Current Epigraphy
ISSN: 1754-0909

20 May, 2009

EpiDoc Training Workshops, 2009

Filed under: AIEGL,EpiDoc,events,training — Gabriel Bodard @ 16:10

EpiDoc Training Sessions 2009
London 20-24 July
Rome 21-25 September

The EpiDoc community has been developing protocols for the publication of inscriptions, papyri, and other documentary Classical texts in TEI-compliant XML: for details see the community website at

Over the last few years there has been increasing demand for training by scholars wishing to use EpiDoc. We are delighted to be able to announce two training workshops, which will be offered in 2009. Both will be led by Dr Gabriel Bodard. These sessions will benefit scholars working on Greek or Latin documents with an interest in developing skills in the markup, encoding, and exploitation of digital editions. Competence in Greek and/or Latin, and knowledge of the Leiden Conventions will be assumed; no particular computer skills are required.

London session, 20-24 July 2009. This will take place at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, 26-29 Drury Lane. The cost of attendance will be £50 for students; £100 for employees of universities or other non-profit institutions; £200 for employees of commercial institutions. Those interested in enrolling should apply to Dr Bodard, by 20 June 2009.

We hope to be able to offer some follow-up internships after the session, to enable participants to consolidate their experience under supervision; please let us know if that would be of interest to you.

Rome session, 21-25 September 2009. This will take place at the British School at Rome. Thanks to the generous support of the International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, the British School and Terra Italia Onlus, attendance will be free.

Those interested in enrolling should apply to Dr Silvia Orlandi, by 30 June 2009.

Practical matters
Both courses will run from Monday to Friday starting at 10.00 am and ending at 16.00 each day.

Participants should bring a wireless-enabled laptop. You should acquire and install a copy of Oxygen *and* either an educational licence ($48) or a 30-day trial licence (free). Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use it!

19 May, 2009

Instrumenta Inscripta III (Macerata, June 11-12, 2009)

Filed under: events — Gabriel Bodard @ 13:45

The programme for the Instrumenta Inscripta III conference has just been circulated (in PDF only, apparently not online, although the congress is listed at the Terra Italia Onlus events page).

Instrumenta Inscripta III

Manufatti iscritti e vita dei santuari in età romana

Macerata, 11-12 Giugno 2009, Aula Magna, Università degli Studi

Segretaria del convegno: Giulia Baratta – Silvia M. Marengo. <>; Tel. 0733/2583562

(The full programme is stored in the PDF as an image, so cannot be copied here and the file is too large to attach. Contact the organizers for more information.)

18 May, 2009

Gray, ‘Reconciliation of the Dikaiopolitans’ (Oxford, May 2, 2009)

Filed under: BES,events,report — Gabriel Bodard @ 10:18

Paper delivered at the British Epigraphy Society Spring Colloquium, May 2nd, 2009, Oxford.

In the first presentation of the day Benjamin Gray gave a very thorough and densely packed study of the recently published decree from the Eretrian colony of Dikaia, dated between 365-359 BCE in the reign of Perdikkas III (Voutiras/Sismanides 2008 = BE 2008:263, 339).

The decree attempts to effect a reconciliation of the citizen body of this polis after some kind of civil strife, largely by imposing an amnesty on prosecutions for wrongs committed before the archonship of Gorgythos (with the exception of murders, which can be prosecuted on a single day at the end of the month of Daphnephorion). This moratorium, and the heavy penalties imposed on anyone who should attempt to break it, was clearly meant to draw a close to troubles that were threatening to tear the city apart. It is not known whether this was the result of social struggles between Macedonian and Amphipolitan influences, for example, or whether it was a purely local stasis. Perdikkas III of Macedon is appealed to to enforce this decree.

As such amnesties go, allowing even murder trials at all is both unusual and risky, which tells us something about the unique situation in this polis. There was a particularly strong concern for justice and the rule of law (the choice of the city’s name, Δίκαια, may itself have been politically motivated), for contract and procedure above the usual political virtues of stability and concord that are behind amnesties such as those as Alipheira, at Athens in 403, for example.

