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Conference "Writing Semitic : Scripts, Documents, Languages in Historical Context : The Sixth International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP)", Munich (October 7th-10th, 2014)

Conference "Writing Semitic : Scripts, Documents, Languages in (…)

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During the last years, Arabic papyrology has started to contribute significantly to Arabic and Islamic studies : we now dispose of a number high standard editions of documents ; scholars working on the Islamic World up to the 16th century counterbalance literary tradition with documentary evidence ; and cooperation with Demotic, Greek, and Coptic papyrology has steadily improved.

The thematic framework of the "Sixth International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) Conference" in 2014 will be somewhat wider. We intend to bring together scholars using documentary evidence for the history of the Early Islamic world (including Arabic, Coptic, and Greek papyri, inscriptions and coins) with scholars working on Semitic languages and
writing systems in general. About one third of the contributions will be devoted to this wider perspective.

The Sixth ISAP Conference will be hosted by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities ( and be organized by the Academy’s Committee of Semitic Philology, ISAP, and the Munich Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies. The conference will start on the morning of Tuesday, October 7, 2014, and continue through the afternoon of Friday, October 10, 2014. The programme will include 20-minute lectures, evening lectures, and a poster exhibition of current PhD projects, as well as a visit of the Bavarian State Library with its holdings in Oriental manuscripts (and Sabaic wood sticks). Optional visits will include the newly reopened Egyptian Museum and the State Museum for Ethnology. Conference languages will be English, German, French and Arabic. However, all lectures will be given in English.


Tuesday, October 7th

BAdW (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften)
09:00 – 11:00 Registration
11:00 – 13:00 Opening

Address of welcome by the BAdW and the ISAP
Musical performance
Opening lecture – Manfred Krebernik, Jena : The Genesis and Early
History of the Alphabet - New Perspectives and Problems
Opening lecture – Hartmut Bobzin, Erlangen : The Qur’an and Semitic

13:00 – 14:00 Buffet

15:00 – 16:30 Session 1 : Administration of Empires

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : Ursula Bsees
Petra M. Sijpesteijn, Leiden : Networks of Dependency : Requests and
Petitions on Papyrus
Dieter Weber, Berlin : Reading History Anew : Pahlavi Documents from
Early Islamic Times
Peter T. Daniels, New York : Aramaic Documents from Achaemenid
Bactria : Connections to the West – and the East
Response by Ursula Bsees

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 – 18:00 Session 2 : Geniza documents seen by new perspectives

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : Oded Zinger
Tonio Sebastian Richter, Leipzig : Coptic Magic in the Cairo Geniza
Munther al-Sabbagh, Santa Barbara : Suhba
Response by to be confirmed

19:00 – 20:30 Evening lecture and reception in the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München (LMU)

Evening lecture – Peter Stein, Jena : Writing Semitic on wooden
sticks : The manuscript tradition of pre-Islamic South Arabia
Reception and buffet

Wednesday, October 8th


09:30 – 11:00 Session 3 : Literature and documents

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : W. Matt Malczycki

Daniel Potthast, Munich : Parallel transmissions of documents : On
the value of the inshāʾ-literature for Arabic papyrology
Ursula Bsees, Vienna : Early evidence for the second source of
Islam : A preliminary study of four ḥadīth papyri from the Austrian
National Library
Abdulmalik Ahmad Essayed Shetewy, Riyadh : Sharḥ Ghunyat al-Kuttāb
fī l-Khaṭṭ by Abi Baqr bin Shihāb ad-Dīn Aḥmad bin al-Himsīya
Response by W. Matt Malczycki

11:00 – 11:30 – Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 Session 4 : Business and Daily Life according to Documents

Chair : Petra M. Sijpesteijn Respondent : to be confirmed

W. Matt Malczycki, Auburn : Using Papyri to Determine the Purchasing
Power of a Dinar in Early Islamic Egypt
Oded Zinger, Princeton : Patronage in the Legal Arena according to
Geniza Letters
Response by to be confirmed

13:00 – 15:30 – Lunch and visitation of Castle Nymphenburg

15:30 – 17:00 Session 5 : Inputs from Neighboring Fields

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : Ahmad Al-Jallad

Shamsiddin S. Kamoliddin, Tashkent : Medallion of Mansur Ibn Nuh :
Historical Interpretation
AbdulSalam Eleasely, Riyadh : Tools and Techniques for the
documentary Evidence of Early Arabic Paper Manuscripts : Discovered
complementary Proofs under the written Arabic Scripts
Mohamed Ahmed Abd Ellatif Ibrahim, Cairo : Archaeological and
Cultural Study for Three Tombstones Newly Discovered in Elephantine
Island in Aswan
Response by Ahmad Al-Jallad

17:00 – 17:30 – Coffee break

17:30 – 18:30 Session 6 : Documents from Bilād al-Shām

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : to be confirmed
Ronny Vollandt, Berlin : The Non-Muslim Fragments from the Qubbat
al-Khazna of the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus
Mohamed Nasr Abdelrahman, Cairo : Marriage and Divorce Contracts
from the Mamluk Jerusalem
Response by to be confirmed


18:30 – 19:30 - Snack

20:30 – 23:00 – Evening Tea in the Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren

Thursday, October 9th

BAdW (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften)

09:30 – 11:00 Session 7 : Language and Formulae

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : Andreas Kaplony

Craig Perry, Atlanta :
Hazem Hussein Abbas Ali, Beni-Suef : Words and Phrases of Arabic
Papyri : Are they Systematic ?
Response by Andreas Kaplony

11:00 – 11:30 – Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 Session 8 : New Documents from Egypt

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : to be confirmed
Mohamed Mohamed Morsy, Cairo : Two Unpublished Arabic Papyri from
the Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣrīya
Ayman Aly Shahin, Bamberg : Three Arabic letters
Ahmed Nabil, Sadat City : Fāṭimid letter of designation related to
Response by to be confirmed

13:00 – 15:00 - Buffet

15:00 – 16:30 Session 9 : Multilingualism, Arabicization, and Cultural

Chair : to be confirmed Respondent : Daniel Potthast
Lajos Berkes, Heidelberg : The Archive of the Fayum Pagarchy in the
8th century
Maher Eissa, Fayoum/Anne Boud’hors, Paris : The Coptic Papyri in the
Egyptian Library and Archives
Alia Hanafi, Cairo : Treatment of Conjunctivitis in the Light of P.
Grenf. I 52, P. Princ. III 155 and Arabic Manuscripts
Response by Daniel Potthast


17:00 – 18:00 – Presentation of Oriental Manuscripts in the Bayerische

19:30 – 22.00 – Dinner

Friday, Oktober 10th

BAdW (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften)

09:30 – 11:00 Session 10 : Signs, numerals, and orthography

Chair : Andreas Kaplony Respondent : to be confirmed
Johannes Thomann, Zurich : Arabic Abjad Numerals : Origin, Usage and Form
Saied Maghawry Mohammed, Cairo:Numerals and Signs in Arabic Papyri
Ahmad Al-Jallad, Leiden : The phonetic Origins of Arabic Orthography
Response by to be confirmed

