Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



The 17th Arabic Papyrology Webclass: "I Just Arrived Safely from al-Ramla": Private and Business Letters (9th-10th Cent.)

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  • There are thousands of non-official papyrus letters preserved from 3rd-4th/9th-10th century Egypt. In this webinar, we will focus on their formal side, as e.g.: How do scribes use blessings to be polite (or rude)? How far do greetings mirror business and private networks? Why is the relatively uniform layout realized in as many and as divergent ways?
  • We will read unpublished documents and apply new ways to display their formal side best. And we will discuss recents scholarship.


  • This is an on-line webclass. Documents to be read and papers to be discussed will be made accessible in advance.
  • Communication will be in English.


  • Professor Andreas Kaplony, LMU Munich, Chair of Arabic and Islamic 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.
  • 20 April - 20 July 2020; no class on 1 June 2020.


  • A certificate of participation will be given if students have attended at least twelve meetings and if they have met the expectations as defined at the beginning of the semester.
  • The Arabic Papyrology Webclass forms part of the Webinar Initiative in Islamic Material Culture (


  • MA and PhD students in Arabic and in Near Eastern Studies; scholars interested in Arabic documents; persons in charge of Arabic manuscript collections, etc.


  • 250 Euro or an 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 Munich, Universität Bonn, Universität Hamburg, and New York University.

Technical issues

  • Students need a computer for downloading, Internet access, and a headset.
  • Technical problems arising during the semester that prevent students from attending the class are the students’ 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 set up technical requirements.

Further information and registration

  • Please send an informal message to andreas.kaplony at Give name, academic affiliation, current position and interest.
  • Register until 6 April 2020. The webclass usually fills up quickly.


  • Grob, Eva Mira and Andreas Kaplony (eds.). 2008. Documentary Letters from the Middle East: The Evidence in Greek, Coptic, South Arabian, Pehlevi, and Arabic (1st–15th c CE). Asiatische Studien, vol. 62,3. Bern: Lang.
  • 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 and New York: de Gruyter.
  • Diem, Werner. 1991. Arabische Briefe auf Papyrus und Papier aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Diem, Werner. 1993. Arabische Briefe aus dem 7. bis 10. Jahrhundert. Corpus Papyrorum Raineri, vol. 16. 2 vols. Vienna: Hollinek.
  • Diem, Werner. 1997. Arabische Briefe des 7. bis 13. Jahrhunderts aus den Staatlichen Museen Berlin. Documenta Arabica Antiqua, vol. 4. Ägyptische Urkunden aus den Staatlichen Museen Berlin: arabische Urkunden, vol. 2. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Diem, Werner. 2004. "katabtu ilayka 'Ich schreibe Dir' und Verwandtes: ein Beitrag zur Phraseologie des arabischen Briefes unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Briefperfekts". In Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 154: 285-345.
  • Diem, Werner. 2011. Arabische Briefe aus dem 10.-16. Jahrhundert. Corpus Papyrorum Raineri, vol. 32. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Diem, Werner. 2013. Arabische Briefe auf Papier aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung. Veröffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung, n.s., vol. 13. Heidelberg: Winter.
  • Diem, Werner. 2017. Glossar zur arabischen Epistolographie nach ägyptischen Originaldokumenten des 7.-16. Jahrhunderts. Mitteilungen aus der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, n.s., vol. 43. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Rāġib, Yūsuf. 1982-1996. Marchands d'étoffes du Fayyoum au IIIe/IXe siècle d'après leurs archives (actes et lettres). Publications de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, vols. 586; 631; 727; 768. Suppléments aux Annales Islamologiques: Cahiers, vols. 2; 5; 14; 16. 4 vols. Cairo: IFAO.
  • Younes, Khaled Mohamed. 2013. Joy and Sorrow in Early Muslim Egypt: Arabic Papyrus Letters. Text and Content. Leiden: s.n.

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 2013/14).
  • 12: Documents on Rural Egypt (Summer Term).
  • 13: Petitions on Paper (Winter Term 2014/15).
  • 14: Documents on Marriage and Divorce (Winter Term/16).
  • 15: Papyrus Letters from Umayyad and Abbasid Egypt (Summer Term 2017).
  • 16: Arabic Documents Referring to Jerusalem (Summer Term 2018)