Gray concluded with some remarks on Greek ideas about the polis, oaths and pledges, and purification. There was vigorous and rich discussion among the audience on the readings of the epigraphic text. (Charles Crowther pointed out that the restoration of γνώμη]ν at the end of line 1 was impossible on grammatical grounds; Angelos Chaniotis added that it was also legally impossible, since Lykios was not a member of the community that passed this decree until after it was passed. Robert Parker also pointed out that the difficult reading δ̣ικασάτω st the start of line 8, must in fact read ὁρκωσάτω. If this was indeed a case of calling in foreign judges to settle a dispute, it is the earliest precedent for what later became a relatively common Hellenistic practice; Chaniotis pointed out that the violation of the sacred law of ἀσυλία in lines 6-7 was a clear sign of desperation, that this amnesty was a last resort attempt at reconciliation.)

13 May, 2009

A. Chaniotis, ‘From Woman to Woman: Female Voices in Dedicatory Inscriptions’ (Oxford, May 2, 2009)

Filed under: BES,events,report — Charlotte Tupman @ 10:49

Paper delivered at the British Epigraphy Society Spring Colloquium, May 2nd, 2009, Oxford.

The third paper of the Spring Colloquium was an exploration of female voices and emotions in sanctuaries. Chaniotis began by examining the literary evidence for typical female ritual behaviour, noting that authors including Diogenes Laertius (Vit. Phil. VI, 37-38), Theocritus (Id. II, 66-74; XV, 84-86) and Herodas (IV, 1-13) tend to ascribe certain (often negative) characteristics to women’s ritual behaviour. Amongst these characteristics are the wearing of special garments and make-up; vanity; chattering and gossiping in loud voices; exaggerated gestures; pushing past one another; and disorderly behaviour in general. Such behaviour is not in fact exclusively feminine, but is presented as such in the literary sources.

Inscribed dedications provide us with a rich source of information on female ritual behaviour. The emotions expressed in these dedications cannot be ignored, but must be contextualised. Chaniotis chose two sites as case studies for examining female voices: the sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods at Leukopetra, and the sanctuary of Demeter at Knidos. In each case he identified the standard formulae used for these dedications and explored the nature and significance of each of the deviations from the stereotypical formulae.

At Leukopetra, three main deviations from the standard form of dedication occur: entreating an angry goddess; displaying affection; and displaying trust or faith in the deity. In the case of dedications entreating an angry goddess, the gender of the dedicator appears to be irrelevant. However the gender of the god is significant, as such mentions of anger of the deity are only found in sanctuaries of goddesses. Several of these dedications entrust a stolen or lost item (and even a missing slave: I.Leuk. 53) to the goddess, thus making the theft or loss in essence her problem, and forcing the deity to act to punish a wrongdoer through her own anger. Where dedications display affection, such as in dedications of slaves and children to the goddess, it it notable that those composed by women are considerably more emotional and verbose. In the case of dedications expressing faith, trust in the ability of the god to affect the lives of the dedicators in a positive way is shown: thanks are given for miracles and for helping in specific situations, for instance in the case of a woman having problems with her husband (I.Leuk. 20). Men’s voices are not absent in this sanctuary: a text which describes the delivery of a deed of sale into the arms of the goddess (I.Leuk. 3) expresses piety and emotionality, which is perhaps more common when men are dedicating to goddesses.

A space particularly dominated by female rituals is the sanctuary of Demeter at Knidos, at which strong expressions of piety take the form of deviations from the standard formulae, aiming to emphasise worshippers’ individual devotion as distinct from that of other dedicants. However, the expressions used in prayers for revenge reveal a certain amount of interaction amongst groups of women, and between female worshippers and priests, in discussing their grievances and composing these texts. Concerns include being the victims of injustice (I.Knidos 148B, ll.4-5; 154, l.6), particularly where conflicts cannot be resolved in court because of lack of evidence. In these cases, dedicators turn to prayers of revenge in which curses against perpetrators are common. Chaniotis noted that these texts would have been recited aloud, with women’s voices heard displaying strong emotions. Jealousy, hatred, suspicion, curses and theatrical gestures are all evident as types of female ritual behaviour at this sanctuary.

