University Research projects 2016 (PRA): supervisor prof. M. Betrò


The University of Pisa, has a big resource in professors and researchers of the Oriental studies for their expertness, that so far has already produced high value contributions on the “border land” above indicated.

The project offers them the opportunity to confront and interact in order to present a polyhedric vision, that highlights the lack of traditional division between a western culture and a eastern one, and indicates the path for a redefinition of the two concepts. Through ways that cross transversely space and time (from Egypt to China; from 2nd mill. BC to the 19th century), it aims to examine communication dynamics and modalities between those cultures and the Mediterranean and western world. The case studies identified are also lens through which observe the interaction topic and the one connected to the identity.


ritratto fayum firenze

  1. Betrò deals with two complementary aspects of interactions between Egyptians and conquerors in the Greek-Roman Egypt, integrating textual sources (hieroglyphics, hieratics, demotics, greeks and latins) and archaeological ones: from one side, the transmission of the “scientific” culture of the Pharaohs age and the appearance of a Greek-Egyptian literature, in which both hermetic texts and Greek and demotic magical papyrus take place; from the other side, the transformation of rituals, procedures and conceptions, seen in Greek-Roman context from the excavation that she directs in Thebes (Egypt).


  1. Avanzini, combining as well historical, epigraphic and archaeological sources and starting from the excavation in the port of Sumhuram (Oman), she focuses on the changes in the incense trade dynamics over the Christian age, with the transfer from the traditional land road to the sea one, and the participation of the Indian Ocean in the international trades.


  1. Mascitelli follows the traces of hellenistic, late-antique and pre-islamic features of literary genres and motifs like “Alexander romance” and specula principum in the Arabic-Islamic culture.


The Asoka inscriptions are the occasion to investigate on the relations between the Indian and Greek world (S. Sani).


The ethnic and cultural status of the Christianized community of the center-eastern Asia is highlighted by the study and publication of the rich Syriac and Syrio-Turkish epigraphic corpus of the central Asia and China (13th-14th century) by P.G. Borbone, while A. Orengo studies the real coexistence of western and eastern conceptions in the Armenia of the 5th century through the analysis of one of the first original text in the language of this country.

Finally, from the European prospective, the concept of “East” in his development during the 19th century is exemplified by M. Betrò in the last case study: the image of Egypt at the beginning of Egyptology.

As conclusion of the project, in February will take place the following workshop:

Dr. Christina Riggs, University of East Anglia
Photographing Tutankhamun: Archaeology, Colonialism, and Ancient Egypt
Aula CAR 1, Palazzo Carità, University of Pisa, Via Pasquale Paoli 9 – 56126 Pisa, 12.00 am
Dr. Penelope Wilson, Durham University
Life in Miniature: Votive offerings at Sais
Aula CAR 1, Palazzo Carità, University of Pisa, Via Pasquale Paoli 9 – 56126 Pisa, 12.00 am
Dr. Marc Dickens, University of Alberta (Canada)
 Syriac Manuscripts from Turfan in Chinese Central Asia
Aula Seminari III Piano, ex Salesiani, University of Pisa, Via dei Mille 19 – 56126 Pisa, 12.00 am; 15-18 pm
Prof. Andreas Stauder, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris
Controlling symbolic forms : the signs buried in tomb U-j and early power
Aula Barone (FIL BAR), Palazzo Carità, University of Pisa, Via Pasquale Paoli 9 – 56126 Pisa12.00 am
Prof. Verena Lepper, Freie reie Universität Berlin – Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
The world in Elephantine. Contact, exchange, identity
Aula CAR 1, Palazzo Carità, University of Pisa, Via Pasquale Paoli 9 – 56126 Pisa, 12.00 am

© 2016