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Title: Palaeographical study of the Late Ramesside Letters
Author: Miyanishi, Mizuki
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 3098
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the palaeographical aspects of the Late Ramesside Letters. It begins by reviewing the methodology adopted by Jac Janssen (1987), which sought to distinguish the handwriting of different scribes based on characteristic forms of hieratic signs and sign groups. The first chapter provides a structural analysis of the 13 different forms of the masculine definite article pA. It demonstrates that the diversity in shape is as a result of how the two constituent signs (the pA-bird and A-bird) were, firstly, deformed or simplified into their alternative forms and, secondly, how they were laid out as a single grapheme, and then how the combination of these directly impacts the visual presentation of the word. In the second part of the thesis, two case studies are dealt with. The first case study examines two well-known scribes, Dhutmose of the Necropolis and his son Butehamun, in order to observe where in their writing idiosyncrasies appear. This is achieved through a typological analysis which highlights the tendency for particular forms to recur in a single hand. This study enables us to determine of the range of variation in a single scribal hand. While Dhutmose showed his idiosyncrasies mainly by way of simplification of signs and sign groups, Butehamun's handwriting appeared to be less idiosyncratically marked at this level. However, close observation of particular examples reveals that Butehamun's care in his writing is noticeable in the qualitative aspects of his handwriting such as sizing and proportion of signs, and in the arrangement and positioning of signs within a single word. The second case study focuses on the letters sent in the name of the Ramesside general Paiankh, but which in all likelihood were dictated to his administrative scribes. Based on the first case study's empirical findings, this second study evaluates whether the methodology I have proposed can be used to distinguish or relate scribal hands within the confines of the limited samples available to us. This chapter reveals the limitations of the typological methodology, which appears to be useful primarily when the comparison is between an unknown hand and a hand whose idiosyncrasies have already been identified. In order to distinguish the handwriting of multiple unknown scribes without knowing the range of variation inherent in any one writer's hand, it is necessary to make precise observations not only in the visual presentation of signs but also in their qualitative aspects. This methodology still has the potential to be developed further, particularly in terms of construction methods of hieratic signs, stroke orders and pen motions including directions, pressure and speed, which vary greatly.
Supervisor: Enmarch, R. ; Collier, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral