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Fachbereich Alte Geschichte, Sabine Huebner
“I haven’t yet not been unthinking of you, for I make obeisance for you every day”: Formulas and Their Special Use in Ancient Private Letters
Soon after the sixth century BCE, from which the earliest Greek private letters have survived, letter writers began to develop various formulas and clichés to express some of their main intentions more briefly but still effectively. Their frequent use also helped the reader to recognize and understand the writer’s intentions. Some of these formulas are introductory, while others are transitional, concluding, or disclosing. Modern readers often tend to think of letter formulas as something “merely formal,” less authentic, less honest, or less serious. But this is far from accurate. Even for something as simple as the opening greeting, many a letter writer chose from a pool of variants and tended to modify a formula according to individual need or taste. This is all the more true for other formulas such as health wish, prayer report, remembrance motif, thanksgiving report, or report of joy. Some scribes even created their own personal and individual style, which nevertheless revealed the underlying pattern.
Meeting-ID: 946 2211 0821
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