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Demotic Papyrology II


Admission requirements

Demotic Papyrology I or equivalent (the latter will require an informal exam)


Reading of Demotic religious, literary and administrative texts, including unpublished texts. Students are expected to use the available tools to arrive at the correct readings, including motivation and references.

Course objectives

After Demotic Papyrology I this course teaches students how to read Demotic on the basis of their own knowledge and skills. The main aim is that they develop a critical eye that will enable them to deal with Demotic sources on their own, without the help of an edition. Students are also expected to be able to relate the sources treated in class to the context of Egypt in the Late Period and the Ptolemaic era.


Please consult the timetable on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Course load for 10 EC (= 280 hours):

  • Classes 14 × 4 uur = 28 hours (two classes per week);

  • Preparation time for each class = c. 8 uur = 112 hours;

  • Study of Demotic grammar and Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies = 100 hours;

  • Exam = 40 hours

Assessment method

Take home exam

Students will have a whole week (40 hours) to decipher an unknown text as best as possible. Special focus is also placed on the reasoning and references behind specific readings.

The final mark is determined by attendance, preparation and participation (40%) and a written exam (60%). Both should be 6 out of 10 or higher.



Reading list

  • J.H. Johnson, Thus Wrote ‘Onchsheshonqy: An Introductory Grammar of Demotic (2000) (freely downloadable from the website of the Oriental Institute in Chicago)

  • Mark Depauw, A Companion to Demotic Studies (1997)


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

H3. Contact

Dr. K. Donker van Heel:, 06-28381466.