The dedications at Leukopetra and Knidos concern the displays of emotion that take place during communication with deities. This inevitably unequal conversation necessitates the use of a strategy of persuasion on the part of mortals, who interact with each other as well as with the deities in sanctuaries, particularly at times of festival. The dedications reveal how such gatherings can influence emotions: voices are loud, angry and sometimes sad. Where men are also present at sanctuaries, they express sentiments that they might not otherwise have displayed, an example of such ‘unmanly’ behaviour being their total surrender to the authority of the goddess (Arkesine curse tablet, IG XII.7, p.1). These texts show that religious practices are dynamic processes due to the real interaction among worshippers, including communication of personal experiences to others, and the believed interaction between deities and mortals.

11 May, 2009

R. Parker & S. Scullion, ‘Priests and Sacrifices at Aixone: the New World of SEG LIV 214′ (Oxford, 2nd May 2009)

Filed under: BES,events,report — Etienne Dunant @ 13:39

Paper delivered at the BES Spring Colloquium.

The final contribution at the 2009 BES Spring Meeting was remarkable by its conciseness, clarity and interest. It was a striking example of how some of our preconceived ideas on ancient Greek practices can be swiftly turned on their head by inscriptions.

The inscription (SEG LIV 214), dated to the 4th c. BC, is incomplete and fragmented. The stele fragments were actually discovered by different individuals over a long period of time. This led to some confusion about the original location of the inscription, with the Greek scholars’ hypothesis of its coastal origins being confirmed by the discovery of the most recent fragment in the deme of Aixone (modern Glyfada). The question of the exact location of the inscription is presumably answered by the last fragment. It was found near other inscriptions mentioning their being set up in the sanctuary of Herakleidai, Hebe and Alcmene. The text is stoichedon and beautifully inscribed. The bottom section still shows grid lines for the sculptor to follow.

The text presents several issues discussed by Parker and Scullion. To start with, the question of who had commissioned the inscription is raised by the location of the stone. The sanctuary of the Herakleidai is where the deme of Aixone displayed its decisions. This would hint at the deme as the commissioner, although the possibility of a sub-deme body, such as a genos, cannot be excluded. Indeed, line 26 mentions a hero Paralos and the only known sanctuary to Paralos is in Piraeus, outside of Aixone’s control. This leaves open the possibility of a genos dedicating the stele, or of an as yet unknown sanctuary of Paralos in the deme of Aixone.

The number of priesthoods present here amounts to ten (although some are lost with the top of the inscription) which, with two others known for Aixone, would total to twelve for the whole deme. The text notably features two priesthoods (one priestess and one priest) for the same ‘mystery deity’, the Reverend (ἁγνή) Goddess. This title is usually given to the Syrian goddess and is otherwise not attested before the 2nd c. BC. This occurrence probably belongs here to a different deity, possibly Persephone. The multiple priesthoods for the same deity are in any case unusual.

Scullion then described the last part of the inscription as changing in nature, since the content of the lists no longer includes double portions (of meat), sausages or cuts to be put on the sacrificial table. There is therefore no spare meat from the sacrifice, which in turn would indicate holocausts. The possible objection to this is the fact that hides are still given to the priest/-ess. There are examples in the Greek world of ‘whole-sacrifices’ of an animal that has been cut open (see for example at Cos, 4th c. BC, Sokolowski LSCG 151 A 32-5) but the case of Aixone is different. Here the skin is preserved. The only ancient parallels are found outside the Greek world with examples from Leviticus (1:3-9; 7:8), Philo Judaeus (De specialibus legibus 1.30 [151]) and Punic and Semitic inscriptions (CIS I 165.3-4; I 167). This could lead to the conclusion that cutting up the animal before burning it whole was a usual practice, thus explaining the otherwise silent sources on the matter. For one, it would require less wood than the whole un-skinned animal. This undoubtedly challenges the mental image of the holocaust as the act of putting an intact animal, albeit a dead one, into the fire. It is also noted that the deities at Aixone concerned by these sacrifices have a chthonic character.

