ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 44 (2007) 211-217
Sofia Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, To the Origins of Greek
Stenography (P.Monts.Roca I). Orientalia Montserratensia 1.
Montserrat and Barcelona: Abadia de Montserrat and Consejo
Superior de Investigaciones Cientifias, 2006. 271 pages + 29 plates.
The book offers the first edition of a previously unknown long list of Greek
words. It is preserved in a miscellaneous papyrus codex, which dates from the
second half of the fourth century AD and is housed in the Abbey of Montserrat
in Spain (P.Monts.Roca inv. nos. 126-178, 292, 338). The list comprises 2,368
entries, mostly consisting of a single word. The codex also contains classical texts in Latin (Cicero's Catilinarians, Latin hexameters on Alcestis, and
a "Story about the Emperor Hadrian") as well as Christian liturgical texts in
Greek ("Anaphora of Barcelona and other prayers," etc.) and Latin (a hymn to
the Virgin Mary). The beginning of the codex probably contained one more
work, which is now lost. The word list is written on the last folios of the codex.
The variety of the works that make up the codex testifies to the multi-cultural
society of fourth-century Egypt. The papyrus is written in a cursive hand,
more common in documents than in literary papyri. Nevertheless, the script
is pleasant to the eye and in general easy to read.
The book under review is divided into seven chapters. The first offers a
detailed codicological description of the codex as well as some interesting
remarks concerning its palaeographical features. The editors conclude convincingly that a single hand wrote both the Greek and Latin texts of the codex.
Furthermore, they comment on the nearly non-existent evidence as to the
original owner of the codex. Unfortunately, he or she cannot be identified with
any known person, yet the hypothesis that it was an educated member of the
local clergy in Egypt with an interest in the classical past seems reasonable in
light of the works contained in the codex.
Chapter II offers a general introduction to the word list. Several aspects
of it are discussed, such as its structure, the arrangement of the words within
the list, the categories into which these words fall as well as the character and
purpose of the list. The most interesting remark is the strong resemblance of
our text to the Greek Stenographic Manual known as the KOcv-Tdptov, which
has come down to us mainly in the papyri published by H.J.M. Milne in his