Chrysi Kotsifou

I have studied Late Antique and Byzantine History at Goldsmith’s College, University of London and at King’s College, London, acquiring my PhD in 2002 from the latter institution. My PhD thesis explores the theme of travelling to and in Egypt during Late Antiquity. Before joining the University of Oxford, I was employed at various institutions in the United States and in Cairo. Both in my PhD thesis and in the articles that I have published consequently, I have explored the various ways in which Late Antique Christianity and its institutions influenced the daily life of the common people of the Byzantine empire, and often shaped their believes, customs and practices. The development of the ascetic and monastic movement in Egypt as well as the social and economic interactions of monasteries with their surrounding communities have been of special interest to me and have also been the underlining theme of my publications. The outcome of a two-year project at the Catholic University of America will be a volume of the Kaufmann Demotic, Greek and Coptic ostraca of the Hyvernat collection. Part of my continuing research is the study and publication of the epigraphical material from the excavation of the monastery of St. John the Little in Wadi n’Natrun. In general, my training as an archaeologist at the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project during the past three years has offered me a unique chance to study closely the development of a Late Antique and medieval monastic settlement and the material culture associated with it.

In the project The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions, I study the papyri from the Hellenistic to the Late Antique period, documents such as letters, petitions, wills, contracts, legal proceedings, and magical papyri, and how they originate in emotionally loaded situations that offer us a direct contact with the ancient world and its people, at the level of every day life and business. In the 26th International Congress of Papyrology, August 2010, I am organising a panel on ‘Emotions and Papyri’ with the participation of seven scholars who will discuss the various uses of emotions in private letters and petitions.

Selected Publications

‘Papyrological evidence of travelling in Byzantine Egypt ‘ in Current Research in Egyptology 2000, eds. Angela McDonald, Christina Riggs, BAR International Series 909, (2000) 57-64.

‘Books and book production in the monastic communities of Byzantine Egypt,’ in the The Early Christian Book, eds. William Klingshirn & Linda Safran, the Catholic University of America Press, (2007) 48-66.

‘Papyrological perspectives on orphans in the world of Late Ancient Christianity,’ in Children in Late Ancient Christianity, eds. C. Horn and R. R. Phenix, Mohr Siebeck, (2009) 339-373.

‘Monks as mediators in Late Antique Egypt,’ in Law and Society in Greek and Roman Egypt, eds. J. Keenan, J. Manning, and U. Yiftach-Firanko, Cambridge University Press (2011).
C. Kotsifou and B. Muhs, The Demotic, Greek and Coptic Ostraka of the ICOR collection at the Catholic University of America (forthcoming).

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