The aim of the Telamon project, which is hosted by St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, Department of Classics, is to create a digital library of the ancient Greek inscriptions found in Bulgaria. Their total number counts more than 3500 written in a period of about 1000 years (6th century BC — 4th century AD). Georgi Mihailov publishes those that have been discovered up to the mid 80’s in Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae.
The focus is currently on the digitilising the inscriptions of the most eminent poleis of the Roman Thrace, Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana. They are approximately 1600, 1200 of which are already included in IGBulg. A third of them, however, need some revision or correction, while other 400 are unpublished or published in dispersed and often inaccessible publications in Bulgarian. Therefore, we hope that the creating of an electronic database of these inscriptions will facilitate the study of the history, culture, and language both of the Bulgarian lands in antiquity and of the Greco-Roman civilization as a whole.
The main standard of applying the XML language in encoding the epigraphic monuments, known as EpiDoc and developed by an international team of specialists, will be put into operation.
30 September, 2008
24 September, 2008
This is the first of two posts arising from recent and ongoing work (some of which I’ve been involved in) on the Antikythera Mechanism. Two installments of this project have been published in Nature, in 2006 and 2008. For a partial bibliography see:
A classic (but now very outdated) study is Derek de Solla Price, Gears From the Greeks, 1974.
The Mechanism was a bronze gearwork device for displaying astronomical and chronological cycles and phenomena. It was recovered from the “Antikythera Wreck” c. 1900, and now consists of some 80 or so fragments in the Archeological Museum in Athens. From several considerations, including most usefully some datable coins from Pergamum and Ephesus recovered from the wreck in 1976, the wreck can be dated to after (but probably not very long after) 70 B.C., and its cargo was luxury items (bronze and marble statuary, glassware, and of course our Mechanism itself).
It is generally assumed, with good reason, that the vessel got its cargo from one or more places in Asia Minor and the Aegean, and was heading west, maybe to Italy. The Mechanism, however, turns out, as we recently discovered, to have had an inscribed dial displaying the current date according to the Corinthian calendar, which means that it was made for–if not in fact made in–one of the several regions (Corinth, NW Greece, parts of Sicily, all on the “wrong” side of Antikythera) where this calendar was used. This is obviously puzzling. (I’ll return to the subject of the Corinthian calendar in my second post.)
We’d also really like to know the approximate date of the Mechanism: obviously it predates the wreck, thus can hardly be later than mid-first-century B.C., but was it new then or, like the statues in the cargo, already old? There seems little prospect of getting help with this question from analysis of the (in any case extremely corroded) metal. The astronomical knowledge built into the Mechanism would fit the first century, but we don’t know enough about earlier Hellenistic astronomy to be able to rule out the 2nd century or even the 3rd, though such an early date would go against a lot of current assumptions about what 3rd century B.C. Greek astronomy looked like. The only independent evidence we seem to have for the date is the paleography of the abundant inscriptions which were engraved on practically all the available exterior surfaces plus some supplementary plates.
23 September, 2008
Several academic seminar programmes are being advertised at the moment. Here is a selection from recent posts that may be of interest to epigraphers:
University of Manchester: Classics & Ancient History
CA Wed. 22 October, 5.30 pm, Samuel Alexander Building, Room A. 7
Paul Holder (John Rylands University Library Manchester)
The newly discovered (and unusual) inscribed altar from Manchester
Faculty of Classics, Cambridge, room G.21, 5.15pm
17th November: Peter Liddel, Manchester
“Responding to resistance in ancient Greece”
Institute of Classical Studies, 5pm, Senate House North Block NG 14
Greek Literature Seminar 2008
24 November: Ivana Petrovic (Durham), “Hellenistic epigrams and literary criticism”
Announcements of any other seminars welcome!
Noted on the website of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens:
La fin de l’épigraphie latine dans l’Orient grec: paléographie et chronologie
September 29, 2008 18:00
École française d’Athènes, Salle de Conférences, Didotou 6, 106 80 Athènes
Speaker: Denis Feissel
Séminaire de l’École française d’Athènes
Lundi 29 Septembrem 18 h
Invité: Denis Feissel, Professeur au Collège de France
La fin de l’épigraphie latine dans l’Orient grec: paléographie et chronologie
Salle de conférences de l’EfA
Renseignements : 210-36-79-904
18 September, 2008
Among Richard Sadler’s latest additions to the Finds page on the Berlin-Kent Ostia Excavations Blog (18 September 2008), we find a fragment of a slate tablet, preserving 6 or more lines of incised Greek, to judge from the photo (I cannot make out enough of the text to offer a transcription here). Sadler tentatively interprets this object, found in fill, as evidence that the forum housed a school in Roman times.
