Pieces published elsewhere
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As a rule, ancient texts are written in continuous letters (scriptio continua), that is to say, without spaces between words. More often than not punctuation is omitted, too. Largely, in Greek papyrology two kinds of scripts are distinguished. On the one hand the so called “bookhands” were commonly used for literary texts, on the other hand cursive forms of the letters were typical of everyday documents such as contracts, letters, receipts, etc. Furthermore, other kinds of writing could be used for special purposes: the bureaus of high roman officials, for example, produced occasionally documents in the so called “chancellery writing”. In antiquity both, bookhands and cursive writings, used majuscule alphabets, which means, texts are written with capital letters only. The two kinds of script can be distinguished mainly because the cursive one is a more fluent and consequently more rapid writing, whose typeface inclines often to the right. Accordingly, the writing of everyday documents is characterized by ligatures and Verschleifungen, whereas literary handwritings show higher care for a neat and precise shaping of each letter. Both writing systems developed over the centuries, but cursive writings evolved more quickly and more often than bookhands. A paleographical analysis of the writing is thus one of the parameters – often the only one – to date a text. The Berlin Papyrus Collection disposes of writing examples from all centuries of the Greco-Roman-Byzantine Era. A selection of the most representative pieces can be found here.