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Studies in the technical terminology of Greek papyri of medical content: The nomenclature and linguistic history of ancient drug containers

Tildelt: kr 54 000




2012 - 2012


The research to be carried out during Isabella Bonati's Yggdrasil stay at the University of Oslo ultimately sheds light on scientific technical languages and their development from antiquity to modern times. Much as technical terminology has been transfor med over time, the technical vocabulary of modern Western sciences often derives from Greek or Latin roots. Even when communicating breakthrough new results, phenomena or institutions, modern scientists still build their technical terminology on the pract ice of previous generations (e.g. xenotransplantation, biobanks, biodegradation, electroencephalography etc.). Among the technical languages of the Graeco-Roman world prominence of place was held by medical discourse, and many other scientific fields borr owed their technical vocabulary from the medical techne. Bonati will in collaboration with Anastasia Maravela explore in depth and detail the linguistic strategies which the ancient Greeks adopted to convey scientific content. More specifically she will investigate the onomastics and linguistic development of Greek terms denoting quantities or containers (or both) of either raw ingredients or ready composite products for medical, pharmaceutical use. On the basis of a list of around fifty technical terms for ancient vessels and containers of medicaments mined from various sources Bonati will carry out a comparative study of the entire available evidence which sheds light on the onomastics and the linguistic development of terms used in the context of the storage/packaging and labeling of drugs. Papyri, inscriptions, archeological artifacts with writing on as well as literary sources (passages from ancient medical and other works) will be critically and comparatively explored. The ultimate goal will be to reconstruct the linguistic history of the terms examined, both individually and, where pertinent, in groups, and to codify the results as entries in the dictionary of ancient medical terminology Medicalia Online.