ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 44 (2007) 267-268
Edda Bresciani, Antonio Giammarusti, Rosario Pintaudi, and Flora
Silvano (eds.), MedinetMadi. Venti anni di esplorazione archeologica,
1984-2005. Pisa: University di Pisa, 2006. 345 pages.
Medinet Madi, ancient Narmouthis, was first explored by the University
of Milan in the 1930s and then again in the 1960s. The earlier excavations
yielded two spectacular finds: the hymns of Isidoros (see V.F. Vanderlip, The
Four Greek Hymns of lsidorus and the Cult of Isis) and the cache of DemoticGreek ostraca published as O.Narm. and O.Narm.dem. 1-3 (and counting).
Edda Bresciani, who had earlier produced preliminary reports on the 1960s
excavations, moved the project to the University of Pisa, which continues its
activity on the site, since 1995 in conjunction with the University of Messina.
In this volume, an overview of the results of the past twenty years is given. It
includes chapters on the various structures excavated: the Middle Kingdom
temple A with its Graeco-Roman expansions including temple B at its back;
temple C; the Graeco-Roman town to its south; and "Coptic" Narmuthis, limited to the churches identified in the town. The churches were explored before
the project moved to temple C and the rest of the town, which has not yet been
explored in its entirety - far from it.
The volume very helpfully reprints articles on the finds that have earlier
appeared in journals such as Egitto e Vicino Oriente and in hard-to-find congress volumes. These articles and the individual lists of finds complement the
chapters on the architecture.
The Middle Kingdom temple A, a rather small temple in antis, was built
by Amenemhat III and its decoration completed by Amenemhat IV. It was
dedicated to the cobra goddess Renenutet, who gave her name to the town
in the Graeco-Roman period. Antonio Giammarusti (pp. 9-21) gives nice reconstructions of the temple, while Bresciani (pp. 22-41) does the same for the
decoration. Both these chapters include key plans of the temple in the margin
with an indication of where the feature illustrated and discussed in the text is
located. Giammarusti (pp. 42-65) continues the discussion of the temple by
focusing on the Graeco-Roman expansions at the front and the back of the
temple (illustrated in the plan on p. 59), especially temple B at the back.
Bresciani, Giammarusti, Peter Grossmann and Carla Marchini (pp. 67 -83) go over the churches in the town, and Carlo La Torre (pp. 84-89) provides
illustrations of architectural details for two of them. The finds were reported
on earlier, by Flora Silvano (pp. 90-111) in her 1999 book on the glass (Vetri
bizantini dall'Egitto) and by Tito Orlandi (pp. 112-127) on the seventh/eighthcentury Coptic papyrus codex fragment with the Historia Horsiesi in EVO.