Crash-course in Greek paleography

The Greek department of Ghent University offers a two-day course in Greek paleography in collaboration with the Research School OIKOS. The course is intended for (advanced) students and PhDs in Classics, Ancient History and Ancient Civilizations with a good command of Greek. It offers an intensive introduction into Greek paleography from the Hellenistic period until the end of the Middle Ages and is specifically aimed at acquiring practical skills to read literary and documentary papyri and literary manuscripts from the originals.


Six lectures will give a chronological overview of the development of Greek handwriting, each followed by a practice session reading relevant extracts from papyri and manuscripts in smaller groups under supervision. The first day (Monday) will focus on documentary and literary papyri and we will be working with original papyri from the papyrus collection of the Ghent University Library. The second day (Tuesday) we will continue with literary manuscripts.


Monday (February 3)

13:00-14:00 Documentary and literary papyri from the Graeco-Roman period (Dr. Joanne Stolk)

14:00-15:00 Practice papyri of the Graeco-Roman period

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-16:30 Documentary and literary papyri from the Byzantine period (Dr. Yasmine Amory)

16:30-17:30 Practice papyri of the Byzantine period

18:30 Informal dinner (optional, at your own expense)


Tuesday (February 4)

9:00-10:00 Majuscule and early minuscule bookhands (4th-9th centuries) (Dr. Rachele Ricceri)

10:00-11:00 Practice majuscule and early minuscule bookhands

11:00-12:00 The development of minuscule script in the 10th-12th centuries (Dr. Maria Tomadaki)

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:00 Practice minuscule script of the 10th-12th centuries

14:00-15:00 Manuscripts and scholars of the Paleologan period (13th-15th centuries) (Prof. dr. Floris Bernard)

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-16:30 Practice manuscripts of the Paleologan period

Practical information

The study load is the equivalent of 2 ECTS (2×28 hours). Participants will be asked to read up on secondary literature in preparation for the seminar, see below. Extra material will be handed out during the course in order to continue to practice and improve your reading skills after the course.

Lunch (Tuesday) will be provided. Travel costs and/or accommodation are at your own expense.

Deadline registration: 15 January 2020

For registration and further questions contact Joanne Stolk (


Secondary literature

  • L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars, Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature, Oxford 1991, esp. pp. 1-78.
  • G. Cavallo, Greek and Latin Writing in the Papyri, in R.S. Bagnall (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology 2009
  • R. Barbour, Greek Literary Hands: A.D. 400–1600, Oxford 1981.
  • I. Pérez Martín, “Byzantine Books”, in A. Kaldellis and N. Siniossoglou (eds), The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium (Cambridge, 2018), 37-46
  • N. Wilson, “Palaeography”, in E. Jeffreys et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, Oxford 2008, 101-114
  • H. Hunger, “Handschriftliche Überlieferung in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit, Paläographie”, in H. G. Nesselrath (ed.), Einleitung in die griechische Philologie, Wiesbaden 1997, 17-44