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Demotic Papyrology I


Admission requirements

Knowledge of Middle and Late Egyptian, and preferably also hieratic. Knowledge of Coptic is not required but helpful.


IIntroduction to the Demotic script and language, and to the main tools to decipher Demotic papyri and ostraca. Reading of published Demotic documentary and literary texts. BA students taking this course are entitled to intensive support during and outside class, e.g. in Demotic grammar and palaeography.

Course objectives

Being a first introduction to the Demotic script, this course aims to acquaint students with various documentary and literary Demotic sources, as well as with the available literature. BA students will be expected to develop the capability to critically assess the the publications that will be used. The second aim will be for students to read a number of published Demotic texts, correctly identifying and addressing philological and palaeographical problems, and to test their ability to analyse and understand Demotic sources in the broad context of Late Period and Ptolemaic Egypt, BA students will receive all the necessary guidance.


Please consult the timetables on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

Seminar. Students prepare for class in advance.

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 10 EC (280 hours), consisting of:

  • Classes, 26 hours;

  • Preparation for the classes, 160 hours;

  • Preparation final exam, 94 hours.

Assessment method

Attendance, preparation and participation in the discussion of the Demotic sources treated in class (30%) and final exam (70%). BA students will take the same exam as MA students, but will receive some additional tips to guide them through the exam.

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average. Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, students can take a resit after consultation with the lecturer.



Reading list

S.P. Vleeming, Inleiding tot het Demotische Schrift: Het Demotische Schrift, Leiden 1988


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.


Dr. K. Donker van Heel:, 06-28381466.


This class requires motivated students.