This is the second item of epigraphic interest presented online by the team (see our discussion of the first fragment). Luke Lavan’s post yesterday on the main blog gives us hope that we’ll soon see more:
The cleaning of the facade has revealed a number of new layers, including a destruction layer which apparently overlies the earliest Trajanic phase of the floor and may give a TPQ date for the building of the facade in its final form. A well-cut inscription came out this layer and is being identified. Elsewhere on site inscriptions are becoming more comon as parts of the paving are being removed. Such thin inscribed pieces were popularly reused as veneers and paving slabs, and many more likely to have been used, with their inscribed faces down , as Late Roman architects sought to create a paving surface reusing the epigraphic monuments of a previous and perhaps forgotten generation. The re-used material or ’spolia’ is likely to become a key focus of the project. Today Richard Sadler and Diana Everett began to survey the spolia around the forum with some interesting results. We hope to use infomation from the nature of the reuse of stonework to try to phase and date different walls, which often contain similar pieces, suggesting that they were laid down at a similar moment in time.
17 September, 2008
Wieland Willker, on his Textual Criticism bulletin board, has posted (and continues to update) pictures, comments and queries on an inscribed cup (rude pop-up advert there), allegedly excavated by Franck Goddio’s team from the harbor at Alexandria earlier this summer and now in Madrid for an exhibition. The post reacts to (and links to) a piece in Der Spiegel (2008-09-18) by Matthias Schulz, unfortunately titled “Heiliger Gral vom Nil,” wherein Klaus Hallof, André Bernand, Manfred Clauss and David Fabre are quoted in the context of the following question about the inscribed text appearing prominently on the cup (ΔΙΑΧΡΗΣΤΟΥΟΓΟΙΣΤΑΙΣ):
“DIA CHRESTOU OGOISTAIS”. Was bedeutet das?
Readers are invited to provide additional information or opinions in comments here.
On his blog Historical Archaeology in the Ancient Mediterranean, Brandon Olson has started writing about a paper he’s recently started working on in which he aims to:
compare the glandes Perusinae with Greek examples to examine how each tradition used language to promote violence
13 September, 2008
Paid-up members of the British Epigraphy Society will have last week received a copy of issue #19 of the BES Newsletter, either by email or in print. (I note that the online archive at http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/BES/Newsletter.htm does not have this issue online yet–although issue 18 [Winter 2007] is listed as “Autumn 2008″.) I shall not reproduce the whole newsletter here without permission, but the news reported within it includes:
- 2008 Autumn Colloquium and Annual General Meeting, November 22, oragnized by Charlotte Tupman at King’s College London. (If we haven’t yet announced this on this blog we should and shall soon.)
- Practical Epigraphy Workshop, late June/early July 2009 (tba)
- Day School: The History of Writing in the Classical World, Oxford, October 25, 2008 (CE announced here)
- Report on Cambridge Epigraphy day, February 2008 (CE reported here, here, here, here, and here)
- Report on BES Spring meeting in Durham
- Report on Practical Epigraphy Workshop, York, 24-26 June 2008
- Report on epigraphic papers at Triennial Conference, Oxford
- Review of Ἔδοξεν τῇ βουλῇ καὶ τῷ δήμῳ
To offer contributions or suggestions for the next newletter, please write to Peter Haarer, 19 Purcell Road, Marston, Oxford, OX3 0EZ, e-mail: email@example.com.
News from Nathan Badoud:
The site www.amphoreus.org represents the on-line database of the « Bulletin amphorologique » edited by the Revue des études grecques. Not only does it allow readers to look up all the reviews appearing in the Bulletin, it also annouces the publication of studies dealing with amphoras and their stamps, automatically including them in the list of new publications ; where necessary these studies will also be reviewed in the Bulletin. Moreover, a text bank and a picture bank allow one to publish documents online, while the agenda and the forum help to keep up to date with the latest developments in amphora research. The norms for the publication of amphora stamps and a list of bibliographical abbreviations are also available.
Browsing texts and images appears to require registration (which means that they can not be indexed by search engines, preserved by web archives, or processed dynamically, which is a shame). But nice to see this resource online and free, in any case.
12 September, 2008
Axel Gering and Luke Lavan have just opened up access to the Finds section of their Berlin-Kent Ostia Excavations blog, where they are providing a chronicle of their team’s work-in-progress on “a square porticoed plaza on the main street in front of the main baths” at Ostia, known as the “Foro dell Statua Eroica” (here’s a more-or-less correctly placed, third-party photo with map from Panoramio of a statue on the perimeter; KML of same for Google Earth).
Among the small finds recovered during initial devegetation and cleaning of the excavation site, the team recovered an inscribed marble fragment broken on all sides (scroll down the Finds page to the heading “inscription”). From their photo, I think I see the remains of four lines of text, as follows:
- – - – ]++[ - -
- - ]+IGEN[ - -
- - ]OCVLVS?[ - -
- - - - ]+[ - -
The N in line 2 and the O and S in line 3 are fragmentary by virtue of damage to the stone. Assuming a list of names, we might venture --- Pri]m?igen[ius --- for line 2 and --- Pr]oculus?[ — for line 3.
