Original Research - Special Collection: Marianne Dircksen Festschrift

Latin learning materials in light of the papyri

Isabella Bonati
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 2 | a2508 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i2.2508 | © 2019 Isabella Bonati | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2019 | Published: 31 October 2019

About the author(s)

Isabella Bonati, School of Ancient Languages and Text Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the ancient materials used in teaching Latin in order to recreate the ancient Latin teaching and learning experience. Particular attention is devoted to the case of Greek speakers learning Latin. To reconstruct this picture, the evidence of the papyri from Egypt plays a fundamental role. Papyri attest to the various phases of Latin instruction for Greek speakers, ranging from an elementary to an advanced level, and they also shed light on the typologies of texts that were used. Among the Latin learning materials, this article focuses on papyrus texts intended for aspiring lawyers and law students as a striking example of the practical advantages of the acquisition of Latin in Roman Egypt. Using this material, we can draw some significant parallels between ancient and present teaching of Latin in the context of legal studies with special emphasis on the case as it is in South Africa at present.


Papyri; Latin language; Greek language; legal studies; legal comparison; Graeco-Roman Egypt.


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