Papers: Choat

27th International Congress of Papyrology (Warsaw, 29 July–3 August)

STICHOMETRY AND SCRIBAL PRACTICE
IN DOCUMENTARY TEXTS FROM ROMAN EGYPT

In Diocletian’s “Edict on Maximum Prices”, promulgated in 301, rates of pay were set out for scribal activity of the best, second quality, and documentary variety, in a sliding scale from 25 to 10 denarii per hundred lines. That sticho- metry was the basic unit of bibliometry in Antiquity has long been recognised, and the stichometric counts of poetic works (in particular Homer) and the New Testament and Septuagint have been closely scrutinized. As part of a wider research project at Macquarie University funded by the Australian Research Council (“Knowledge Transfer and Administrative Professionalism in a Pre-Typographic Society: Observing the Scribe at W ork in Roman and Early Islamic Egypt”) this paper investigates the manner in which texts were duplicated in a quotidian documentary context, asking in particular how a “line of text” was assessed in everyday situations, and to what degree the system envisaged in the Edict on Maximum prices formed the basis for the everyday textual economy of Roman Egypt.

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