• Slobodanka S. Prtija University of Banja Luka Faculty of Philosophy



letter, sending and receiving letters, types of letters, Greece


The development of ancient epistolography could be associated with the very development of literacy in Greece. Apart from its original function, to transfer a notice to a distant person, the letter has expanded its realm over time. Trough an overview of the letters preserved in the Greek language area and in the works of Greek authors, we can see various functions the letter assumed – both in everyday life and in literature. Numerous accounts and fragments of letters, from short business notice on lead tablets to private letters written on papyrus, which served as a means for preserving familiar or friendly relationships, point to a great popularity of the letter in ancient times. Given the flexibility of its form and the possibility of its usage on a number of occasions, whether public or private, both by the educated and by the uneducated, we notice that the epistolary form, as a means of communication, soon became firmly rooted in the Greek cultural area. The paper aims at highlighting the very beginning of developing the form of letter in Greece, its basic elements and characteristics, as well as the terms used for it in the Greek language.


Ceccarelli, Paola (2013), Ancient Greek Letter Writing: A Cultural History (600–150 BC), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gibson, R., Morrison A. D. (2007), ‘Introduction: What is a Letter?’ in: Morello, R., and Morrison A. D. (eds.), Ancient Letters: Classical and Late Antique Epistolography, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1–17.

Klauck, Hans-Josef (2006), Ancient Letters and the New Testament, A Guide to Context and Exegesis, Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S. (1968), A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Malherbe, Abraham (1988), Ancient Epistolary Theorists, Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Muir, J. V. (2009), Life and letters in the ancient Greek world. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Prtija, Slobodanka (2014), „Kako su antički pisci označavali pismo? Grčka terminologija”, Književna istorija, 46/153, 359–379.

Prtija, Slobodanka (2016), Kako su Grci i Rimljani pisali pisma. Antička epistolarna teorija, Banja Luka: Udruženje za flozofju i društvenu misao.

Rosenmeyer, Patricia A. (2002), Ancient Epistolary Fiction. The letter in Greek literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sarri, Antonia (2018), Material Aspects of Letter Writing in the Graeco-Roman World (500 BC–AD 300), Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter.

Senc, Stjepan (1991), Grčko-hrvatski rječnik. Zagreb: Naprijed.

Stirewalt, Luther M. (1993), Studies in Ancient Greek Epistolography, Society of Biblical Literature: Resources for Biblical Study 27, Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Sykutris, Johannes (1931), „Epistolographie”, Real-Encyklopädie der klassischen Altertumwissenschaf, hrsg. Pauly A., Wissowa V. G., Kroll W., Suppl. V, Stuttgart: Alfred Druckenmüller Verlag, 185–220.

Trapp, Michael (2003), Greek and Latin Letters, An anthology, with translation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Van den Hout, Michiel (1949), ”Studies in Early Greek Letter-Writing”, Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, vol. 2, fasc. 1, 19–41.

Van den Hout, Michiel (1949), ”Studies in Early Greek Letter-Writing”, Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, vol. 2, fasc. 2, 138–153.




How to Cite

S. Prtija, S. . (2022). ANCIENT EPISTOLOGRAPHY: THE DEVELOPMENT OF LETTER-WRITING IN GREECE. PHILOLOGIST – Journal of Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies, 13(25), 189–202.