Palme, Bernhard: Emotional Strategies in Petitions of Dioscorus of Aphroditê. Version 01.
To be published in: A. Chaniotis and C. Kotsifou (eds), Emotional Display, Persuasion, and Rhetoric in the Papyri. American Studies in Papyrology, Ann Arbor.
Abstract: Early in the 20th century, a fortunate discovery of a bulk papyri at Aphroditês kôme, modern Kôm Ishgâu in Upper Egypt, brought several hundred documentary and some dozens of literary texts to the attention of scholars, which once were the papers of a certain Dioscorus, son of Apollôs. Dioscorus lived in the age of Justinian. From the dates of the documents it may be inferred that he was born around 520 AD. Soon after 575 AD we lose his traces. He spoke and wrote Coptic as well as Greek and was one of the well-to-do landowners (ktêtores) of his village. As a man of certain social standing and education, Dioscorus took over responsibilities for the affairs of his village and upon the death of his father Apollôs in 545 AD followed him as one of the foremen (prôtokômêtai) of Aphroditês kôme (or Aphroditê, as it was called in shortened form). In this capacity, Dioscorus addressed several petitions to various authorities of the Eastern Roman Empire. In those documents he frequently refers to emotions to support his arguments. The following study will try to figure out, which are the emotional motives and patterns, how and where he uses them, and if he uses these ‘emotional strategies’ intentionally.