Parker finally noted that the only deity for whom no sum to purchase kindling is mentioned is Dionysos (lines 9-11). This suggests the possibility of omophagia.

8 May, 2009

Ramsey, ‘Reading the Seleucid Inscribed Dossiers’ (Oxford, May 2, 2009)

Filed under: BES,events,report — Gabriel Bodard @ 16:55

Paper delivered at the British Epigraphy Society Spring Colloquium, May 2nd, 2009, Oxford.

The second paper of the day was a summary of arguments taken from a recently awarded PhD dissertation by Gillian Ramsey (Exeter). The purpose of this presentation was to show that the inscribe dossiers, containing letters to and from administrators and governors of the provinces of the Seleucid Kingdom, are not only evidence for the prosopography, offices, and administrative structures of the kingdom, but also for the network and variety of relationships between administrators and officers. As an illustration of the arguments and methodology behind this thesis, Ramsey used the example of the letters reporting and organizing the appointment in 209 BCE by Antiochus III of Nikanor to a senior priesthood. Ramsey’s approach challenges the traditional method of interpreting these texts, which is to assume that they reveal a very regular system of administration across the kingdom: rather, she demonstrated quite convincingly, not all regions of the kingdom would have be administered with identical structures. Some letters or dossiers may attest to ad hoc appointments, or to areas with different dynastic, political , or even personal situations; equating a hierarchy ranks between regions based solely on the sequence of letters in a dossier is impossible. The circulation of the news of Nikanor’s appointment, for example, and the assignment of responsibilities regarding his authority needed to be circulated widely; in some regions, working relationships and local responsibilities would have influenced who needed to be informed of these requirements more than mere hierarchy.

The epigraphic habit records the organization of the empire, and reflects the limitations and controls of individuals’ power. The letters use a polite form of greeting and address, but contain no titulature or honorifics; differences in wording or address (such as the extra greeting included in the letter of Zeuxis to Philotas, omitted in the otherwise identical text to Philomelos) may reflect an unknown relationship between the individuals, but probably also performs some political function. The addressees of the administrative letters were selected for their effectiveness at completing the task at hand (setting up and publicizing the infrastructure behind an important priesthood); the dossiers further the imperial bureaucracy and administration, and also reinforce the cohesion of regional networks. A uniform epigraphic practice does not necessarily reflect uniform organization and ranks in different regions. Rather, the variations within and between dossiers can communicate the relationships between officials as well as the interests and responsibilities of individuals.

The paper was followed by some lively discussion of the individual inscriptions and readings in this collection, and I believe the session was informative and valuable both for the audience and for the speaker.

BMCR review of Epigraphy and the Greek Historian

Filed under: review — Gabriel Bodard @ 12:30

Today’s BMCR distribution includes Claire Taylor’s review of the Philip Harding Festschrift (BMCR 2009.05.23):

Craig Cooper (ed.), Epigraphy and the Greek Historian. Phoenix Supplementary Volume, 47. Toronto/Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2008. Pp. xvii, 197. ISBN 9780802090690. $75.00.