11:00 – 11.30 – Coffee break
11:30 – 13:00 – General Meeting of the ISAP
13:30 – 20:00 – Excursion with dinner (optional)


Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Abd Ellatif Ibrahim, Cairo, Egypt
Archaeological and Cultural Study for Three Tombstones Newly Discovered in Elephantine Island in Aswan

In fact, I had the honor to invite German Institute beginning of 2010 to participate in the work with the German Swiss mission in Elephantine Island in Aswan, but during the work season in December 2011, found among the important antiquities discovered during the work of the Mission in previous seasons, three of the tombstones, which I have studied from various aspects, so I got to know this material tombstones size and measurements and then read it shows the type of font used and the details of the written text, then an analytical study of the texts to clarify importance and the subject matter and what information related to with this text.
For the city of Aswan is one of the greatest cities in Egypt, was known in ancient Egyptian texts as Swnw in Coptic "Swan" and then added to the character (a) initially changed to "Aswan" in Arabic Language, after complete the Islamic conquest of Egypt migrated many of them Arab tribes, also kept us Aswan cemetery with a large number of tombs and tombstones dating from the second century AH / eighth century AD until the Mamluk era.
As for the Elephantine Island, it is archaeological island located in the face of Aswan city, it is the oldest remains of the residential communities, the importance of the island it was supervised trade center on trade with South, and a relatively small area of the city so that they can include excavations city in all its parts, with its small size was of great importance as the southern border point of Pharaonic Egypt, the ancient city of Elephantine is located on the island is high and this, which her side the risk of rising water table, among the most important discoveries of the mission some of the tombstones, which will be talking about in this search.
As for the three tombstones that will be talked about it are as follows :
The First Tomb stone : dating back to the year 301 H / 913 AD (during the period of the governors by the Abbasid caliphs) "for the second time", and measurements is length 37.5 cm x width 26 cm, and the font type is Kufi, and text consists of six lines.
Second tombstone : dating back to the year 322 H / 934 AD (beginning of Ekhshished period), and measurements is length 52 cm x width 29 cm, and the font type is Kufi , and text consists of ten lines.
Third tombstone : dating back to the year 1312 H / 1894 AD (reign of Kedevi Abass Helmi the second) and measurements is length 23 cm x width 36 cm, and the font type is Naskh, and text consists of four lines.
It is clear to us that the study of tombstones in Aswan and in Elephantine very important for several reasons as follows :
clarification the social construction of Aswan in the Middle Ages, where the tombstones included the name of the deceased, the tribe to which he belongs, and the year he died.
proved the stability of the Arab tribes in Aswan and Nubia since the first centuries and in large numbers and who migrated from the Arabian Peninsula, yet still people in the villages of Aswan proud of their origin to the Arab tribes.
proved tombstones that Shi’ism was not widespread in Aswan evidence and only one Tombstone for a woman convert to Shi’ism.
to write the name of the deceased affiliate to his tribe does not stop at the end of the 2nd century AH / 8 AD, it extends until the 5th century AH / 11 AD.
some tombstones dating back to the early Islamic period carrying owners Muslim Arab names end with the word Nubian.
immigrants who lived in Aswan in the late Middle Ages, and were originally from the Muslims of Andalusia who left to emigrate to Egypt, And then to Upper Egypt in general and Aswan and villages in particular.

Mohamed Nasr Abdelrahman, Cairo, Egypt
Marriage and Divorce Contracts from the Mamluk Jerusalem of al-Ḥaram ash-Sharīf Documents

Documents of al-Ḥaram ash-Sharīf is considered one of the most important sources history of Jerusalem in the Mamluk era, due to the lack of other sources which chronicled this city during this period, on the one hand. And because the documents of Jerusalem during this era are few, on the other hand. In addition, it is the first of documents concerning the affairs of the city’s population of Muslims, in particular Jews and Christians in general. So, it gives us very important historical information about this city during this period.
Of the most important of these documents, those that dealt with the situation of dhimmis in Jerusalem during the Mamluk era. It is well known that the Jews and Christians participated Muslims their lives in Jerusalem, both in customs and traditions, or in their contribution to social activity.
In marriage and divorce contracts recently published, We find a Muslim man married a Christian woman, then divorced when she asked him to do so. Marriage and divorces documents among the Muslims and Christians, seem to be very rare. Therefore, these two contract are very important, in order to know the nature of the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem during the Mamluk era, on the one hand, and society’s attitude of such relationships on the other hand.
In al-Ḥaram ash-Sharīf Document No. 302, recto and verso, presents us two marriage and divorce documents. The documents are drawn up in accordance with the usual Muslim law and procedure, are dated in the Muslim era, and are witnessed entirely bsy Muslims. The recto having a woman seek to divorce from her husband and paid back a compensation to the husband, This is known in Islam as Al-Khul’. Thus from several points of view these documents are different enough from other known marriage contracts to deserve our special attention.

Ahmad Al-Jallad, Leiden University, The Netherlands
The Phonetic Origins of Arabic Orthography

The abundant Arabic material in Greek transcription from the epigraphy and papyri of the Late Antique Near East provides us with a unique vista from which to view the phonology of Old Arabic. In many ways, these transcriptions agree with Arabic orthographic conventions against the received pronunciations from the Islamic period. Given that it is highly unlikely that Greek scribes were calquing the Arabic script or its Nabataean predecessor, these similarities likely point to an earlier stage of Arabic phonology which more closely resembled the frozen spellings from the Islamic era. This talk will discuss four features : the shape of the definite article, the alif-maqsura, the hamzat al-wasl, and the realization of ḍad. We will focus on data from the Greek epigraphy of the southern Levant (e.g. IGLS, the Princeton Archaeology Expedition to Syria, etc.), the papyri from Petra, and Nessana. Our results suggest that many Arabic orthographic conventions were based on the dialect of Arabic spoken in Syria in the pre-Islamic period rather than the dialect upon which Classical Arabic was based.

Munther al-Sabbagh, University of California, USA

As a medieval commercial term, *suhba*, has been extensively studied within the realm of geniza studies. S.D. Goitein’s critical analysis of this term opened the door to his notion of ’informal friendship’ as the key social capital that drove business relationships forward. Above all, business in the medieval Near East was founded and maintained on individual ties. While the multiple underlying meanings of the term suhba have been revisited by geniza scholars, untangle how merchants used this business code to refer to varying aspects of their relationships, similar research of this term’s deployment Arabic papyrii collections has not taken place, although its appearance has been noted in the Quseir documents, among other places. In this paper, I will evaluate the taxonomy of this term in the published Arabic papyri, evaluating the range of its underlying meanings within the context of the framework developed in geniza studies. The objective of this comparative analysis is to broaden our understanding of how suhba was applied - in its different contexts as they relate to Arabic papyri - and to evaluate whether there are visible differences between its use among the geniza traders and those of the Arabic papyri.