In the description accompanying the photo, dated 8 September 2008, Richard Sadler writes:
Opinions vary concerning its original function, some think it may have been from a grave that fell out of use from the city’s necropolis, others think it may have formed part of some sort of secular decree, list of permissions or other public notice. Whatever the exact function may have been, it is still an impressive and beautiful find, dating to the 2nd century A.D.
8 September, 2008
Seen this morning in BMCR 2008.09.18:
Christos C. Tsagalis, Inscribing Sorrow: Fourth-century Attic Funerary Epigrams. Trends in Classics – Supplementary Volumes 1. Berlin/New York: Walter De Gruyter, 2008. Pp. xiv, 368. ISBN 9783110201321. $118.00.
Reviewed by Valentina Garulli, University of Bologna
Garulli gives a generally very positive review of this thorough and intelligent literary reading of a coherent collection of verse inscriptions (a field of growing interest in epigraphy these days). The penultimate paragraph introduces a note of caution, however:
At least for some inscriptions a critical apparatus quoting the main supplements proposed would have been helpful (see e.g. pp. 108f.); the reader would have welcomed also some additional information regarding the place where the stone was found and other standard editions in addition to CEG.
This I think highlights a common problem with the study of these kinds of texts (noted for example by Roueché in last month’s Digital Classicist seminar): that the scholars who look at verse and those who look at inscriptions tend to be different groups. A responsible edition of any text—but especially one that exists in a single, possibly incomplete copy—surely needs to consider not only the literary and historical context, but also the material context, the location, archaeological information, appearance of the text and any decorative features, and especially the history of and grounds for any restorations or emendations.
3 September, 2008
This will be the ninth and final installment of our summer-long “Virtual Seminar on Some Unpublished Inscriptions from Corinth.” The other eight posts may be found by following the links backwards from here. I want to thank all of you who have participated in this seminar and who made it a most fruitful experience. I also want to wish my friend, colleague, and fellow epigrapher Don Laing all the best as he continues to struggle with the effects of his chemotherapy.
This final post features a fragment of white, micaceous marble preserving the upper right corner of an inscription of at least eight lines with red paint preserved in many letters. It is broken to the left, below, and on the back. It was found 12 August, 1977 in Quarry Trench XVI. A pair of parallel register lines has been lightly incised 0.009 and 0.010 m. respectively from the top edge of the stone establishing an upper margin. Intermittent faint traces of register lines appear above lines two to eight at intervals of 0.010 m. Photo, squeeze, and autopsy of stone.
Height, 0.088 m. ; width, 0.090 m. ; thickness, 0.038 m.
Height of letters, 0.004 to 0.008 m. ; interspace, 0.002 to 0. 003 m.
Corinth inventory I-77-10 ; NB 652, p. 61 ; NB(FI) 687, pp. 36-37, Object 829
fin. IV – med. II a. NON-STOIX
[θεό]ς̣· vac. 0.084 m. 1
[— — — — — ]ρίτου vac. 0.038 m.
[— — — — — —] τετάρται
[— — — — — —]ύ̣δωρον v
[— — — — — —]σσαν v 5
[— — — — — —]πολιτεί-
[α— — — — — —]το vac. 0.030 m.
[— — — — — — —]υ̣ς v
[— — — — — — — —]
Line 1: The final letter trace can be a gamma, sigma or tau. Given that it appears we have the upper right corner of a decree, [θεό]ς̣ seems likely. If [θεό]ς̣ was written without spaces between each letter and centered, the maximum number of letters per line was circa 25. That some care was taken to align this inscription is evident from the use of register lines.
Line 2: These letters probably belong to the end of a name rather than to the number [τ]ρίτου. If the numeral, we find μηνὸς τρίτου on some cities’ inscriptions, but the numeral in the dative in line 4 seems to preclude this. If a numeral it probably applies to some office, official body, or year ([ἔτους τ]ρίτου).
Line 3: We apparently have only the second instance of the day of a month on which a decree was passed attested at Corinth. The second alpha at the end signals that we do not have the koine.
Line 4: Only the upper right tip of a diagonal is visible, and upsilon seems most likely.
Line 5: The inscribing of the preserved portion of this line was difficult because of micaceous flaws in the surface. The letters ΣΣΑΝ belong either to the proper name [Κα]σσαν|[δρ-], or the ethnic [Κα]σσαν|[δρε-]; less likely is the word [θάλα]σσαν. The ethnic [Με]σσαν|[ιο-] seems to be excluded, for the inscriber observes syllabification (cf. line 6) so the iota should have appeared at the end of the line where there is plenty of space. It is not clear whether a patronymic was found in the lacuna, or perhaps the name of a second honorandus.