It is worth reproducing here the thoughtful last paragraph of this review, which, while not overly critical of the volume per se, does provide a challenge to epigraphers, and especially to historians in their perceptions of epigraphy:

What is clear from this book is that every Greek historian should also be an epigrapher. But it is equally clear that every historian should be able to interpret literary and archaeological evidence as well; this is as true of places like Keos or Thera where the epigraphic or literary evidence is meagre, as it is of larger cities like Athens. Isolating epigraphy to serve only the narrow confines of ‘what the literary sources leave out’ neglects its true value to the historian. Festschriften naturally look back to a scholar’s contribution to the field—and the honorand has contributed a great deal—and (quite rightly) are defined by that scholar’s interests; the discipline of epigraphy however needs to look forward to embrace a wider range of questions than those offered here.

The value of epigraphy is of course something that exercises all of us in this sub-discipline, and comments like Taylor’s are an important reminder that open-mindedness is a two-way street. As frustrating and damaging as it is to hear a historian ignore epigraphic evidence out of disciplinary short-sightedness, it is just as alienating to see epigraphers refuse to familiarize themselves with papyrological, ethnographic, art-historical, or digital discipines and conventions. We cannot all be masters of all trades, but no Classicist works in a vacuum.

Greek Amphora Stamps (Athens, February 3-5, 2010)

Filed under: events — Gabriel Bodard @ 10:52

Circulated for Nathan Badoud:

Analysis and uses of Greek amphora stamps

International Congress
French School at Athens, University of Rennes 2 – Haute Bretagne

Athens, February 3 – 5, 2010

Full details of the conference are available (in French, Greek, or English) from  The call for presentations is open until June 15, 2009.

3 May, 2009

Call for Papers: Voprosy epigrafiki

Filed under: publications — Gabriel Bodard @ 14:17

Contributions are invited for the vol. 4 of the Voprosy epigrafiki [Problems of Epigraphy] collection. Articles submitted before 31 August 2009 will be considered.

The Voprosy epigrafiki series is published since 2006 under the aegis of the Dmitry Pozharsky private university in Russia. Second volume has been published in 2008 and vol. 3 is forthcoming. Contributions by Russian and foreign scholars on the wide range of sub-disciplines of epigraphy (Ancient Near East, Greco-Roman, Mesoamerican, Muslim, Slavonic and Old Russian) from the most ancient inscribed monuments to the Modern age are invited. Articles in Russian, English, German and French are accepted.

The editorial board consists of Prof. A.I. Ivantchik (Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Sciences), Prof. L.A. Beliaev, Prof. D.V. Deopik, Prof. O.L. Gabelko, Prof. S.Yu. Saprykin (Chair of Ancient History Department, Moscow State University). The editor-in-chief is Dr A.G. Avdeev (St Tikhon’s Orthodox University).

Further information on the series and its editorial conventions is available from the editor-in chief,

1 May, 2009

Hispania Epigraphica 14

Filed under: news,publications — JoaquinGomezPantoja @ 15:07

Slightly delayed (the Global Crisis has also hit us), the Archivo Epigráfico de Hispania (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) announces a new issue of Hispania Epigraphica (ISSN 1132-6875), a cooperative effort of several Spanish and Portuguese scholars who list and comment new epigraphic finding and bibliography from Roman Spain.

The serial’s 14th annual issue (2008) deals with inscriptions published during the year 2005, although it also includes some selected pieces published in following years. This issue contains 462 references to new or revised inscriptions (mostly Latin but also some written in Greek and in several Paleohispanic languages), sorted by modern place of finding; in total, 51 documents from Portugal and 411 from Spain, to which the editors often add comments, amends or further bibliography.


Changes in Hispania Epigraphica Online

Filed under: news — JoaquinGomezPantoja @ 15:05

This is the new URL for HEpOl databank:

Nevertheless, the older one ( will remain active meanwhile migration from one to other system is in progress and to allow time for testing data completeness and the new features.

The move was made for several reason: to facilitate a more mnemonic address,  to highlight several non-apparent upgrades (migrating from a Windows-based server to UNIX, for instance) and to unify the URL with those  used by the EAGLE consortium, in which HEpOl is now a full partner.

In line with this, notice the new common search routine for all EAGLE’s databases at this gateway:

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