Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and by William A. Johnson, Holt N. Parker

By William A. Johnson, Holt N. Parker

Classicists were sluggish to exploit the real advances within the means that literacy is seen in different disciplines (including particularly cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology). nonetheless, historians of literacy proceed to depend on superseded paintings via classicists (mostly from the 1960's and 1970's) and feature little entry to the present reexamination of the traditional facts. This well timed quantity makes an attempt to formulate new attention-grabbing methods of speaking in regards to the whole proposal of literacy within the old world—literacy no longer within the feel of even if 10% or 30% of individuals within the old international may possibly learn or write, yet within the experience of text-oriented occasions embedded in a selected socio-cultural context.

The quantity is meant as a discussion board within which chosen best students reconsider from the floor up how scholars of classical antiquity may possibly top method the query of literacy long ago, and the way that research could materially intersect with alterations within the manner that literacy is now seen in different disciplines.

The end result will supply readers new methods of brooding about particular parts of "literacy" in antiquity, similar to the character of non-public libraries, or what it capacity to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, resembling what constitutes studying groups and the way they style themselves; new takes at the public sphere, similar to how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with using public areas, or with the development of civic id; new essentialist questions, similar to what "book" and "reading" represent in antiquity, why literate cultures boost, or why literate cultures topic. The publication derives from a convention (a Semple Symposium held in Cincinnati in April 2006) and contains new paintings from the main impressive students of literacy in antiquity (e.g., Simon Goldhill, Joseph Farrell, Peter White, and Rosalind Thomas).

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There is thus a fascinating tension between the obvious fact that writing makes certain activities possible or easier, and that different potentials are seized upon by different communities. In some, writing means bureaucracy, control, and oppression by the state, in others an enabling skill that frees an individual’s creative potential. This is the direction of research at the moment. Rather than see ‘‘literacy’’ as an independent, separable skill, researchers as well as teachers in the field tend to wish to see it more as an embedded activity—or to see a tension between the social context and the potentialities of writing.

See, for instance, the Methone decrees, photographed clearly in ATL, vol. II, plate 1. 51. See Hedrick’s very useful survey of epigraphic evidence, 1999 (and note Teisamenos’ decree, And. I 83–4); Hedrick 2000. Writing, Reading, Public and Private ‘‘Literacies’’ 37 ATHENIAN OFFICIALS AND THE CHANGING DEMOCRACY: THE LITERACY OF THE OFFICIAL Many other spheres in the Athenian democracy involved writing, of course, written records and a degree of literacy, and the degree to which this was so changed in the course of its long history.

He passed over to me a half share at the price of 2 1/2 hektai (each). I paid 2 1/2 hektai in cash and two days later personally gave a guarantee (KªªıÅôÞæØïí). , the money) he received on the river. The pledge (arrabon) I handed over where the boats are moored. biur and Sedegon; these (were) witnesses when I handed over the pledge. auaras, Nalb. ’’ (Chadwick’s 1990 translation of revised text) It is very tempting to wonder if the written contract developed early among traders on the edges (both geographical and ideological) of the Greek world precisely because of the mobility of the trader, the fluidity of business, the absence of a secure and permanent base, and of security in land; and above all, the need to make agreements with strangers Greek and 26.

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