–192.

Walters, C.C. 1989. Christian paintings from Tebtunis. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology75:191–208.



I am grateful for the comments and suggestions of a numbers of individuals in tackling the very challenging topic of this exhibit. Willy Clarysse, above all, has been very generous with his research and incisive in his critiques of the exhibit text. Susanna Elm, Mark Griffith, Erich Gruen, Todd Hickey, Ken Jones, Cathleen Keller, Maria Mavroudi, Heidi Saleh and Arthur Verhoogt have read all or part of the exhibit text; they have provided useful commentary and saved me from many substantive and editorial mistakes. Terry Wilfong kindly alerted me to Janet Richard's methodological approach to her 2003 Kelsey Museum exhibition, Individual and society in ancient Egypt. I am grateful to Professor Richards for providing me with the text of her exhibit; section two of the present display intentionally echoes her title and, I hope, pays tribute to her approach. I thank Brigit Flannery for her notes on Scribe X; Brian Muhs will publish the Scribe X piece on display here (UC 2490). Registrar Joan Knudsen and Conservator Madeleine Fang, as always, have been very gracious hosts at Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology; they have also provided most of the photographs for the exhibit.

Elisabeth R. O'Connell







British papyrologists Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt excavated Tebtunis on behalf of the University of California in 1899/1900. Over 30,000 fragments of papyri and 1800 other objects as well as a few architectural elements from the site are now housed in Bancroft Library and Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Ancient Tebtunis is best known for the Ptolemaic period papyri recovered from human mummy cartonnage and (somewhat sensationally) from crocodile mummy wrappings in the Ptolemaic cemeteries, but Grenfell and Hunt's excavation of parts of the temple enclosure, Roman period town and cemeteries also yielded a phenomenal range of papyri and other finds. The texts and objects from these areas bear a more direct relationship to their find spots than the texts from Ptolemaic period mummies. Roman period official administrative documents were excavated in situ (perhaps from the actual administrative office in which they were stored), family archives were unearthed from private houses and priests' texts from their quarters in the temple enclosure. Even texts discarded in antiquity and excavated from trash heaps often bear relationships to the other texts with which they were thrown out.

Excavators have continued to work at Tebtunis intermittently for the hundred years since Grenfell and Hunt left the site. As a result, ancient individuals and families known from Berkeley's Tebtunis papyri are documented in over a dozen collections world-wide and occasionally fragments of the very same papyrus roll are distributed among multiple collections. The objects on display here are remarkable for the roles they once played in the lives of individuals; unless otherwise stated, all were excavated from the Roman period town.