Univ Luigi Prada
Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow in Egyptology and Theodor Heuss Research Fellow (Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

Further information

Luigi Prada


I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Egyptology. Currently, I teach Demotic and ancient Egyptian history and civilisation classes concerning the Late, Ptolemaic, and Roman periods. In the past, I have also taught Late Egyptian and hieratic (texts in Old and Middle Egyptian). I hold tutorials on Egyptian history, civilisation, and religion. I interview for undergraduate admissions in Egyptology. 


My main research interests are in ancient Egyptian textual studies, with specific focus on the written evidence from Late, Ptolemaic, and Roman Egypt. I mostly work with literary and semi-literary material in the cursive scripts of Egyptian – hieratic and demotic –, and also have an interest in Coptic studies, looking at the evolution of the Egyptian language and its migration from one group of writing systems (hieroglyphic, hieratic, demotic) to another (Coptic).

For my doctorate, I have worked on the study of divination practices, specifically oneiromancy, in ancient Egypt, focusing on the technical literature that best attests this phenomenon, dream interpretation handbooks, and on the social, religious, and cultural context in which such texts were produced and used. The material spans from New Kingdom to Late Antique Egypt, and includes texts in hieratic, demotic, Greek, and Coptic. By gathering and publishing all this material, I am gauging the strong continuity that the Egyptian tradition of oneiromancy shows over a timespan of approximately fifteen centuries.

Only a few Egyptian dream books are published at present, and, during my JRF at Univ, I will extend my doctoral research, inclusive of the edition of several unpublished demotic dream books preserved on papyri. These texts include fragments of the earliest known demotic dream book (4th century BC), two such texts from late Ptolemaic times (1st century BC), and several manuscripts of Roman date (1st–2nd century AD).

Their interest is not limited to the study of ancient divination, but also of Egyptian lexicography: dream books are structured in thematic chapters listing hundreds of beings and objects that one can dream of, and thus present an encyclopaedic layout, often recording words that are poorly attested or even utterly unknown in the currently available evidence. Furthermore, the predictions about the dreamer’s fate contained in these texts give an insight in the psychology of the people by and for whom these manuals were written, and, combined with private documents such as dream accounts, offer the possibility to observe the contemporary society from an unusually intimate perspective.

I was trained in both Egyptian and Greek papyrology, and another main interest of my research is the study of Graeco-Egyptian bilingualism in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. I specifically focus on ancient translations of literary texts between Egyptian and Greek, applying to my analysis both traditional philological methods and theoretical frameworks developed in modern translation studies. In this respect, I am part of the group working on the edition of all known manuscripts of the so-called Myth of the Sun’s Eye, with responsibility for the Greek translation of this demotic literary text.

I have also worked on matters of demotic grammar, focusing on the use of special orthographies and diacritics for differentiating otherwise homographic grammatical forms, and I am likewise interested in the study of other similar scribal idiosyncrasies, from early to Roman demotic.

Lately, I have joined the team for the study of the demotic papyri recently unearthed by a joint French-Italian mission in Tebtunis, with responsibility for the publication of the literary and semi-literary manuscripts, together with Kim Ryholt (Copenhagen). 

