Recent scholarship on writing and literacy in the Roman world has been attentive to the role of enslaved literate workers in the production of texts. Yet when it comes to evaluating the potential contributions of enslaved laborers we find ourselves at an impasse. How can we identify changes that an enslaved writer might have introduced? How could we assume that any element of the text comes from a secretary rather than the slaveholding “author”? And if enslaved secretaries were at liberty to make changes to a text, how would we recognize these alterations? Utilizing the method of critical fabulation and revisions to a particular literary fragment (P. Berol. 11632) as a test-case, this article explores the range of collaborative possibilities that can account for textual revisions and asks what difference it might make to view such changes as the product of enslaved workers and their experience.

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