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With kind regards: October 2022

Tuesday 11 October 2022
With kind regards: Convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden

This event is part of the series "With kind regards: convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing". For more information, please click the button below.

With kind regards: Convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing

Building a theory of material and visual politeness in ancient sources: the example of the Graeco-Roman letters on papyrus

Yasmin Amory (Ghent University)

Although letters on papyrus have been thoroughly examined and investigated from the very beginning of the discipline, attention has mainly been paid to the language and its formulations. Even if things have recently started to change and there is an evident, increasing interest in the material and visual aspects of writing supports, the main approach is still text-related. A similar trend can also be observed in the field of historical politeness: even when applied to documentary sources, politeness research exclusively focuses on the register and the linguistic strategies. However, the papyrological documentation reveals that politeness was not only conveyed and perceived through language, but also through the external characteristics of written communication (the choice and the conditions of the material support, the layout of the text, the style of the handwriting, …), and even through non-verbal and non-tangible communication. By introducing a theory of material and visual politeness, this paper aims to investigate communication practices in Graeco-Roman letters under a new multimodal perspective.

Asking for Justice: Petitions and Legal Practices in Early Islamic Northern Iran

Khodadad Rezakhani (Leiden University)

This presentation will focus on the so-called Tabaristan Pahlavi Documents (see Weber 2019 among many others), a corpus of Middle Persian documents from the area of Tabarestan, present day northern Iran, dating from the last decades of the Seventh century CE. While a great number of the documents are in fact minutes of court cases and rulings relating to disputes over land purchase and payment of taxes, quite a few are in fact petitions and letters of complaint exchanged around the adjudication of these cases. Written in variations of epistolary formulations known from other neighbouring regions and languages, these letters reveal much about the environment in which they were being composed and the understanding of power structures that regulated the lives of their authors. This presentation will contextualise such letters and by comparing them with similar finds from Qom, Bactria, and Egypt, provide a study of their human environment and context.

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