Articles & publications

Articles and Chapters

Forthcoming. Oneirology versus Oneiromancy in Early Christian Egypt: Contextualising P. Duke inv. 244 (= Duke Coptic MS. 25). In: P. Buzi / A. Camplani / T. Orlandi (eds.), Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies, Rome, September 17–22, 2012 (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta), Leuven / Paris / Walpole MA: Peeters.
2014 (in press). Visions of Gods: P. Vienna D 6633–6636, a Fragmentary Pantheon in a Demotic Dream Book. In: A. Dodson / J.J. Johnston / W. Monkhouse (eds.), A Good Scribe and an Exceedingly Wise Man: Studies in Honour of W.J. Tait (Golden House Publications Egyptology), London: Golden House Publications: 251–270.
2014 (in press). Texte 22. Contrat de prêt – Texte 33. Reçu de taxe – Texte 53. Reçu de taxe – Texte 61. Reçu de taxe – Texte 65. Reçu de taxe. In: A. Boud’hors / A. Delattre / C. Louis / T.S. Richter (eds.), Coptica Argentoratensia: Textes et documents de la troisième université d’été de papyrologie copte (Strasbourg, 18-25 juillet 2010) (Cahiers de la Bibliothèque Copte), Paris: De Boccard.
2014 (in press). Translating Monkeys between Demotic and Greek, or Why a Lynx Is Not Always a Wildcat: (λυκό)λυγξ = (wnš-)kwf. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 188.
2013. On a Ghost Hieratic Narrative from the Late Period and Re-invent(ori)ed Papyrus Fragments: pBerlin P. 23058 + 23212a–b. Göttinger Miszellen: Beiträge zur ägyptologischen Diskussion 238: 85–89.
2013. Orthographic Differentiations in Verbal Forms and Converters: An Early Demotic Case Study (P. Ryl. 5). In: S.P. Vleeming (ed.), Aspects of Demotic Orthography: Acts of an International Colloquium Held in Trier, 8 November 2010 (Studia Demotica 11), Leuven / Paris / Walpole MA: Peeters: 69–97.
2013. Dreams, Bilingualism, and Oneiromancy in Ptolemaic Egypt: Remarks on a Recent Study. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 184: 85–101.
2012. Papyrus Berlin P. 8769: A New Look at the Text and the Reconstruction of a Lost Demotic Dream Book. In: V.M. Lepper (ed.), Forschung in der Papyrussammlung: Eine Festgabe für das Neue Museum (Ägyptische und Orientalische Papyri und Handschriften des Ägyptischen Museums und Papyrussammlung Berlin 1), Berlin: Akademie Verlag: 309–328.
2012. For a New Edition of P.Lond.Lit. 192: Current Research on the Greek Version of the Myth of the Sun’s Eye. In: P. Schubert (ed.), Actes du 26e Congrès international de papyrologie (Genève, 16–21 août 2010) (Recherches et Rencontres 30), Genève: Librairie Droz: 627–634.
2012 (with J. Malek). Hector Horeau: An Extraordinary Architect and Traveller. Ancient Egypt: The History, People and Culture of the Nile Valley 73 (vol. 13/1): 33–43.
2012. Classifying Dreams, Classifying the World: Ancient Egyptian Oneiromancy and Demotic Dream Books. In: H. Abd El Gawad / N. Andrews / M. Correas-Amador / V. Tamorri / J. Taylor (eds.), Current Research in Egyptology 2011: Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Symposium Which Took Place at Durham University, United Kingdom March 2011, Oxford / Oakville: Oxbow Books: 167–177.
2007. Indagini sul teatro nell’Egitto antico. Stratagemmi: Prospettive teatrali 1 (2007): 7–47.
2006. Chapter III (Epistolario) – Chapter IV (Note filologiche e bibliografiche; with L. Narucchi) – Chapter VII (Varia; with L. Narucchi). In: Gli archivi egittologici dell’Università degli Studi di Milano: vol. I: Il fondo Elmar Edel (Il Filarete 230), Milano: LED: 117–215, 217–298, 369–407.
2004. Lavori in corso: Gli archivi fotografici di Alexandre Varille. Bollettino Associazione Per-Megiat Onlus 3: 25-28.

Online Publications

2011 (database editing with J. Malek and E. Fleming). Petrie’s Photographs of Egypt: Landscapes, Monuments, People. See here
2010 (cataloguing, editing, and introduction). Watercolours of Egypt, Made by Hector Horeau in 1838, now in the Archive of the Griffith Institute. See here
2009 (cataloguing and editing with J. Malek). Segal MSS. Drawings, Notes, Negatives and Prints of Furniture from the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV 62 in the Valley of the Kings). See here