Line 6: The inscriber was so determined to observe word-end/syllabification that he risked chipping the stone by inscribing the final iota only 0.002 m. from the edge. The resulting chip has left only half of the iota’s hasta. The appearance of the word πολιτεί|[α—] (or [ἰσο]πολιτεί|[α—]) is the strongest indication that we have a proxeny decree (καὶ εἶμεν αὐτῶι καὶ ἐκγόνοις πολιτείαν…), for which we have only one other sure instance at Korinth (ICor 8,1 3).
Line 7: A piece of the tau’s vertical hasta is just visible. It is not clear why the inscriber left so much space to the right. If we compare this inscription with ICor 8,1 3, possibly we have some sort of preamble in lines 1-5 that ends with the phrase [πᾶσαν ἐπιμέλειαν ἐποιήσα]το, and then on the next line we have ἔδοξε τᾶι ἐκκλησίαι… or the verb [ἐψηφίσα]το. On the other hand, given that the name [—]ύ̣δωρον is in the accusative, we expect the clause ἔδοξε τᾶι ἐκκλησίαι to appear just before it, as it does on ICor 8,1 3.
Line 8: The initial traces preserve the tips of two diagonals that favor upsilon over chi. The next letter has only the upper horizontal with its left corner of what must have been a sigma.
We have a decree, probably a proxeny decree, but it is difficult to find a typical reconstruction that fits all the extant lines. Complicating matters of restoration is that on the only other extant proxeny decree from Korinth, there is what appears to be a random vacat of 3 letter spaces in the middle of one of the clauses. An admittedly very laconic reconstruction (and unparalleled from line 6 onwards) of a proxeny decree could be:
[θεό]ς̣· vac. 0.084 m. 1
[ἐπὶ γραμματέος . .6-7.. ]ρίτου vac. 0.038 m.
[μηνὸς . . . . c. 11 . . .] τετάρται
[ἔδοξε τᾶι ἐκκλησίαι· Ε]ὔ̣δωρον v
[— — patronymic — Κα]σσαν- 5
[δρέα πρόξενον εἶμεν·] πολιτεί-
[αν δὲ αὐτῶι εἶμεν· — —]το vac. 0.030 m.
[— — — — — — — — —]υ̣ς v
[— — — — — — — — — —]
If wider, then we might have:
[θ ε ό ]ς̣· vac. 0.084 m. 1
[ἐπὶ γραμματ— — — — — — — — — — — —]ρίτου vac. 0.038 m.
[— — — — — — — — — — — μηνὸς — — — —] τετάρται
[— — — — — — — — — — ἔδοξε τᾶι ἐκκλησίαι· Ε]ὔ̣δωρον v
[— patronymic — καὶ — nomen — patronymic — Κα]σσαν- 5
[δρεῖς προξένους εἶμεν καὶ εὐεργέτας καὶ εἶμεν αὐτοῖς] πολιτεί-
[αν — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]το vac. 0.030 m.
[— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]υ̣ς v
[— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]
2 September, 2008
BOOK-SALES of 20% for members of AIEGL
1 September, 2008
From this month’s BMCR titles received, those of particular interest to epigraphers include:
Binder, Vera, Martin Korenjak and Beate Noack (ed., trans., comm.). Epitaphien: Tod, Totenrede, Rhetorik; Auswahl, Übersetzung und Kommentar. Subsidia classica, Bd. 10. Rahden/Westf.: Verlag Marie Leidorf, 2007. 358 p. €39.80 (pb). ISBN 9783867571821.
Bodel, John and Saul M. Olyan (edd.). Household and family religion in antiquity. The ancient world: comparative histories. Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Pub., 2008. xii, 324 p. $100.00. ISBN 9781405175791.
Dubois, Laurent. Inscriptions grecques dialectales de Sicile. Tome II. Hautes Études du monde gréco-romain 40. Genève: Droz, 2008. 220 p. $82.00 (pb). ISBN 9782600013406.
Hartnett, Matthew. By Roman hands: inscriptions and graffiti for students of Latin. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 2008. xvii, 110 p. $16.95 (pb). ISBN 9781585102945.
Kitchen, K. A. Ramesside inscriptions. Translations. Vol. 5, Setnakht, Ramesses III and contemporaries. Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. xxiv, 523 p. $400.00. ISBN 9780631184317.
As circulated by AIEGL:
XVe Rencontre franco-italienne d’épigraphie du monde romain
3-4 Octobre 2008
Colons et Colonies
dans l’Empire romain
Collège de France & Fondation Hugot du Collège de France
EPHE – Section des Sciences Historiques et Philologiques
UMR 8585 (CNRS – Paris I – Paris IV – EPHE)
CRESCA (Université Paris XIII)
Inscription obligatoire auprès de
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