Hazem Hussein Abbas Ali, Beni-Suef, Egypt
Words and Phrases of Arabic Papyri : Are they Systematic ?

Casual observations on Arabic documents, especially Arabic papyri, give false interpretations of the wording of documents as if they were written with no governed conventions. However, research shows that every type of Arabic documents deploy certain words and phrases relevant to their content. The words and phrases of the initial protocol of marriage documents, for example, are quite different from those used in Waqf documents. Similarly, the wording of final protocols varies significantly by different contents. In this respect, this paper investigates the rules that govern the writing of the names of people, letters and numbers, and dates. The paper also examines the procedures that should be followed when the documents have mistakes whether in spelling, repeated or missing words.
The research Shows how to write Arabic legal documents, and that there were rules for writing and choice of its words and sentences. And the existence of science concerned with formulas and phrases to be written in Arabic documents named Al shurot, in addition to shows that every type of Arabic documents deploy certain words and phrases relevant to their content.

Lajos Berkes, Heidelberg, Germany
The Archive of the Fayum Pagarchy in the 8th century

From 8th century Fayum, a significant number of Greek accounts and writing exercises from an official context survive. These documents sometimes also contain Coptic or Arabic parts. The texts are mainly fiscal registers, often listing villages all over the Fayum and references to the pagarchs occur as well. This strongly suggests that these writing exercises stem from the office of the Arsinoite pagarchy, the administrative district which covered the Fayum. This paper aims at giving an overview of this archive. Several collections contain (mostly unpublished) papyri from this office. It will be discussed which of these collections hold the most substantial parts of the archive and if and how the acquisition history of these documents may be reconstructed. Also, the question will be raised if other document clusters from the 8th century Fayum are connected with this archive. As products of professional clerks of the early Islamic administration, these exercises shed light on scribal training and practice in 8th century Egypt as well. It is especially interesting that several exercises contain verses of the Psalms ; this proves that the scribes of the archive were most likely almost exclusively Christians even in the late 8th century. Furthermore special emphasis will be laid on the relationship of languages in these documents. Several bilingual documents and writing exercises are preserved which may give clues about the linguistic situation in the office. Some texts may even suggest that at a certain period very well trained scribes capable of writing in three languages (Greek, Coptic, Arabic) may have been at work. It is also noteworthy that our latest datable Greek papyri seem to stem from this archive, thus these texts are among our most important sources concerning the slow death of Greek as an administrative language in Egypt. Finally, the paper will deal with a Greek account to present a concrete example of the manifold problems related to this archive. Based on a reconsidered reading, SPP X 74 – an account from this archive – can be confidently dated to 780 ; this new reading makes the document the second attestation of the use of Arabic months in Greek documents parallel to the traditional Egyptian calendar. The paper will end with the discussion of the implications of this reading for the Arabisation of the 8th century Egyptian administration.

Hartmut Bobzin, Erlangen, Germany
The Qurʾān and Semitic Studies

Opening lecture

Ursula Bsees, Vienna, Austria
Early Evidence for the Second Source of Islam : A Preliminary Study of Four Ḥadīth Papyri from the Austrian National Library

Among the work that has been done on Arabic papyri, the study of literary papyri in general has been neglected since Nabia Abbott’s groundbreaking “Literary papyri.”1 Most scholars’ interest obviously lies with the documentary sources, which can be easily explained by the aspiration to fill the huge blank spaces in our knowledge of administration and society in the first three centuries after the hijra.
Nevertheless, literary sources must be given the importance they deserve, especially as sources for insights on education and maybe even literacy, let alone the circulation area of certain works of science, prose and poetry.
An enormously important kind of literary texts are the ḥadīth texts on papyrus, on which even less study has been carried out than on literary papyri in a broader sense. Since the traditions of the prophet Muḥammad represent the second source of Islamic religion after the Qurʾān and their authenticity has been subject to countless and endless discussions amongst scholars, it is especially impressive to find ḥadīth texts whose date of composition is naturally confined to a particular span of time due to the writing material papyrus.
Furthermore, the texts can tell us about the passages which circulated most widely among the population for reasons most likely connected to their content concerning topics like maybe the prayer, the fast or family matters.
Another interesting aspect lies in possible new versions of the text that the ḥadīth papyri could feature. They could bear witness on hitherto unknown variations of the text that speak of a different line of tradition than those commonly known to science today.
In my talk, I would like to present four ḥadīth papyri from the Austrian National Library Papyrus Collection whose edition I am currently undertaking. The task of identifying them was facilitated by the fact that the isnād is preserved on two of them.
Apart from trying to ascertain to which corpus they belong (one is quite definitely from Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī), I will try to find out if they have been part of a codex or used as individual sheets.
I will then treat the texts‘ “setting in life” by asking how exactly they have been used – as part of a codex of a scholar, as part of notes of a student or as a religious reference work for someone from the country’s educational elite ?

Peter T. Daniels, New York, USA
Aramaic Documents from Achaemenid Bactria : Connections to the West – and the East and the Future

In 2012, Aramaic Documents from Ancient Bactria in the Khalili Collection were published by the late Joseph Naveh and Shaul Shaked. These comprise 30 items on leather – many excellently preserved – and 18 wooden tally sticks, all inscribed with ink. They date to the middle of the 4th century bce, spanning the end of the Achaemenid empire and the rule of Alexander. Their provenance is unknown ; the editors believe they came from Balkh, Afghanistan = ancient Bactra, the capital of the satrapy of Bactria – near the farthest eastern extremity of the Empire. What is most striking about the assemblage is their uncanny resemblance to the documents known since the 1950s as the “Driver letters,” a sheaf of correspondence, also on leather, also in Aramaic, discovered presumably somewhere in Egypt, from Arsames, the satrap of Babylonia, of the late 5th century bce (just under a century earlier than the Bactrian material). The grammar is almost identical, and the script is so similar that the eminent epigrapher Naveh has nothing to say about it.
It is this very identicalness that is of especial interest in the context of the papyrology of the ancient world. These documents show for the first time that there was a uniformity in the diplomatics of chancery practice throughout the empire – not just in the west where Aramaic was in general use – that presages the striking uniformity in orthographic practice among the scribes of the variety of Iranian languages that gradually succeeded Aramaic in writings and inscriptions in Sassanian and Parthian times : there was precedent for what must have been a very close-knit intellectual community across West and Central Asia.
But even more interesting, these documents take us nearly to the exact time and place of the invention of the Kharoṣṭhi script of northwest India – of Gandhara – so that the dearth of epigraphic Aramaic script that might have modeled for the pandits who first wrote an Indic language is made up for by proof that paleographic Aramaic was available. At present we have no Kharoṣṭhi manuscripts dating as early as the Bactria documents, but the demonstrated unity makes it licit to accept that the contemporary epigraphic forms of Aramaic script known from the west can be taken as the models for the earliest known Kharoṣṭhi inscriptions. This was posited by Georg Bühler at the end of the 19th century, but has hitherto always had to be considered no more than a plausible suggestion.

