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A researcher Spanish has achieved identify papyri that contain fragments of novels lost Ancient Greece that have remained hidden under the sands of the desert and which have been preserved thanks to the special temperature and humidity conditions of Egypt.

The novel, as a narrative of prose fiction, was the last literary genre that was born in Greece . Enjoyed much success throughout the empire, in its various modalities, which include desd e very texts scholars in a record cultísimo until the compositions most popular not exempt from vulgarity.

“Although the manuscript tradition has allowed to know some titles, it is certain that the most novels lost . is Only is preserved five complete works : Quéreas and Callírroe of Caritón , the end of century I or early II.d.C.; is Efesíacas of Xenophon of Ephesus , probably, later to Caritón, first half of II d.C.; is Daphnis and Cloe de Longo Lesbos , the second half of the II d.C.; is Leucipa and Clitofonte Achilles Tacio , mid-II-d.C.; is Etiópicas or Teágenes and Cariclea of Heliodorus , of the III-IV d.C. There is also the Babiloníacas of Jamblico of the II century d. C., and other similar texts are also of fiction,” says Lopez in a statement issued by the university.

The researcher has located the text for a series of archaeological works in different cities of ancient Egypt , in the framework of the project Eroticorum graecorum fragmenta in papyris membranisve reperta (EGFPMR), funded by the Program LOGOS of Aid to Research in Classical Studies, of the BBVA Foundation, and sponsored by the Spanish Society of Classical Studies

This project will edit, translate and study the corpus updated , as well as reviewing the above materials in the light of new data and of a most advanced optical technologies. In particular, the researcher of the University of Alicante will analyse around 50 fragments of papyri, parchments and ostraca which are now preserved in the libraries of cities like Cairo, Geneva, Florence, Oxford, Berlin, Milan and Michigan.

Laws and women

One of the aspects that will be addressed during the study are the themes of realia , especially the references to certain legal situation that are presented in the novels and that, of the hand of the professor of Roman Law at the University of Valencia Carlos Sánchez-Moreno, will be compared with the sources, and historical documents, many of them preserved also in the papyri. “Among other documents there are sales, taxes, judgments, lawsuits that give faith of what was the society of the time”, detailed the specialist.

on the other hand, it is intended to e xplore the situation of women in the ancient world on issues such as marriage or dowry. “An important factor of these texts is the amount of interesting female characters involved in the plot fictional: queens, witches, magicians, corsair, slaves, or prostitutes that are willing to risk, and challenge the rules set ,” according to María Paz López.

The professor of Greek Philology of the UA has over 30 years of studying these fragments, in fact, already in his doctoral thesis of 1993 focused on these papyri novel Greek. Since then, there have been new texts of a genre that includes novels, historical, biographical, picaresque, gothic, science fiction, erotic.

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