The main aim of this research project was to re-examine the Greek medical papyri from the Egyptian site of Antinoopolis dating between late 3rd up to 7th century AD.
Antinoopolis offers the potential for putting documents into an archaeological context, and this geographical and chronological consistency facilitates a close comparison between the data preserved in these sources. The interest in Antinoopolis, as far as the medical tradition is concerned, lies in the diverse healing practices attested by documentary, literary and archaeological evidence whose quantity and range is altogether exceptional among Egyptian villages.
The objective of Francesca Corazza´s research is both papyrological-philological and cultural-historical. She tried to present the manuscripts and discuss their peculiarities, characteristics and functions. She has sought to improve our understanding of these fragments through the identification of new portions of text and a better assessment of their formal arrangement, which resulted in the revised edition of a few outstanding papyri. They might include examples of traditional medical genres by authors now lost and also independent forms not attributable to a fixed model.
In addition to this, Francesca Corazza has tried to contribute to the evaluation of the general context of this Egyptian community, particularly as regards religious healing practices connected to the sanctuary of Collouthus, and to explore the historical and cultural circumstances in which these texts were used. She addressed the question of the interaction between Egyptian, Greek and Christian medical traditions using the magico-medical papyri as historical evidence. Further sources of information such as archaeological remains, objects found in excavations, and later textual evidences, have been used to better understand the socio-cultural environment. Taken as a whole, this material enables us to compose a useful, albeit incomplete picture of the magical medicine in Antinoopolis.
Francesca Corazza´s research finally investigates the development of the codex throughout late Antiquity, which can be observed in a number of respects. One of the most significant concerns how the texts were assembled and presented, namely the interplay between container and content. She considered miscellaneous books from a descriptive and cultural perspective and attempted to outline the usage and context of these texts by examining their physical characteristics. The absolute majority of the Antinoopolis medical texts have been copied in the codex format and point to a combination of materials; for this reason, they are excellent case studies when examining early Byzantine technical copies.
This Ph.D. thesis has been written within the program “History of Ancient Science” (HistAS) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS) and was successfully completed in 2016.