Maher A. Eissa , Fayoum University, Egypt & Anne Boud’hors, CNRS, France
The Coptic Papyri in the Egyptian Library and Archives

The Egyptian Library and Archives (Dar el-Kûtub) in Cairo keeps one of the most important collections of Arabic papyri, and it also contains Greek and Coptic papyri. An Egyptian team has been studying and publishing the Arabic and Greek collections for a few years. In 2013, this team asked Maher Eissa to join them because they had discovered a few Coptic papyri. After doing some research in the entire collection, M. Eissa found out that the Egyptian Library and Archives actually contains a big quantity of Coptic papyri. There are literary, documentary and even magical papyri. Although most of them are fragmentary, there are some complete pieces.
This paper will try to give an overview of the entire Coptic collection, to classify it and to focus on the important pieces. Furthermore, we will try to establish connections between the Coptic papyri and the Greek and Arabic ones.
I did found more than 100 Coptic Papyri in Dar El-Kutub. So Prof. Dr. Anne Boud’hors and me will study and publish this collection. In our paper we will give all details about the Coptic Collection in Dar El-Kutub, and its relation with the Arabic collection. The main purpose of our presentation ; to pay more attention for the Coptic Collection and how to understand the Egyptian society in the first centuries of Egypt after the Arabic conquest from different sources such Arabic, Greek and Coptic papyri.
So, we will give an overview of the entire Coptic Collection : the contents of the Collection, classify these contents and publish some important piece. The paper will try to establish connections between the Coptic texts and the Greek or Arabic texts, especially the bilingual papyri.

AbdulSalam Eleasely, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tools and Techniques for the documentary Evidence of Early Arabic Paper Manuscripts : Discovered complementary Proofs under the written Arabic Scripts

This research is seeking for the integration of applications of tools and techniques for authenticity and documentation of Arabic paper manuscripts, including Turkish and Persian ones, which are written in Arabic alphabets, from the codicological point of view. We are taking advantage of scientific methodology that could fully reveal not only the surface details of paper, but also all of the manuscript’s components. This includes the surface morphology, such as ; finishing, lining (Fig : 3), mold marking (laid and chain lines"Fig ; 1 and2"), inks types, and watermark (Fig : 1, 2). We were also able to measure the thickness of the script under magnification and relate it to a specific type of handwriting type (Fig : 5). We could also investigate the red ink and reveal the original one from the faked one and discover the correct date of the manuscript(Fig : 4).
There is more information when we investigate the complementary signs of paper mold and watermarks all over the pages of the paper manuscripts including the paper size and comparing one to each other.
All of gathered information on the microstructure and macrostructure scale is matched and integrated together to let us authenticate and date the paper manuscript as accurate as possible. This research applies these integrated tools and techniques on more than 500 Arabic paper manuscripts among the 9200 of paper manuscripts collection of our university.

Alia Hanafi, Cairo, Egypt
Treatment of Conjunctivitis in the Light of P. Grenf. I 52, P. Princ. III 155 and Arabic Manuscripts

Islamic Arab physicians were outstanding in medicine. Medicine was transferred from ancient Greek physicians and other resources to Islamic Arabic physicians, who, then, developed it and added to it lot of experiences till it outweighs the Greek medicine in some of its branches.
The Islamic Arab physicians registered their experiences in scientific books such as Sina’s AL-Canon Fit-Tibb (Avicenna’s Liber Canonis) that had been taught in Europe in the Middle Ages after being translated from Arabic into Latin.
Among the most famous branches of medicine that the Islamic Arab physicians excelled is ophthalmology and eye diseases treatment. Ointments were one of treatment types that appeared in the ancient Arabic manuscripts such as Hunein bin Ishaq’ Kitab Al Ashr Maqalat fi al-Ain (Ten Tractates in the eye). The ointments were composed of different ingredients. These ingredients were derived from the works of ancient Greek physicians such as Galen.
In Egypt, written eye ointment Greek prescriptions were discovered on papyrus. Papyrus contained Greek recipes for ointments to treat conjunctivitis in adults such as the αχαριστον ointment in P. Grenf. I 52 and for children such as Παιδικον ευχαριστον ointment in P. Princ. III 155.

Shamsiddin S. Kamoliddin, Tashkent, Usbekistan
Medallion of Mansur Ibn Nuh : Historical Interpretation

In the numismatic collection of the Ashmolean museum in Oxford is stored a silver medallion issued in 358/968-69 in Bukhara by the Sāmānid amīr Mansūr ibn Nūh (350 – 365/961 – 976). On its Av is represented the portrait of the governor to the right with two Middle Persian (Pahlavi) inscriptions in front and behind head. In the field of the Rv is resulted ‘Arabian inscription in 6 lines, and in a circular Arabic legend the issued data is cited.
The portrait of a governor is interesting, because it finds out similarity not with Īrānian, but with Turkic tradition of the portrait art. Iconography of the portrait has close similarity with portraits of the Turkic governors of Tukhāristān, Kābul and Gandhara of the VII – VIII centuries AD. But almost full similarity with the medallion of Mansūr ibn Nūh are find out two memorable medallions issued by the Turkic Qaghans in the first quarter of the VII century AD. One of them has been issued by the Turkic Qaghan Zīk or Zhīk (ruled in 610 – 618 AD) after a victory over the Sāsānids in 616 – 617 AD when his army has advanced deeply to the territory of Īrān and has reached Rey and Isfahān. The second medallion has been issued circa 625 AD in Qunduz by Tardū-Shād, the son of the Turkic qaghan Tūn Yabghū and the founder of the dynasty of the Turkic Yabghū of Tukhāristān and Gandhara on the occasion of a victory over the Hephtalites and joinings of their territories to the Turkic Qaghanate. Possibly, Av of these two medallions served as a prototype for Av of the medallion of Mansūr ibn Nūh.
In the light of these data I think that pre-Islāmic ancestors of the Sāmānids belonged to the dynasty of the Turkic Yabghū of Tukhāristān which founder was Tardū-Shād, the son of the Turkic qaghan Tūn Yabghū. Issue in 358/968-69 by Mansūr ibn Nūh of a medallion with a portrait of one of the Sāmānids ancestors with a title Shāhān-Shāh could be caused by actions of the Buwayhids which, having accepted a title Shāhān-Shāh, declared themselves as descendants of the Sāsānids. As an occasion for this purpose served issue in 351/962 in al-Muhammadiyya of the medallion by the Buwayhid governor Rukn al-Dawla al-Hasan ibn Buwayh.
It might be supposed that the medallion of Mansūr ibn Nūh has been issued in connection with any significant event. Issue of this medallion meant increase in territory of the Sāmānids when the founder of the Sāmānids dynasty Ismā‘īl ibn Ahmad has increased his possessions after having won the army of ‘Amr ibn al-Layth and has attached to his territory the lands of the Saffārids. In this case, on the medallion of Mansūr ibn Nūh could be represented Ismā‘īl ibn Ahmad, the great-grandson of Sāmān-Khudāt who keeping a memory of his ancestors, considered himself as a descendant of the dynasty of the Turkic Yabghū of Tukhāristān and of the Supreme Turkic Qaghans. Thereby the Sāmānids wished to show that their ancestors were not less notable, than ancestors of the Buwayhids, who considered themselves as descendants of the Sāsānids.

