The ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts

The ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts

*Please note that this course will run only if two or more students enroll.

Course Description: Objectives of the course are: 1) reinforcement of grammar and lexicon through the real examples found in the CT, 2) ability to read and understand the most important passages from the CT both from linguistic and cultural viewpoint, 3) acquisition of knowledge about ancient Egyptian beliefs of Middle Kingdom and contemporary rituals through these sources. Methods of the course are: reinforcement of the student’s knowledge through 1) reading aloud the formulae to be studied (pronunciation, phonetics), 2) active grammatical analysis by the student of the forms contained in the passages studied basing on what has been learned in the previous course (morphology), 3) creation of a personal vocabulary based on semantic fields in the anthropologic area of religion and conceptions about hereafter (lexicon, culture). The program basically follows the structure of grammatical topics of the first course. Each lesson will focus on a particular formula containing examples of a grammatical topic studied in the first course. Since the first cycle of the first course was on writing, which here is considered achieved, the last lessons will focus on formulae containing more advanced morphosyntactic topics which have not been introduced in the first course, granting a deeper knowledge of the language for the student who will have frequented the lessons.


Level: The course is for beginners who already know the writing system and the fundamentals of the Egyptian grammar and lexicon, and its purpose is to establish this knowledge through examples from real ancient Egyptian texts with religious content and high significance for the Egyptian culture, which are the characteristics of the Coffin Texts (CT), one of the three major corpora of religious texts of ancient Egypt together with the Pyramid Texts (PT) and the Book of the Dead (BoD). The language of the course could be English, but, if there are people who already studied Latin and are interested in learning a new ancient language in Latin, I would be more than happy to teach in Latin. I would anyway switch to English whenever needed.

Textbook: Instructor will provide materials. 

Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 1:00-2:20pm U.S. Eastern Time


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Stefano Vittori

Stefano Vittori had his Bachelor Degree in “Lettere Classiche” at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2011 with a thesis of Latin language and literature on the rendering of classic metrics in Italian language (supervisor prof. L. Gamberale). Subsequently, he had his Master’s Degree in Orientalistics at the University of Pisa in 2014 with a thesis of Egyptology on the “Dialogue between a Man and his Ba” (pBerlin 3024) (supervisor prof. M. Betrò). At the same University, he completed his Ph. D. summa cum laude and with rights of publication in 2018 with an Egyptology thesis about the orthographic variations in relationship with morphology occurring in the Pyramid Texts (supervisor prof. M. Betrò, prof. A. Loprieno, and prof. A. Stauder). During his Ph. D., he published for specialized journals both in the field of Egyptology and more generally in those of Linguistics (es. “Egitto e Vicino Oriente”, “Latinitas”). In Latin, on “Latinitas”, he wrote an article about the similarities between the ancient Egyptian Lamentation literature and the Roman Satire (“Latinitas” 2014). Since 2018, he has translated popular songs, mostly Disney’s, into Latin, to be sung by Luke Amadeus Ranieri on his channel ScorpioMartianus. Some of these pieces, like “In igni”, “Duce me”, or “Mundus pateat”, have reached a considerable audience. One of the last pieces, “the Wellerman’s song”, is in ancient Egyptian, and adapts the content of the middle Egyptian tale of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” (pLeningrad 1115) using the reconstructed vocalization based on Vergote’s, Osing’s, and Vycichls’s studies. On his own Youtube channel, he delves mainly with metrics, publishing recitations of both prose and poetry, and, since 2022, he began with Marina Garanin a cycle of lessons held in Latin about ancient Egyptian language and writing. Since 2021, he has taught ancient Egyptian language in the Athena Nova private school and Latin and Greek in the Italian public High School “A. Meucci” of Aprilia (Latium), where he developed a method strongly based on historical and comparative linguistics, which is focused on morphology and on etymology as a tool for memorizing lexicon, producing didactic materials of his own. His original poetic compositions have been published on the international review “Vox latina”. In 2022, he wrote a Latin tragedy in iambic trimeters and lyrical meters, “Medeae daemones”, which was awarded two prizes in the international contest “Thalia” (Vicenza, August 1st-7th, 2022).