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ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 45 (2008) 225-239 Aphrodito Before Dioskoros Giovanni Ruffini Fairfield University Abstract Preliminary results from a forthcoming Aphrodito prosopography allow scholars to broaden their understanding of the history and social dynamics of that Byzantine village. Of particular interest are the families who achieved prominence in Aphrodito in the late fifth and early sixth centuries, before the rise of Dioskoros and his family. Close attention to their careers will enhance our understanding of Aphrodito as a village in motion, full of competition and social tension. The lack of an Aphrodito prosopography has long hindered studies of that Byzantine village. The one available resource, that of V.A. Girgis, lacks scientific rigor and suffers from obsolescence in light of the many Aphrodito papyri published since 1938. While modern Aphrodito prosopographies have been promised in the past, the grail has remained elusive. I have prepared a preliminary draft of biographical entries for all historical individuals attested in the published Aphrodito papyri, and hope to present that prosopography in full book form in the near future.' Since I have discussed the need for just such a prosopography with Jim Keenan, and since I would not have survived in the world of Aphrodito studies without the sure-footed guidance of his articles on the subject, I offer for his Festschrift these preliminary notes on some of this prosopography's initial discoveries. The most intriguing stories are of Aphrodito's older elite families. The family of Dioskoros the poet has dominated Aphroditan historiography, parI am grateful to Roger Bagnall, who has supported this project through postdoctoral research fellowships at both Columbia University and New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and has commented on an earlier draft of this article. I am also particularly grateful to Jean-Luc Fournet, who has been generous with both his time and the fruits of his labor. References to unpublished papyri are based on my inspection of his transcripts prepared for PRAphrod., a forthcoming volume of Aphrodito papyri. Likewise, the digital images I discuss are from his own Aphrodito database.
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