Manfred Krebernik, Universität Jena, Germany
The Genesis and Early History of the Alphabet - New Perspectives and Problems

The invention of the alphabet is certainly one of the major cultural achievements associated with Semitic peoples and languages. During the last decades, earlier hypotheses about its Egyptian background could be substantiated, mainly by new epigraphic finds. Nevertheless, the creation and early history of the alphabet as well as its diversification and spread among Semitic and non-Semitic peoples and cultures still pose many questions. Which was the mental concept behind this purely consonantal script ? How was it used and taught ? When and where originated the order of the letters and their names ? When, why and how did the alphabet split into a Southern and a Northern branch ? What is the place of the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet within the early history of the alphabet ? Can mutual influences between the alphabet and other writings systems (particularly the Mesopotamian cuneiform script) to be observed ? When, where and how was the alphabet adapted to the Greek and other non-Semitic languages ? My contribution will try to give an illustrated survey of the early history of the alphabet and the theories and problems connected with it. Hopefully, it will stimulate further discussion on this fascinating topic.

Saied Maghawry Mohammed, Cairo, Egypt
الارقام والرموز فى نصوص البرديات العربيه

تعتبر وثائق البرديات العربيه من ابرز الوثائق التاريخيه التى تكشف عن معلومات بالغة الاهمية عن الارقام والرموز التى وردت ضمن نصوص العديد من الوثائق بشتى موضوعاتها مثل ( رسائل ديوانيه , عقود بشتى انواعها من زواج وبيع وشراء وعقود عمل وصفقات تجاريه ورسائل شخصيه وقوائم وكشوف العمال والصناع والحرفيين , هذا بالاضافه لايصالات الجزيه والخراج , ومنها ايضا كشوف التجار والحسابات الماليه سواء فى الدواوين اوحسابات الاسواق ......... وغيرها ) .
فقد لوحظ وجود العديد من الرموز ( ربما كنت اختصارات لعبارات وكلمات معينة ) اتفق على تنفيذها ضمن كشوف ورسائل البرديات العربيه , وهى عباره عن شارات وعلامات وربما اشكال هندسية , بعضها يرمز لاجزاء من الدنانير مثل رمز (>) الذى يشير الى نصف الدينار , ورمز ( o ,e ) ربما يشير الى قيمة الدينار , ورمز ( l ) ؤبما يشير الى قيمة ثلث الدينار , ورمز ( ر) ربما يشير الى قيمة ربع دينار , فقد وردت هذه الرموز فى العديد من نصوص البرديات العربية , احداها محفوظ فى دار الكتب المصريه بالقاهرة , موضوعها كشف خاص بواضعى اليد على قطع من الاراضى) برقم سجل ( 242 ) تنسب للقرن 3 هـ /9 م .
ايضا هناك رموز اخرى عديدة منها رمز ( X ) وهى ربما تشير الى
قيام المراجعين للامور الحسابيه بعملهم فى الديوان ولقد ورد هذا الرمز ضمن نصوص برديه عربية موضوعها ( كشوف العمال او الحرفيين ) محفوظه فى دار الكتب المصريه بالقاهرة – كما ورد ايضا فى برديه اخرى موضوعها ( كشف خاص بمزارعين يدفعون ضريبة الارض ) – محفوظه برقم سجل (191) تنسب للقرن 3هــ/9م بدار الكتب المصرية بالقاهرة, كما وردت رموز اخرى عديده منها رموز ( // , φ , Δ S,, / ,// ,ħ , θ ,/////// , /////// , وغيرها ) جميع هذه الرموز وغيرها وردت ضمن العديد من كشوف وقوائم الحسابات الماليه ربما الصادره عن بيت المال, وهى ربما كانت كشوف حسابيه تتعلق بالجزيه والخراج ,و ربما كانت كشوف خاصة بالحسابات الختاميه لبعض التجار والصناع والحرفيين.
ايضا لوحظ وجود كلمة ( تم تم تم ) ضمن ختام نصوص عدد من عقود الزواج احداها محفوظ فى دار الكتب المصريه بالقاهرة برقم سجل ( 30) ينسب للقرن 3هـ /9م.
وبالاضافة لهذه الرموز التى ربما كانت لها دلالات حسابيه ربما تتعلق بالمراجعه والتدقيق المالى , وذلك قبل ايداعها ( بيت المال فى دواوين الدولة ) فقد لوحظ وجود عدد من الارقام الحسابية فى بعض الكشوف المالية وهى تعتبر المرة الاولى التى يرد الرقم الحسابى ( مكتوب حسابيا بالارقام ) فقد ورد ذلك فى برديه عربية محفوظة فى احدى المجموعات العالمية ورد بها الرقم الحسابى ( 260 ) وربما كان هذا الرقم يشير الى العام الذى كتبت فيه هذه البرديه .
وكما هو معلوم فان الارقام الحسابية التى كانت تدون عادة فى البرديات العربية كانت تكتب بحروف عربية مثل ( مائه وخمسون ,مائه وعشرون ........ وغيرها ) مثلما ورد على سبيل المثال فى البرديه رقم ( 170) والؤرخه بعام 150 هـ والمحفوظة فى دار الكتب المصريه بالقاهرة حيث ورد فيها الرقم الحسابى هكذا ( سنه تسعن وخمسين ومائه ) , ايضا ورده رمز كتابى نادر منفذ على ايصال مالى كتب على قطعه من ورق البردى محفوظه فى مجموعة ( شوت – راينهارت ) بمعهد البرديات – جامعة هايدلبرج بالمانيا برقم سجل (P.S.R.ARAB.NO,1906) تنسب لمدينة الفيوم مؤرخه بالقرن 3 هـ / 9م حيث ورد بها رمزين لتوقعين نادرين .
وبالاضافة لذلك فقدعثر على شكل ( نجمة داود ) السداسيه الخاصة باليهود ضمن نصوص برديه عربيه تضمنت عبارة (لا اله الا الله وحده ) وهى محفوظة فى مجموعة الارشيدوق راينر بالمكتبة الوطنية النمساويه بفينا برقم سجل ( PER.AR.10016 ) وسوف اتناول بالتفصيل ذكر هذه الرموز والارقام الحسابية ضمن البحث لاحقا .

