V. 53 N. 2 (2015)

Register variation and personal interaction in the Zenon Archive

Pubblicato 2016-05-06

Parole chiave

  • Zenon archive,
  • register variation,
  • epistolary style


Zenon, the secretary of Apollonios ὁ διοικητής, sent, received and collected all kinds of correspondence – letters of recommendation, requests for assistance, business reports – which illustrates a cross-section of everyday life in Ptolemaic Egypt during the third century BC.

The elements which mostly influence linguistic and stylistic variation in the Zenon archive are pragmatic as well as sociolinguistic. The most important of them are the sender’s purpose and the relationship, or the social gap, between sender and recipient. In this respect, in a pragmatic and textual linguistic perspective, crossed with sociolinguistics, some features of this kind of correspondence will be examined, such as opening greetings, expressions of requests and closing formulas.