Summer 2019

It’s been a hectic summer! The last two months I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in some of the most stimulating academic forums!
The race started in June in Athens. The Norwegian Institute of Archaeology in Athens was the perfect host for the third conference Curses in context. My dear colleague Korshi Dosoo has already written a detailed review here.
The following week in the same place we had the fourth editorial meeting of the project Transmission of Magical Knowledge in Antiquity run by Chris Faraone and myself.
With the invaluable help of our team members, Korshi Dosoo, Michael Zellmann Rohrer, Alberto Nodar, Raquel Martin, Anastasia Maravela, Richard Gordon and Panagiota Sarischouli, we established the final list of magical handbooks, with a total of 88, some of them complete, others fragmentary, in chronological order, from the 2nd century A.C. to the 6th century A.D. in Greek, Demotic and Coptic.
The very interesting discussions covered all kinds of philological and textual questions, but also paleographical and bibliological. I want to emphasize that the part I liked the most was the final discussion and reordering of the fragments in chronological order on the basis of palaeography.
After teaching a course at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid on the origins of Coptic Christianity, we had our IX Jornadas de Papirología, an annual venue that we (DVCTVS) have been organizing since 2008. This year they took place at the Abbey of Montserrat. We organized a small exhibit too, “Redes de papiro/Papyrus networks” on the occasion of the meeting of more than 30 papyrologists in the sacred mountain. More information and many photos of the event in our blog and website, here.

After that, I participated in the XV Congress of the Spanish Society of Classical Studies. This congress goes every four years and gathers several hundred classicists in a week of intense conferencing. This year it took place in Valladolid.
There I presented the Papyrology keynote, with the theme “Papyrology and the material turn”.
I had the opportunity to listen to many of my colleagues in the DVCTVS project, such as Txomin Rodríguez, with his wonderful keynote on Roman Law. His paper dealt with Justinian’s ban on translating law: “El derecho a traducir Derecho”
Two more papers of members of DVCTVS: Nacho Sanz, who spoke about proskynema in Christian letters on papyrus. The discussion about the lexical difference between proskynema and proskynesis was very interesting for the linguists in the room.
In magical terms, Miriam Blanco spoke about alchemical handbooks in antiquity, specifically the Papyrus Holmiensis, an interesting fourth century papyrus codex featuring recipes for dyes and inks. 

Now we are all getting ready for the big congress next week: the 29th International Congress of Papyrology at Lecce, Italy. It will be, as always, a fantastic week of exchange and friendship. Last congress, the 28th, took place in Barcelona in 2016. In the meantime we have been working hard to publish the Proceedings of that congress. They were finally announced this week!

See you all in Lecce!