The ancient Mediterranean world brought to us by Herodotus, Thucydides and Tacitus is one of politics, war and the power elite of Greece and Rome. There was another ancient world, in which ordinary people made a living, sold land, ran their towns and sued one another. This is the world that the papyri bring to life; this book is about how they do so.
Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History demonstrates how historians can put together information from scattered and often badly damaged documents to build up a picture of the society, economy and culture of the multicultural world of antiquity. Through discussion of contemporary historical work on the documents, Roger Bagnall scrutinises alternative ways of approaching these sources. He shows how the ancient historian can use the methodologies of anthropology, comparative history and statistics alongside more traditional tools to turn these texts into questions and answers.
Students and teachers of ancient history will find Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History an indispensable guide to using these ancient texts in their own work.