Women’s Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800
This work includes the private letters of ancient women in Egypt, from Alexander the Great to the Arab conquest. When historians study the women of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquity, they are generally dependent on ancient literature written by men. But women did write and dictate themselves. And only in their own private letters can we discover unmediated expression of their authentic experiences. More than three hundred letters written in Greek and Egyptian by women in Egypt between the conquest of Alexander the Great and the early Islamic period survive on papyrus and pottery. This book sets the best-preserved of these letters in their paleaographic, linguistic, social, and economic contexts. “”Women’s Letters”” cuts across disciplinary lines and considers sociolinguistic questions about the choice of language in a bilingual society as well as issues relevant to women and gender studies.