The ancient Egyptians developed the script now known as Demotic by the 7th century BCE to better record the spoken form of their language, which had evolved away from classical forms written in the older Hieroglyphic and Hieratic scripts.
Demotic was subsequently used for virtually all Egyptian documentary texts until the 2nd century CE, when it was superceded administratively by Greek; and for most Egyptian literary and religious texts until the 4th century CE, when it was supressed by the rise of Christianity and Coptic.
Tens of thousands of Demotic texts on papyrus, potsherds and other media survive, most of them unpublished. They provide a unique view of Egyptian society while it was being transformed by centuries of Persian, Greek and Roman rule, and increasingly intensive linguistic, literary and cultural contact with the broader Near Eastern and Mediterranean world.
This programme offers an introduction to Demotic script, texts and publications for those with a reading knowledge of hieroglyphs. After two weeks, participants will know the basic signs and vocabulary of Demotic, the basic research tools, and the most important texts and publications.
It occupies Timeslots 1 (9:30-11:00) and 3 (14:00-15:30). Timeslot 2 (11:30-13:00) and Timeslot 4 (16:00-17:30) should be used for additional courses (such as Comparative Semitic, Slot 2, or Old Aramaic, Slot 4, from the Semitic Programme), or guided study with access to the docent.
The first three days provide a general introduction to the standard terminology and format of papyrological publications and citations. Thereafter, Muhs will introduce the script and vocabulary during morning sessions, and important texts, formulas and genres during the afternoon sessions.
In short, the Demotic Papyrology programme will consist of the following courses:
Introduction to the Demotic script and vocabulary
Introduction to Comparative Semitic (Semitic programme) or: guided study
Demotic texts, formulas and genres
Old Aramaic (Semitic programme) or: guided study