Friday, June 3, 2011


Mario Capasso (ed.), Hermae: Scholars and Scholarship in Papyrology. II. Studi di egittologia e di papirologia 7. Pisa/Roma: Fabrizio Serra editore, 2010. Pp. 121. ISBN 9788862273374. €120.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Arthur Verhoogt, University of Michigan (

Version at BMCR home site

This is the second volume in a series that offers portraits of the world's "most important papyrologists" (Preface).1 It is part of a project that aims to capture the history of papyrology by providing pastiches of the lives and works of many of the field's practitioners. These are, by the way, defined in a broad way, to include anyone whose research touches upon papyrology, not only papyrologists in the more narrow Youtian definition of technical editors of texts.

The present volume contains portraits of seventeen scholars, almost all active during the twentieth century. All contributions provide a portrait of the person (with the picture of a nice bust for Amadeo Peyron), basic biographical information (place of birth, death, training), and, most importantly, scholarly activity. In the case of papyrologists who died more recently, the authors who actually knew and/or worked with the scholar in question are able to provide more intimate biography than is possible for the older generations. The information coming from so-called oral history such as contained in Bagnall's contribution on Naphtali Lewis adds to the vividness of the portrait immensely. The amount of detail given varies considerably between the contributions (from 1 to 18 pages) and is more a matter of choice by the author than anything to do with the lifespan and/or scholarly production of the person involved, although scholars who died young (Thiede, Montserrat) understandably receive fewer pages.

Like the first volume, the second attests the international impact of papyrology with, this time, seven nationalities represented, reflecting the important roles of Italy, Germany and Great Britain in the development of the field, with four representatives each. The volume also shows the breadth of the field with specialists in literary and documentary texts, (Demotic) Egyptian and Christian texts among those who are honored in this volume.

This is an ongoing project and there are for now sufficient candidates to be added in the series (the ones mentioned in the BMCR review of the first volume, for example, are not yet present in this second volume). As long as there are enough deceased colleagues to fill the volumes, one wishes the editor and his team continued and speedy success. Should this group run out, we may need to revisit this wish.

Table of Contents

Mario Capasso, Preface
Natascia Pellé, Amedeo Peyron (1785-1870)
Alessandro Capone, Anthony Charles Harris (1790-1869)
Giovanni Indelli, Domenico Comparetti (1835-1927)
Pasquale Massimo Pinto, Harold Idris Bell (1879-1967)
Luigi Lehnus, Edgar Lobel (1888-1982)
Moshe Amit, Victor (Avigdor) Tcherikover (1894-1958)
Vanna Maraglino, Goffredo Coppola (1898-1945)
Roger S. Bagnall, Naphtali Lewis (1911-2005)
Carla Balconi, Orsolina Montevecchi (1911-2009)
Andrea Jördens, Erich Lüddeckens (1913-2004)
Giuliana Leone, Wolfgang Schmid (1913-1980)
Marie-Hélène Marganne, Robert Cavenaile (1918-2007)
Cornelia Eva Römer, Reinhold Merkelbach (1918-2006)
Basil G. Mandilaras, Ioannes Triantaphyllopoulos (1921-2006)
Alain Martin, Georges Nachtergael (1934-2009)
Andrea Jördens, Carsten Peter Thiede (1952-2004)
Dorothy J. Thompson, Dominic Montserrat (1964-2004).

Appendix I. Mercedes Palau-Ribes O'Callaghan, José O'Callaghan, S. I. (1922-2001), Bibliography.
Appendix II. Bibliographical update to Hermae (by Natascia Pellé).


1.   For a review of the first volume see BMCR 2007.10.30.

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