Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



ISAP V Conference 2012

Fifth International Society for Arabic Papyrology Conference, Carthage, March 28-31, 2012

The fifth ISAP conference will be hosted by the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts, Beït Al-Hikma (/ in Carthage. It will be organized by the International Society for Arabic Papyrology (xxx) in cooperation with the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale in Cairo (, with the generous support of the Netherlands Embassy in Tunis, the Centre d'Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis (, Auburn University (, and the Juynboll Foundation.

The conference will start on the evening of Wednesday, March 28, and continue through Saturday, March 31. The programme will include 20-minute lectures presenting text editions or studies based on documentary material from the Islamic medieval world, workshops in which unedited Arabic documents will be presented, and evening lectures. There will also be the opportunity to visit the National Library of Tunisia (Tunis) and the National Museum of Islamic Arts of Raqqada (Kairouan), which hosts the only collection of Arabic payri in Tunisia, and important early Islamic manuscripts written on parchment.

Participants are supposed to be or become members of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology.


The fifth conference of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) will take place at the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts, Beït Al-Hikma, in Carthage.

It will bring together scholars using documentary evidence to study the history of the early Islamic world, including Arabic, Coptic, and Greek papyri, paper and other documents, as well as epigraphic and numismatic material. Participants may present their research either as 20-minute papers or within the context of workshops on Greek, Coptic, and Arabic papyrology and palaeograp

The Conference will include 1) text workshops and 2) sessions for the presentation of 20-minute papers and 3) evening lectures at local research institutes. Although the "official language" of the conference is English, papers and workshops may be given in English, French, German, or Arabic.

Text workshops will focus on a single text, or group of texts, to be circulated in advance. The texts used may be in any of the languages of the documentary sources relevant to the history of early Islamic Egypt and the wider Mediterranean world (Greek, Coptic, or Arabic). A translation of the text should also be circulated to allow for the widest possible participation. The presenter will have the first thirty minutes to introduce the text and its problems, and then the remaining hour will be spent in discussion.

There will be several paper sessions during which three or four 20-minute papers, followed by questions and discussion, will be read. While the topics addressed need not focus exclusively on documentary evidence, it is expected that documentary sources will be an integral and substantive part of each paper.

The deadline for 400-word abstracts is November 1 2011. Please send abstracts to Sobhi Bouderbala (sbouderbala at If your presentation will require audio-visual equipment of any kind, please describe what is needed. Notification regarding the acceptance of proposals will be made by the end of November 2011.

Also, please send a copy of all handouts (texts and translations) to be used in the text workshops by 15 February 2011. These will be made available to participants.


Wednesday March 28: Beït al-Hikma

13:00 - 14:00 Registration

14:00 - 14:30 Welcome by Petra Sijpesteijn, president ISAP; President of Beït al-Hikma; Sylvie Denoix, Director of Research (IFAO)

14:30 - 16:30 Power in Practice 1: Chancellery Practice and Administration (Chair: Petra Sijpesteijn)

Lucian Reinfandt, Scribal Traditions in Early Islamic Chancelleries

Sobhi Bouderbala, Le sauf-conduit: étude d’une procédure chancelière (Ier/VIIe-IIe/VIIIe siècles)

Marina Rustow, The Life-Cycle of a Fatimid Decree

Daniel Potthast, Arabic Letters to Aragon and their Romance Translations

16:30 - 17:00 Coffee and tea

17:00 - 18:00 Power in Practice 2: Fiscal Practice (Chair: Sobhi Bouderbala)

Manabu Kameya, Jahbadh and Qustal: Change in Taxation System and Their Role in Medieval Egyptian Society

Gladys Frantz-Murphy, Transformation of Egyptian Agriculture from the 10th to the 12th Centuries

18:30 – 19:30 Hichem Djaït, Muhammad et la naissance de l'Islam en Arabie at the Center of the Arabic and Mediterranean Music (Sidi Boussaïd)

20:00 Reception at Dar Zarrouk – Sidi Bou Saïd

Thursday March 29: Bibliothèque Nationale de Tunisie

9:00 – 11:00 Power in Practice 3: Legal Documents and Practice (Chair: Sylvie Denoix)

Ahmed Nabil, Report about Deputation and Mazalim Cases

Farouk Bouaziz, Les actes de mariage en Egypte du IIe/VIIIe. au Ve/XIe.: étude formulaire

Julien Loiseau, À propos de l’acte de waqf de Barquq (788-797/1386-1395: le document comme archive de la fondation

Jo van Steenbergen On Royal Pilgrimage and Patronage in 15th-Century Egypt: the Kitab al-Dhahab al-Masbuk by A?mad b. ?Ali al-Maqrizi (d. 1442) and its Documentary Value

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee and Tea

11:30 – 12:30 Visit of the Islamic manuscript collection of the National Library of Tunisia

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Trade and Circulation of Goods 1: Provincial and Urban Centers of Trade (Chair: Avrom Udovitch)

Jelle Bruning, On the Influence of the Creation of Fustat on Alexandrian Commerce: A Question of Rivalry?

