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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers the extent to which the surviving documentation from the five-hundred-year period from Cambyses to Cleopatra allows us to investigate and reconstruct the changing contexts of language use and linguistic practices. It looks primarily at the main languages of the papyrological documentation such as Egyptian (demotic script), Aramaic, and Greek. It also considers Phoenician, Carian, Latin, and other languages. It examines who used which language and in what contexts, how widespread bilingualism may have been in different periods of non-Egyptian rule, how far Aramaic under the Persians and later, following Alexander's conquest, Greek took on the role of prestige languages, and, in contrast, which areas were linguistically unaffected by foreign conquest.

Keywords: Cambyses, Cleopatra, language use, linguistic practices, demotic script, papyrological documentation, Aramaic language, bilingualism, Alexander's conquest

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