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Demotic Papyrology I


Admission requirements

Knowledge of Middle and Late Egyptian, and preferably also hieratic. Knowledge of Coptic is not required but helpful.


Introduction to the Demotic script and language, and to the main tools to decipher Demotic papyri and ostraca. Reading of published Demotic documentary and literary texts.

Course objectives

Being a first introduction to the Demotic script, this course aims to acquaint students with various documentary and literary Demotic sources, as well as with the available literature. Students will be expected to critically assess the publications that will be used. The second aim will be for students to read a number of published Demotic texts, correctly identifying and addressing philological and palaeographical problems, and to test their ability to analyse and understand Demotic sources in the broad context of Late Period and Ptolemaic Egypt.


Please consult the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load for the course is 10 EC (280 hours), consisting of:

  • Lectures: 14 x 2 = 28

  • Preparation tutorials: 14 x 12 = 168 hrs

  • Study of compulsory literature: 40 hrs

  • Preparation exam: 40 hrs

  • Exam(s): 4 hrs

Assessment method

Attendance, preparation and participation in the discussion of the Demotic sources treated in class (30%) and final written exam (70%).


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, students can take a resit for the final written exam (70% of the final grade) after consultation with the lecturer. There is no resit for 'attendance, preparation and participation in class'.

Exam review

Students will be invited to see the written exam as the results have been published.



Reading list

  • S.P. Vleeming, Inleiding tot het Demotische Schrift: Het Demotische Schrift, Leiden 1988

  • J.H. Johnson, Thus Wrote 'Onchsheshonqy - An Introductory Grammar of Demotic (freely downloadable from the website of the Oriental Institute in Chicago)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. K. Donker van Heel


This class requires motivated students.