Petra Sijpesteijn, A Third/ninth-Century Mercantile Archive

Andreas Kaplony, Some more Documents from al-Qu?ayr al-Qadim (13th century)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee and Tea

16:00 – 17:00 Trade and Circulation of Goods 2: Money and the Circulation of Goods (Chair: Andreas Kaplony)

Arietta Papaconstantinou, The Circulation of Goods in Early Islamic Egypt: Tales of Dispossession and Accumulation

Mohamed el Maghrabi, A Contract of Sale (421 AH) for Part of a House in the Fayyum

17:00 – 17:30 Coffee and Tea

17:00 – 18:30 Workshop 1: Commercial Letters and Amulets (Chair: Ayman Shahin, Commercial Letters)

Hazem Hussein Abbas Ali, Amulets from the Dar al-Kutub

18:30 – 19:30 Evening lecture at the National Library of Tunisia

20:00 Dinner sponsored by Auburn University and CEMAT

Friday March 30: Beït al-Hikma

9:00 – 10:30 Linguistic Crossing 1: Linguistic Exchange (Chair: Sebastian Richter)

Lajos Berkes, Practising Greek Legal Formulas in a Post-Conquest Hermopolite Monastery (P. Heid. Inv. K 153)

Sylvie Denoix, Le multiculturalisme en Egypte

Vincent Walter, Arabic Influence on Coptic Letter-Writing: The Case of the Late Blessing Formulae

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee and Tea

11:00 – 12:00 Linguistic Crossing 2: Linguistic Exchange (Chair: Alain Delattre)

Marie Legendre, Penser en arabe, compter en grec, écrire en copte : quelques documents de compte du Fayoum fatimide

Sebastian Richter, Changing Money and Shifting Languages in Fatimid Egypt: A late Coptic Account Book from the Papers of Noël (Aimé-)Giron

12:00 – 12:30 Coffee and Tea

12:30-13:30 Linguistic Crossing 3: Epistolary Style and Language (Chair: Gladys Frantz-Murphy)

Khaled Younes, Letters of Condolence in the Arabic Papyri

Florence Calament, Une lettre copte inédite, en provenance d’Akhmîm : P.Louvre E 27652

13:30 – 14 :30 Lunch

14:30 – 15:30 Workshop 2: Arabic terms in CopticDdocuments (Chair: Arietta Papaconstantinou)

Sebastian Richter, Marie Legendre and Alain Delattre

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee and Tea

16:00 – 18:00 Communities and Religions 1: Communities (Chair: Saïd al-Mughawri)

Janneke de Jong: Arabs in Pre-Islamic Egypt

Hmida Toukabri, Les fondations pieuses juives médiévales d’après les documents de la Géniza du Caire

Alain Delattre, Un serment à la mosquée dans un document copte?

Naïm Vanthieghem, Un nouveau document mamelouk de Sainte-Catherine du Sinaï

18:00 Departure for Kairouan

20:30 Dinner in Kairouan

Saturday March 31: Museum of Islamic Arts of Raqqada - Kairouan

9:00 – 10:30 Communities and Religions 2: Religious and Artistic Expressions (Chair: Robert Hoyland)

Lotfi Abdeljawad, Grafittis arabes inédits de la Grande mosquée de Kairouan

Johannes Thomann, A Fragment of an Unusual Arabic Almanac for 297H. / 910 C.E. (P.Berl.inv. 12793)

Shamsiddin Kamoliddin, Portrait Art in Early Islamic Coinage

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee and Tea

11:00 –12:30 Communities and Religions 3: Literary Sources as Documents for Religious Aspects (Chair: Mohamed Saïd)

Matt Malczycki, Wa-ma ana min al-mushrikin: Prayers of a Recent Convert to Islam

Ursula Bases, What is it and why is it? A scroll from the Eastern Nile Delta village ?af? Zurayq

Asma Sayeed, Texts and Textual Communities: The Worlds of Non-Canonical Sunni Literature

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:30 Visit of the papyrus and manuscripts collection of the Musée national d’art islamique de Raqqada

14:30 – 15:30 Workshop 3: Numismatics and Epigraphy (Chair: Hayet Amamou)

Abdelhamid Fénina, Coins from North-Africa and Egypt

Lotfi Abdeljawad, North-African Inscriptions

15:30 Departure for Tunis

19:30 Final reception at the Netherlands Embassy

Some Practical Information


There will be no conference fee charged. Participants who currently have no membership should renew their membership in Carthage on the first day of the conference. Payments have to be made in cash in Euros, dollars or Tunisian dinars. If you are interested in joining ISAP, information can be found at the ISAP sign-up website.

Please send a notice of intent to participate in the Conference to one of the conference organizers, Petra Sijpesteijn (p.m.sijpesteijn at or Sobhi Bouderbala (sbouderbala at

Travel Subsidies

It is hoped that the Conference will be able to offer a few awards for scholars not able to get institutional subventions for travel to Carthage.

Please let us know as soon as possible whether you will be in need for such sponsoring.


European and North-American visitors who come for a visit of up to three months do not need to apply for a visa to enter Tunis. Please contact the local Tunisian consulate or consular division on the embassy to check whether you need a visa. Applications for a visa take ca. 3 weeks.


Tunis International Airport is located just south of Carthage. A taxi from the airport to your hotel in Carthage will cost about 10 Tunisian Dinars (15 by night). The trick is to ask the driver turn on his meter.

Please let Sobhi Bouderbala ( know your time of arrival at the airport.


Reservations for conference attendees have been made in hotels in Carthage and Kairouan. The rooms will cost 75 euro per night. Sobhi Bouderbala ( will be in charge of the hotel reservations. Please let him know asap if you want him to reserve a room for you, for how many days and for how many persons.

Carthage is located very closely to Tunis and you can easily visit the city from there by public transport.

Lunches and Dinners

If you have any dietary requirements, please let Sobhi Bouderbala ( know asap.

Conference Organizers

If you have any further questions about the Conference, please contact: Petra Sijpesteijn (p.m.sijpesteijn at or Sobhi Bouderbala (sbouderbala at

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