Structuring astral science: a Demotic astrological manual from Graeco-Roman Egypt (Berlin, Egyptian Museum, P. Berlin 8345)
Keywords:papyrus, astral science, astrology, divination, Demotic, Graeco-Roman Egypt
Papyrus Berlin 8345, which comes from the Roman-period Fayum (Egypt), contains a Demotic astrological treatise aimed at foretelling an individual’s future based on the positions of the seven celestial bodies known in antiquity (Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury) in the twelve places or compartments of the zodiac known as the dodecatropos. This paper briefly outlines the contents of the text and considers the conventions of textual division demonstrated in the papyrus. Since Demotic lacks modern punctuation, the scribe employed a host of other techniques to highlight and differentiate the various parts of the text. The manual was intended as a reference work, and the copyist therefore attempted to facilitate comfortable navigation through its different sections.
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