Lucio Del Corso

Lucio Del Corso

Visiting Fellow, Spring 2019

University of Cassino and Southern Lazio
Research Project
The Making of Greek Literary Culture in Hellenistic Egypt: The Papyrological Evidence

Lucio Del Corso (BA in Classics, Sapienza University of Rome; PhD in Textual and Manuscript Studies, University of Cassino) is associate professor in the University of Cassino and Southern Latium (Italy), where he teaches Papyrology and Classical Reception. He has previously taught at the University of Roma “Tor Vergata” and has been research associate and visiting academic at the Center for the Study of Ancient Documents – Oxford University. He joined several archaeological excavations, as epigraphist and papyrologist, and is now member of the Italian mission in Antinoupolis (Egypt). He is also the supervisor of the PSI-online project (, the main Italian digital resource for the study of Greek papyri. His research topics include Greek papyri and inscriptions, ancient school, reading and writing practices in the Greek world. He is the author of La lettura nel mondo ellenistico (Roma-Bari 2005) and of many contributions in books and journals, on several aspects of ancient Greek written heritage and literary culture.

About the Research Project
The Making of Greek Literary Culture in Hellenistic Egypt: The Papyrological Evidence

Papyri are the tangible remains of a complex phenomenon: the reception of Greek literary culture from its original centers to the East. This research aims to reconstruct the first stages of this process through a survey of Greek literary papyri from the multicultural environment of Hellenistic Egypt (3rd-1st BCE).

This corpus, covering ‘classical’ works and uncanonical textual types, has a great philological and historical value. Papyri come mostly from peripheral areas of Egypt and document the arrival and survival of Hellenism in ‘unexpected’ contexts. Such documentation rises basilar questions: who were the book owners? Why did they read texts from places and periods so far? What are the consequences of this on the mechanisms of text transmission?

To find an answer, papyrological, philological and archaeological elements will be considered together in a broader historical perspective.

The survey comprises the physical features of the papyri and the philological characteristics of their texts, to understand the nature of the bookrolls, the cultural level of the readers, the milieux they were produced in.

In this way, it will be offered a picture ‘from the bottom’ of the spreading of Greek literary heritage, exploring new perspectives on some crucial aspects of Hellenistic cultural history.