W. Matt Malczycki, Auburn, USA
Using Papyri to Determine The Purchasing Power of a Dinar in Early Islamic Egypt

Early Muslim historians often mention dinars when they talk about the revenues of provinces, the value of booty taken in raids, or the gifts emirs lavished on favored poets and concubines. The amounts reported are usually in the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of dinars. In the papyrological record, too, dinars appear frequently both as a currency and as units of account. The papyrological record, however, describes a much more modest economy than the one that the literary sources depict. Whereas the literary sources name caliphs who spent in the millions of dinars, the papyri refer to farmers and merchants who counted their wealth in single dinars and fractions of dinars.
Statements to the effect that a dinar could pay the annual rent on a feddan of land or the annual lease on an urban shop are common among Arabic papyrologists. Close examination of footnotes and bibliographies shows that the source of most of these statements is page 44 of Adolf Grohmann’s From the World of Arabic Papyri (Cairo : al-Maaref, 1952). Since Grohmann’s day, however, hundreds of additional papyri have been published. These documents do not contradict Grohmann, but they do provide additional information that allows contemporary researchers to develop a more complete picture of economic life in early Islamic Egypt.
This paper draws data and examples from approximately one hundred published Arabic papyri. It begins with an analysis of wages and then looks at the costs of foodstuffs, clothing, arable land, and housing. It also includes examples that pertain to livestock and agricultural machinery (e.g. water mills and olive presses). The result is a more accurate view of the economic life of rural Egypt’s middle and poorer classes in the second and third Islamic centuries.

Mohamed Mohamed Morsy, Helwan University Cairo, Egypt
Two Unpublished Arabic Papyruses from the dār al-kutub al-miṣrīya

There are multiple subjects undertaken in the researched papyruses. For example : trade contracts, receipts of land taxes and condolence dedicated to some individuals for their loss or replies for received condolence letters. This paper deals with two unpublished papyruses, contains a scripted condolence letter in recto, But were different in verso.
The 1st papyrus :
Recto : includes a condolence letter addressing a death of an individual. It consists of 11 lines written by black ink, found in the city of Edfu near Aswan. It is preserved in the library of Egyptian books [Dar al-Kotob Al-masreya] under the number 3922 recto.
Verso : includes a trade contract dating to Shawwal 268H, contains 4 lines written in black ink. It is preserved in the library of Egyptian books [Dar Al-Kotob Al-masreya] under the number 3922 verso.
The 2nd papyrus
Recto : includes a reply on a condolence letter from a certain individual including 17 lines written by black ink, found in the city of Edfu near Aswan or Fustat, preserved in the library of Egyptian books [Dar Al-Kotob Al-masreya] under a number 3923 recto.
Verso : includes a land tax receipt consisting of 23 lines dating to Shawwal 268 H, preserved in The library of Egyptian books [Dar Al-Kotob Al-masreya] under a number 3924 verso.
This paper shall present the papyruses as following :
Reading the content of both papyruses.
Analyzing their contents.
Dating scripts in recto of the two papyruses with comparing the calligraphy with the verso scripted of both of them, making the original date of the papyrus.
Discussion reused papyrus usage through the Islamic period basing on both papyruses.

Ahmed Nabil, Sadat City, Egypt
Fāṭimid Letter of Designation Related to Alexandria

The paper P.Utah. Inv. 834, belongs to ‘Aziz S. Atiya collection, J. W. Marriott library of Utah University and dated to 29th of Jumada II 376 A.H.\5th of November 986 A.D (reign of the Fāṭimid Caliph al ‘Azīz bil-llāh), contains a letter written in 26 lines on recto and verso, in which the addresser is informing Abu al-Yumn Iṣṯafn ībn wazīr al- Kātib that he is designated by an order of the vizier (Ya‘qūb ībn Killis) for the assessment of the Kharāj of some administrative districts of Alexandria under the supervision of the governor of Alexandria and he continued giving him some instructions.
The special value of this document comes from the rareness of the documents related to the administration of Alexandria and its governors along the different periods of Islamic Egypt. It also confirms what is mentioned by al- Maqrīzī in his Khiṯaṯ about the annual official procedures which used to be carried out for assessing and collecting Kharāj Tax.

Craig Perry, Emory University, Atlanta, USA

This abstract proposes a lecture that analyzes the structure, legal formulae, and historical content of bills of sale for slaves from the Cairo Geniza. Bills of Sale are the most numerous type of document related to slavery found in the Geniza, yet they have thus far been underutilized as a source for the history of medieval Egyptian slavery. This lecture will also compare the structure and formulae used in Geniza bills of sale to bills of sale from collections of Arabic papyri, such as those published by Yūsuf Rāġib (2002).
Bills of sale drawn up in Jewish and Muslim courts bear many similarities in their purpose and organization. In addition to the identification of the vendor and vendee, slaves are identified with as much precision as possible by the inclusion of details including their personal names (ism), ethnicity or race (al-jins), and sometimes by additional descriptions of the slave’s physical appearance (such as tattoos or other distinguishing characteristics). These descriptions suggest how medieval slave owners understood and used terms and geographic designations such as muwalladah, sawdāʾ, and nubiyyah.
Bills of sale from the Geniza also contain Arabic clauses that have not been sufficiently defined, explained, or analyzed across the known corpus of these documents, nor in comparison to Arabic bills of sale drawn up in qāḍī courts. For example, a subset of bills of sale from the Geniza include clauses specifying custom taxes and broker’s commission that are considered part of the transaction. This lecture will suggest that the presence or absence of this language can be used to determine whether or not a slave was considered imported, or whether a slave was being resold locally. Analysis of this technical vocabulary will also suggest how the logistics of the slave trade worked as individual buyers sought to purchase slaves in local markets.

Daniel Potthast, LMU München, Germany
Parallel Transmissions of Documents : On the Value of the Inshāʾ-Literature for Arabic Papyrology

The history of the Arabic world in the Middle Ages can mostly be written based on the account of literary sources, contrary to Europe with its archival tradition. Though we possess a large number of quotations of original documents in chronicles, collections of example letters and inshāʾ-works that explain the arts of the kuttāb, we cannot be sure in our construction of the past regarding the reliability of our sources. The in Egypt found papyri are a valuable source for the history of the daily life and the economy, but documents concerning political history are missing. The single larger collection of documents issued by Arabic rulers is found in the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón. It mainly contains letters to the kings of Aragón written in the 14th century and a dozen treaties concluded with all Arabic powers of that time. Most of the documents are written in the Andalus and the Maghrib, regions in that almost no inshāʾ-literature was produced – the Rayḥānat al-kuttāb by Ibn al-Khaṭīb, the single exception, contains no documents addressed to non-Muslims. Only parallels to the Mamlūk documents in Barcelona – the archive includes seven letters, a list added to one of the letters, two treaties and one draft to one of the treaties – can be found in the literature. Most interesting is P.Aragon. 145, a pact of mutual assistance concluded 1293 between James II and al-Ashraf Khalīl. In ʿAbd aẓ-Ẓāhir’s biography of Qalāwūn an almost identical pact of 1290 is completely quoted. The 1293 renewal of this first contract is quoted by al-Qalqashandī. Using the original treaty in Barcelona, we can review the quality and methods of quoting in two different literary genres. Unfortunately, the editors of the Barcelona collection edited the text al-Qalqashandī’s version and some parts of the treaty they described are now lost. Though its fragmentary condition, a comparison produces some clear results : Both authors omitted parts of the formulae or simplified them – probably since the repetitive phrases were known by their readers – but copied the text apart from that relatively truthfully. Some clauses were omitted, but probably not until the manuscript transmission. Altogether, this unique parallel transmission alludes that literally transmitted documents are a reliable source, at least for the time of the Mamlūks. Since the formulae are reduced and literary transmitted documents do not describe their originals, a research on the praxis of the dīwān al-inshāʾ in contrast relies on the few documents preserved as originals.

