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Egyptian Temple Inscriptions of the Graeco-Roman Period


Admission requirements

BA degree and sufficient level of knowledge of Middle Egyptian. If you are interested in taking this course, but are not sure whether you fulfil the entry requirements, please, contact the instructor.


Instruction in the interpretation of temple inscriptions from the Graeco-Roman Period (circa 300 BCE – 250 CE), also known as ‘Ptolemaic hieroglyphs’, and their relation to architecture and the surrounding scenes, known as the ‘grammaire du temple’. The textual tradition of the temple scriptorium and the intellectual climate of the priestly milieu are discussed through reading a variety of inscriptions. The course will also introduce the specialized literature on this topic and present an overview of the current state of the scholarly debate and on the different genres represented in the temple inscriptions.
After an intensive introduction to the characteristics of the script and grammar, the classes focus on the reading of inscriptions from the textbook (Leitz) supplemented by other texts. The course starts with an intensive course on the Ptolemaic script over three days.

Course objectives

The course aims at enabling the students to read and interpret the complicated texts of the late temples with the help of the standard research tools.

Time table

Timetable to be arranged between student(s) and instructor.

For further information see the timetables on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

The total course load is 280 hours (10 EC), of which

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 3 × 3 intensive course plus 7 × 4 hours = 37 hours;

  • Preparation time for seminars: 148 hours;

  • Preparation time for exam: 95 hours.

Assessment method

  • Assignments: 40%

  • Take home examination: 30%

  • Oral examination: 30%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average. Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the oral exam and/or the take home exam can be repeated.



Reading list

Christian Leitz, Quellentexte zur ägyptischen Religion I: Die Tempelinschriften der griechisch-römischen Zeit, 3rd ed., Berlin 2009. In stock at Atleest bookshop, Leiden.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


Prof. dr. O.E. Kaper


Students in the Research MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations are required to read a longer text in the final examination.