Crash Course in Greek Palaeography

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, Leiden University Library and the Greek department of Ghent University offer a two-day course in Greek palaeography in collaboration with the Research School OIKOS. The course is intended for MA, ResMA and doctoral students in the areas of Classics, Ancient History, Ancient Civilizations and Medieval studies with a good command of Greek. It offers a chronological introduction into Greek palaeography from the Hellenistic period until the end of the Middle Ages and is specifically aimed at acquiring practical skills for research involving literary and documentary papyri and/or manuscripts. This course gives the unique opportunity to practice reading on original papyri and manuscripts from the collection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute and the special collections of the Leiden University Library.


The course is set up as an intensive two-day seminar. Five lectures by specialists in the field will give a chronological overview of the development of Greek handwriting, each followed by a practice session reading relevant extracts from papyri and manuscripts in smaller groups under the supervision of young researchers.

Monday, May 27

  • 10:00 Introduction
  • 10:15-11:15 Papyri of the Ptolemaic and Roman period (3rd cent. BCE – 3rd cent. CE) (Dr. Joanne Stolk)
  • 11:15-12:30 Practice with papyri of the Ptolemaic and Roman period
  • 12:30-13:30 Lunch break
  • 13:30-14:30 Papyri of the Byzantine period (4th-8th centuries) (Dr. Yasmine Amory)
  • 14:30-15:45 Practice papyri of the Byzantine period
  • 15:45-16:15 Coffee break
  • 16:15-17:00 Presentation of Greek manuscripts from the Leiden University Library
  • 17:00-17:45 Presentation of Greek papyri from the Leiden Papyrological Institute
  • 19:00 Dinner


Tuesday, May 28

  • 9:00-10:00 Majuscule and early minuscule bookhands (4th-9th centuries) (Dr. Rachele Ricceri)
  • 10:00-11:15 Practice majuscule and early minuscule bookhands
  • 11:15-11:45 Coffee break
  • 11:45-12:45 The development of minuscule script (10th-12th centuries) (Prof. dr. Floris Bernard)
  • 12:45-13:45 Lunch break
  • 13:45-15:00 Practice minuscule script of the 10th-12th centuries
  • 15:00-15:30 Coffee break
  • 15:30-16:30 Manuscripts and scholars of the Palaeologan period (13th-15th centuries) (Prof. dr. Andrea Cuomo)
  • 16:30-17:45 Practice manuscripts of the Palaeologan period

Practical information

The study load is the equivalent of 2 ECTS (2×28 hours). Participants will be asked to read up on secondary literature in preparation for the seminar (distributed several weeks before the course). Extra material will be handed out during the course in order to continue to improve your reading skills afterwards.

There are no fees for participation in this course. Lunches on both days and dinner on the first day are provided free of charge. Travel costs and accommodation in Leiden are at your own expense.


Please register by sending an e-mail with a short motivation (ca. 300 words, including your background, research interests and why you would like to follow this course) to Priority is given to OIKOS doctoral students and those who did not have the opportunity to follow course(s) on palaeography before. Registration closes by the final deadline of February 15th, 2024. Successful applicants will be notified soon afterwards.