Tonio Sebastian Richter, Leipzig, Germany
Coptic Magic in the Cairo Geniza

Although the vast textual corpus of the Cairo Geniza bears evidence of several languages and scripts, Coptic, the indigenous language of Egypt until the language shift of Christian Egyptians to Arabic, is barely attested. It seems as if Coptic occurs, if at all, in the field of magical writing only. A few edited and unedited magical texts from the Geniza give us glimpses of the occasional attempt to use Coptic spells, words and characters as a medium of magical protection and intervention. Different degrees of the command of the language and its writing system and the interference of Coptic with other, more familiar Geniza languages raise different scenarios as to who chose Coptic, and why. The announced paper shall provide an overview of Coptic and Coptisizing texts from the Genizah and the present state of research on them.

Ayman Aly Shahin, Bamberg, Germany

In my lecture I will present some of the Arabic letters, which have not been published so far, including three letters, one of which stem from the Egyptian National Library "P.Cair.EgLib.inv.400" on paper and two from the papyri Museum of the National Library in Vienna : P.Vind.inv. 1357 and 15116. These are business letters and show the relationship between business trading partners.

Abdulmalik Ahmad Essayed Shetewy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Sharḥ Ghunyat al-Kuttāb fī l-Khaṭṭ by Abī Baqr bin Shihāb ad-Dīn Aḥmad bin al-Himsīya : A verification Study

Early scholars got up to serve Arabic Language. They paid close attention to its different basics : its phonetics, syntax, grammar and lexicon. In spite of their interest in the language’s principals, they did not ignore registration of the rules of writing and calligraphy. Some of those scholars compiled independent classifications for this purpose whereas others specified just chapters of their classifications for the same purpose.
Among those scholars is the outstanding imam Taqi Addeen Abi-Baqr Bin Shihab Addeen Ahmad Bin Al-Himseia. He composed an argosh in this respect and then he explained it. He called this compilation "Sharh Ghuniat Al-Kuttab fee Al-Khatt".
This manuscript is a single copy in the library of Al-Imam University in Riyadh. It is located in eight boards. The author assumes in it that handwriting is one of two types. The first is the ’followed’ type and it is the font used in the Quran. The second is the ’invented’ type and it is what writers accepted, grammarians tried on and rhythm scholars drew. It is the type that the author explained and classified into eight divisions.
The manuscript will be verified in two sections. The first section includes two sub-sections. The first is entitled ’the life and findings of Abo-Baqr Bin Shihab Addeen Ahmad Bin Al-Himseia’. This sub-section deals with his definition, birth, senators, pupils, publications, scientific prestige and death. The second sub-section is called ’the study of the manuscript’. It handles the manuscript’s subject matter, its documentation, its sources, description of the verified copy, the researcher’s procedure and shots of the verified manuscript. The second section is specified to the verified text. The verification is terminated by technical indexes for the Quranic verses, Hadith, poetry, references, sources and topics.

Petra M. Sijpesteijn, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Networks of Dependency : Requests and Petitions on Papyrus

Amongst the numerous Arabic papyri preserved from the first three centuries of Muslim rule in Egypt are many letters asking for help from the very concrete such as requests for material support or demands to be released from prison to less well defined requests for help in improving someone’s social position or helping in finding work. Using some exemplary published and unpublished Arabic papyrus letters this paper will examine the language and expressions used to support requests made of official and informal institutions and individuals in early Islamic Egypt. What arguments are being put forward and what expressions are used to formulate them ? What kind of social system of dependency do these linguistic expressions reflect ? By comparing the letters, the language and arguments used in them with examples from other periods and in other languages particularities of the early Arabic material will be examined.

Peter Stein, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany
Writing Semitic on wooden sticks : The manuscript tradition of pre-Islamic South Arabia

The manuscript tradition of Ancient South Arabia is quite unique in the Ancient world. In contrast to other Ancient Near Eastern societies, the Sabaeans and their neighbours used pieces of wood to write down their everyday correspondence. Wooden sticks, cut off from any kind of tree, form in fact the most easily prepared writing material one can imagine. Thousands of such sticks have come to light - most of them at one single place. They are inscribed with a particular cursive script that has been developed separately from the well-known lapidary script used for representative monumental inscriptions.Among these texts are, first of all, business accounts like contracts and settlements, as well as letters on business and private matters, but also oracular decisions and other records of religious practice. Numerous writing exercises testify for a developed curriculum in school education. As it seems, the extant hoard is the residue of a large public archive in the city of Nashshan, a local centre in the Wadi al-Jawf in northern Yemen, covering the entire history of that region from the early 1st millennium BC up to the 6th century AD. After their discovery in the 1970s, the sticks have been dispersed in several collections in the Yemen and abroad, one of them housed by the Bavarian State library in Munich and comprising about 400 texts. Though exploration of this manuscript tradition is still in its infancy, present research on this and other collections has already yielded rich and partly unexpected data about economic, social and religious life in pre-Islamic Arabia. It testifies for a well-established, particular manuscript tradition flourishing in the southern part of the Peninsula for more than 1500 years : contemporary to the cuneiform culture of the Neo-Assyrian empire as well as to the early Arabic tradition at the time of the Prophet of Islam.

