ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 249-250
Guglielmo Cavallo, La scrittura greca e latina dei papiri. Una introduzione. Studia Erudita 8. Pisa and Roma: Fabrizio Serra Editore,
2008. 206 pages. ISBN 978-88-6227-014-4.
This attractive little book is the expanded version of a chapter on palaeography Cavallo (herafter C.) wrote for the Oxford Handbook of Papyrology. It
is generously illustrated and can easily stand comparison with the survey of
Greek palaeography in the papyri in W Schubart, Griechische Paldographie
(Miinchen 1925; the reprint is still in print for 10 euro less than C's book).
Cs sepia tone illustrations all derive from the papyrus collections in Florence
(often taken from G. Cavallo, E. Crisci, G. Messeri and R. Pintaudi, eds., Scrivere libri e documenti nel mondo antico [Firenze 1998; reprinted], where more
illustrations can be found), and given the fact that no collection is comprehensive, for the Greek palaeography in the papyri (discussed by C. on 120 pages
including 113 illustrations) alternative illustrations from the Berlin collection
in Schubart (if possible in conjunction with his Papyri Graecae Berolinenses,
Bonn 1911; out of print) should always be consulted (Schubart's Griechische
Paldographie has 120 illustrations and refers to almost all of the almost 80 additional illustrations in his Papyri Graecae Berolinenses). As a bonus C. provides
a snappy overview of Latin palaeography in 48 pages (with 47 illustrations).
Unlike Schubart C. does not discuss the palaeography of ostraca, but on the
other hand he pays more attention to (and illustrates) that found in early parchment manuscripts.
Through his many publications C. has established himself as the leading
Greek palaeographer of our time. Well known for his early work on the "Biblical majuscule" he recently added the definitive work on Hellenistic bookhands
(co-authored with H. Maehler, who also collaborated with C. on the bookhands
of the early Byzantine period).' In the book under review he attempts to present bookhands (sometimes found in documents and remaining closer to the
normative letter forms taught in schools for over a millennium) and cursive
and semi-cursive scripts (mostly found in documents and distinguished from
bookhands by any number of ligatures) in tandem. Since the two types of
hands grew up together and over the course of the first millennium influenced
each other back and forth, although not always as intensively, it makes sense
1 G. Cavallo and H. Machler, Hellenistic Bookhands (Berlin and New York 2008).
This volume fortunately does not have any foldouts of the kind that makes the early
Byzantine volume (G. Cavallo and H. Maehler, Greek Bookhands of the Early Byzantine
Period [London 1987; out of print]) hard to use.