Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



The 15th Arabic Papyrology Webclass: Papyrus Letters from Umayyad and Abbasid Egypt

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  • Letters provide an unrivaled insight into everyday life. This time, we will deal with a wet nurse on strike, an unlucky heir, the boycott of Christians, a fugitive peasant, orders given to a travelling junior business partner, etc.
  • We will read unpublished letters from the Vienna Collection.


  • This is an on-line webclass. A scan of the document to be discussed will be made accessible in advance.
  • Communication will be in English.


  • Professor Andreas Kaplony, LMU München, Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies; co-director of the LMU Arabic Papyrology Research Group (


  • Monday, 6.00-8.00 pm (Central European Time); time might be changed, if all participants agree.
  • 8 May - 24 July 2017; no teaching on 5 June 2017.


  • A certificate of participation will be given if the student has at least attended ten meetings and if he or she has met the expectances as defined at the beginning of the semester.
  • The Arabic Papyrology Webclass forms part of the Webinar Initiative in Islamic Material Culture. We are currently working on a joint certificate.


  • MA and PhD students in Arabic and Islamic studies, scholars interested in Arabic documents, persons in charge of Arabic manuscript collections, etc.


  • 250 Euro or equivalent amount of working time. Fees are expected to be paid before the semester starts.
  • No fees for students of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at LMU München, Universität Bonn, Universität Hamburg, and the Bard Graduate Center New York. 

Technical issues

  • Students need a computer (download), internet access, and a headset. 
  • Technical problems showing up during the semester that prevent a student from attending the class are subject to his or her own responsibility; therefore, missed classes will not be substituted. However, if a technical event prevents all students from participating, the class will be substituted.
  • New participants will have a personal preparatory meeting, to adjust technical assets.

Further information and registration

  • Professor Andreas Kaplony (andreas.kaplony at Register until 10 April 2017.


  • Documentary Letters from the Middle East: The Evidence in Greek, Coptic, South Arabian, Pehlevi, and Arabic (1st–15th c CE), ed. Eva Mira Grob; Andreas Kaplony. Bern: Lang, 2008 (= Asiatische Studien, vol. 62,3 (2008).
  • Grob, Eva Mira. 2010. Documentary Arabic Private and Business Letters on Papyrus: Form and Function, Content and Context. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete, Beiheft 29. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Khan, Geoffrey. 1993. Bills, Letters and Deeds: Arabic Papyri of the 7th to 11th Centuries. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. 6. Oxford: Nour Foundation.
  • Reinfandt, Lucian. 2010. "Arabisches Briefwesen". In: Stimmen im Wüstensand: Briefkultur im griechisch-römischen Ägypten, ed. Claudia Kreuzsaler et al. Nilus 17. Vienna: Phoibos, 116-178.
  • Sijpesteijn, Petra M. 2013. Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official. Oxford Studies in Byzantium. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Younes, Khaled Mohamed. 2013. Joy and Sorrow in Early Muslim Egypt: Arabic Papyrus Letters. Text and Content. PhD thesis Leiden.

Further editions

  • Diem, Werner. 1991. Arabische Briefe auf Papyrus und Papier aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung. [Publikationen der] Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, Kommission für Papyrus-Editionen. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Diem, Werner. 1993. Arabische Briefe aus dem 7. bis 10. Jahrhundert. Corpus Papyrorum Raineri 16. 2 volumes Vienna: Hollinek.
  • Diem, Werner. 1997. Arabische Briefe des 7. bis 13. Jahrhunderts aus den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. Documenta Arabica Antiqua, vol. 4. Ägyptische Urkunden aus den Staatlichen Museen Berlin, Arabische Urkunden, vol. 2. 2 volumes Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Dietrich, Albert. 1955. Arabische Briefe aus der Papyrussammlung der Hamburger Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek. Veröffentlichungen aus der Hamburger Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, vol. 5 Hamburg: Augustin.
  • Khan, Geoffrey, 1992. Arabic Papyri: Selected Material from the Khalili Collection. Studies in the Khalili Collection, vol. 1. Oxford: Nour Foundation.
  • Rāġib, Yūsuf. 1982-1996. Marchands d'étoffes du Fayyoum au IIIe/ IXe siècle d'après leurs archives (actes et lettres). Suppléments aux Annales Islamologiques, Cahiers 2; 5; 14; 16. Publications de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, vol. 586; 631; 727; 768. 4 volumes Cairo: IFAO.

Earlier webclasses

  • 1: Letters from Quṣayr (Fall term 2007).
  • 2: Early Letters [from the Yale Collection] (Spring term 2008).
  • 3: Arabic Contracts of Renting and Buying Real Estate (Fall term 2008).
  • 4: Bilingual Greek and Arabic Documents, with Dr Raffaele Luiselli, Florence (Spring term 2009).
  • 5: Petitions to and Letters from Mamluk Officials (Fall term 2009).
  • 6: Authentification Procedures on Arabic Coins, Seals and Letters from Mamluk Officials, with Dr Lutz Ilisch, Tübingen (Spring term 2010).
  • 7: Documentary Evidence on Childhood (Fall term 2010).
  • 8: Lists, Registers, Accounts (Summer term 2011).
  • 9: Documents from al-Andalus (Winter term 2011/12).
  • 10: Documents from Edfu (Winter term 2012/13).
  • 11: Documents from the Berlin Collection (Winter term 2012/13).
  • 12: Documents on Rural Egypt (Summer term 2013).
  • 13: Petitions on Paper (Winter term 2014/15).
  • 14: Documents on Marriage and Divorce (Winter term 2015/16).