Johannes Thomann, Zürich, Switzerland
Arabic Abjad Numerals : Origin, Usage and Form

Four systems of writing numbers in Arabic were used in classical times (1st/7th – 4th/10th centuries) : numbers expressed in plain words, Greek numerals, Indian numerals, and Abjad numerals. Each system had its home base : Plain words in any kind of discursive text, Greek numerals in administrative and business documents, Indian numerals in multiplications and divisions of big numbers, and Abjad numerals in astronomical tables and instruments. Use in other domains was possible, but rare. Only four papyri are known to contain Abjad numerals : a note of payment (CPR XXII 15), a tax list (P. Prag.Arab. Beilage II), a concordance of Greek numerals and Ajad numerals (P.Vind.Inv. A.P. 1255), and a concordance of Hebrew numerals and Abjad numerals (P.Vind.Inv. A.P. 1256).
The earliest manual that describes the use of the Arabic alphabet for writing numbers, called ḥisāb al-jumal (or jummal) is found in the Zīj of Ḥabash al-Ḥāsib (MS Istanbul Yeni Cami 784, 7th/13th century). In the tables of the same work, Abjad numerals are used almost exclusively, while calculation examples involving multiplication or division are carried out in Indian numerals.
The use of Abjad numerals among early Baghdadian astronomers is further corroborated by a few surviving astrolabes, which has been dated to the 3rd/9thcentury (King (2005), In Synchrony with the Heavens, ii : 412–413, and King (2012) in Suhayl 11 : 103–116). They all show Abjad numerals on their scales and numerical labels.
Most studies on Abjad numerals stress the fact that there exist two different encoding systems, one called eastern, and one called western. They assign different values to the letters Sīn, Ṣād and Shīn, and indicate a different order of the alphabet. The western Abjad order has been found in a ancient North Arabian stone inscription, a fact which became the ground for far-reaching assumptions concerning a sound shift of the sibilants in the Arabic language (MacDonald (1992) in Journal of Semitic Studies 37 : 155–166). Ibn an-Nadīm mentioned mnemotic names which correspond to it, but there seems to be no documentary evidence in classical times. It remains an open question in which domain of numerical usage the western system persisted.
This paper will provide a survey on the current state of research on Abjad numerals and add some new evidence of their usage. Further, it will present in some detail the development of their forms.

Ronny Vollandt, FU Berlin, Germany
The Non-Muslim Fragments from the Qubbat al-Khazna of the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus

On his visit to the Holy Land, Wilhelm II was shown the qubbat al-khazna, the Treasure Dome, of the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus and told of priceless manuscripts it contained. By diplomatic means the Kaiser negotiated with the Sublime Port that the dome should be opened and a German scholar be dispatched to sift through the material.
Bruno Violet was chosen for that purpose. He spent about a year in Damascus and separated from the large bulk of fragments all texts of a non-Muslim Muslim provenance. His selection, consisting mainly Jewish and Christian texts, was sent to Berlin in order to be photographed and supposedly got lost on the way back. They are kept today in two folders, Or. Sim. 5 and 6. The former contains a Syriac translation of Theodore of Mopsuestia’s commentary on Qoheleth (publ. by Strothmann, 1988). The latter was for a long time believed to be lost lost during the war, but luckily resurfaced again at the Staatsbibliothek a couple of years ago. It contains texts in fragments in various Semitic languages, Arabic (biblical and scientific texts), Syriac, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Hebrew, Samaritan (Bible), but also Coptic (Bible), Latin and Old French (a chanson de geste).
In my contribution I will present the history of the collection. In particular, I will focus on the Semitic fragments, including also Judaeo-Arabic texts and the famous Violet fragment, an Arabic translation of Psalm78:20-31, 51-61 in Greek letters. As a conclusion, I will compare the significance of this assembly of fragments, in face of similar collections, as the Cairo Genizah or the Qurra papyri.

Dieter Weber, FU Berlin, Germany
Reading History Anew : Pahlavi Documents from Early Islamic Times

In this lecture Pahlavi documents from early Islamic times and their impact on understanding history in the 7th and 8th centuries in parts of Iran will be discussed. They are written in a late Sasanian cursive form difficult to decipher, of so-called Book Pahlavi, the script known from the Zoroastrian scriptures.
There are two groups of documents, first the so-called “Pahlavi Archive” preserved mainly in Berlin and Berkeley, CA., covering the time from ca. 630 to 730 CE, and second newly found documents from Tabaristan from the first half of the 8th century CE.
The first group comprises documents giving informations on the economic life in villages and larger estates as well as private and official letters. The present author is, together with Prof. Gignoux (Paris), in charge of publishing this material ; both have edited a large number of those documents. This material is to be located in the districts south and southwest of Qom, and fortunately enough, a small number of place names mentioned in the documents can be identified or equated to modern names. Their dating could be verified since the identification of an important Zoroastrian, Yazdānpādār by name, at that time living west of modern Qom, with a Persian noble mentioned in the Ketāb-e tārikh-e Qom (Yazdānfādār). These texts reveal, e.g., three different kinds of taxes to be payed to the Arabic tax-collector.
The second group is significant for its juridic character and has already been published in parts by Prof. Gignoux (Paris). They comprise minutes of juridic sessions as well as longer discussions of juridic cases mostly in form of letters. These texts are particularly interesting for the history of Zoroastrian Law. In this case the documents have to be located in north-eastern Iran, viz. Tabaristan, as this name as well as others from that region are mentioned (though some village names are still difficult to interpret). The documents are dated in the post-Yazdegird era which is explicitly expressed by a certain formula common to the way of late Sasanian datings.
Both groups of documents give us informations of post-Sasanian life of the Zoroastrians in early Islamic times thus corroborating or changing the views we already know from Arabic sources.

Oded Zinger, Princeton University, USA
Patronage in the Legal Arena according to Geniza Letters

In the Jewish communities of medieval Egypt, the legal arena served a double function. From the perspective of the communal leadership, the legal arena was a forum for conflict resolution. From the perspective of litigants, the legal arena served as a venue through which conflicts could be publically pursued, wrongs could be addressed and rights protected. Traditionally, the study of Jewish communities has tended to adopt the perspective of the communal leadership and focus on the courts as the central arena for conflict resolution. However, examining the wider legal arena, i.e. not only the courts but also queries to jurisconsults and personal petitions to communal leaders, from the perspective of disputants as consumers of legal services promises to offer a view ʻfrom belowʼ of how communal institutions were experienced by ordinary Jews.
Central to the exploration of how the mechanisms of justice were experienced by their consumers is the question of how litigants navigated and maneuvered in the legal arena. This study examines several Judeo-Arabic geniza documents, both published and unpublished, that reveal how ties of patronage were prominent in securing a favorable outcome in cases involving marital strife. Recent studies of Mark Cohen and Marina Rustow have shown how geniza documents involving charity and communal politics are steeped in the language and logic of patron-client relationships that Roy Mottahedeh has famously explored in his landmark Loyalty and Leadership in Early Islamic Society. By locating the same language and logic in documents involving resolution of marital disputes, the study explores how patronage played an important role in clientsʼ ability to obtain favorable results in the legal arena. Furthermore, we see how resolution of marital disputes is connected in the sources to matters of charity and communal politics. In this way, this study shows how marital dispute resolution was deeply embedded within the broader social calculus of benefaction and obligation. This means that despite its general accessibility, the legal arena was hardly a ʻlevel playing fieldʼ for litigants. Finally, the rare glimpse offered by geniza documents to the ʻbehind the scenesʼ negotiations of domestic legal disputes allows us to make a contribution to the debate between David Powers and Lawrence Rosen on the role of legal doctrine versus social embedded-ness in legal conflicts in Islamic societies.

Voir en ligne : Program online