Friday, September 18, 2009

Onomasticon Oasiticum

Onomasticon Oasiticum: An Onomasticon of Personal Names found in Documentary Texts from the Theban Oasis in Graeco-Roman Times
Compiled by Robert P. Salomons and Klaas A.Worp
Revised version (September 2009; first version July 2007)

In the Avertissement (p.vii) to his well known study Les Oasis d’Égypte (Cairo 1987), and on many pages elsewhere in this volume, the late Guy Wagner alludes to an exhaustive prosopography of the Great Oasis, compiled by himself but unfortunately for financial reasons not incorporated in Les Oasis. However, a separate publication of this prosopography, as announced in the Avertissement, did not appear either. Therefore, the need for such a prosopography remained unfulfilled.

The idea of composing a new onomasticon of the Dakhleh Oasis, or an
Onomasticon Mothiticum as we wish to call it, was born independently during the 5th Dakhleh Oasis Project conference held in Cairo, June 2006, where Worp gave a paper on Christian names in fourth century documents from Kellis. An additional incentive for compiling such an onomasticon was the consideration that Worp himself had already published a substantial number of documentary papyri, ostraka and wooden tablets from this area ( in particular in P.Kellis, vol. I, and in O.Kellis). It was, therefore, only a matter of merging his various indices nominum and adding names of persons from the Dakleh oasis figuring in papyri and ostraka already published elsewhere. This activity involved collecting the relevant texts from, e.g., the list given by Wagner in the introduction to his Les Oasis, pp. 3- 6, and a search in the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis for ‘Ort = Grosse Oase’). Moreover, our colleague R.S. Bagnall kindly made the digital file of his own index nominum for P.Kellis IV available to Worp.

An onomasticon of the eastern part of the Great Oasis, the Khargeh oasis, i.e. an
Onomasticon Hibiticum, had also been a desideratum for a long time. In the 1980s Salomons, when working on his publication of Bodleian Papyri (in P.Bodl., vol. I, in which appear several texts from the Khargeh oasis) had already compiled an onomasticon of the Great or Theban Oasis for his own use, based exclusively on the papyrological evidence then available to him. But the subsequent publication of the various volumes of ostraka from Douch, Aïn Waqfa and other texts from the Hibite nome, mainly by French papyrologists in the 1990s, had made this private onomasticon obsolete and underlined the desirability of an Onomasticon Hibiticum, especially if combined with an Onomasticon Mothiticum.

Thus the two of us decided to cooperate in compiling an Onomasticon Oasiticum: Salomons took responsability for texts from the eastern Oasis and the
incerta, while Worp took responsabilty for the listing of personal names in documents from the western Oasis.

We venture to think that our onomasticon as a reseach tool is of interest not only to Greek, Demotic and Coptic papyrologists focussing their research on documents from the Great Oasis, but also in general to
onomatologists, since the onomastics of the Great Oasis exhibit certain peculiarities not encountered elwewhere in Graeco-Roman Egypt. These deserve to be studied further. A comparison of the two main parts of the onomasticon shows, e.g., that certain names occur far more frequently in one particular half of the Great Oasis than in the other half (compare, e.g., the frequency of the name Πετεχω^ ν in the Khargeh Oasis [to date attested there several dozens of times] versus that in the Dakhleh Oasis [to date attested there only twice]).

Moreover, there is at least the theoretical possibility that some personal names occurring in these oases actually do not derive from either Greek or Egyptian, but that they come from other languages and cultures such as that of the Berber.

For obvious reasons the Onomasticon Oasiticum is divided into three parts, viz.
1) the Onomasticon Hibiticum,
2) a list of of personal names of people who certainly lived somewhere in the Great Oasis, but whose whereabouts in either the Mothite nome or the Hibite nome are no longer ascertainable. It is hoped that publication of new material will make it possible to transfer at least some persons definitely from this list to either of the oases. This 2nd section forms the transition from section 1 to section
3) the Onomasticon Mothiticum. After the Greek names in this part follows a section containing the names found in Coptic documents.

The present Onomasticon Oasiticum has been produced without any special financial support of any official institution. We are grateful to Dr F.A.J. Hoogendijk for her help in publishing it on the website of the Papyrological Institute of Leiden University. An important consideration in choosing this medium for our work is that the authors are allowed to change and update this Onomasticon easily, while there is no cost involved for any user...

Note to the revised edition (September 2009):
We have removed a number of typographical errors and added some new material, in particular from
Berichtigungsliste vol. XII (2009) and P.Kellis V (Coptic documentary texts). Morever, we are grateful in particular to our colleague R.S. Bagnall for kindly making the name indices of his forthcoming edition of Ostraka from Trimithis (O.Trim.) available to us already before the volume’s actual publication.

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