Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 48 (2011) 285-288
A. Magnani, Ilprocesso di Isidoro. Roma e Alessandria nelprimo secolo.
Monografie dell'Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici 57. Bologna: Il
Mulino, 2009. vii-xi + 283 pages. ISBN 978-88-15-13434-9.
This is the first monograph on the trial of Isidorus. The book is published
in a series of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici, which includes nine
monographs on the ancient world out of a total of sixty-two so far released.
The book articulates in thirteen chapters, plus introduction, conclusions and
index. It was released a little after A. Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence in Roman
Egypt: The Case of the Acta Alexandrinorum (Cambridge 2008), the subject
of which to some extent overlaps Magnani's work. It must be assumed that
Magnani could not acknowledge Harker's book.
Chapter one / part one, pp. 1-6, collects all the papyri that composed the
so-called dossier of Isidorus: W.Chr. 14, P.Brit.Lib. 2785, P.Berol. 8877, P.Cairo.
10488; the author lists for each text the available editions. The section concludes with an introduction to the literature of the Acta Isidori as introduced
by Musurillo. Chaper one / part two, pp. 6-30, discusses all the texts within a
bibliological and paleographical frame. POxy. 8.1089 and P Giss. 46 (the author
does not reckon the recent editions of this text, published as P Yale 2.107 and
PGiss.Lit. 47), not included in the list of part one, are commented here. The
chapter concludes with the images, transcription, translation and commentary
of all the texts.
Chapter two, "Acta Isidori. Considerazioni bibliologiche e filologiche" (pp.
31-40), chapter three, "Lo spazio letterario. Tra letteratura di consumo e libellistica" (pp. 41-48), and chapter four, "Il problema dell'autore" (pp. 49-58),
discuss the Acta Isidori from the starting point of the dating of the available
texts. The author privileges the literary side of the texts according to one of the
guidelines traced already by Musurillo and amplified in recent decade of cultural approach to ancient documents. According to the author, these texts are
private copies kept by individuals who wanted to keep the historical memory
of events of the past. It is the author's opinion that, although there must have
existed an original draft coming from the trial minutes, the texts are manipulated and must therefore be read as pieces of literature. The impossibility to
identify the author is even more aggravating.
Chapter five, "Equilibri politici e gruppi etnici nell'Egitto tardo-tolemaico
e protoromano" (pp. 59-78), starts a sequence of chapters aiming at providing a historical background to the papyri. The author navigates the relationship between the different ethnic groups in Alexandria, but fails to fulfill the
expectations announced in the title, since his overview stops at the second