From Stephen Mitchell:
The 14th International Epigraphy Congress (www.congressus2012.de) fittingly marked the continued importance of Berlin as a major center of epigraphic scholarship. The introductory lecture, given by Professor Stefan Rebenich (University of Bern), traced the history of the two major long-term epigraphic projects, Inscriptiones Graecae and Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, from the first origins at the beginning of the nineteenth century through extraordinary political and economic changes until their present thriving state in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. This presentation underlined the combination of vision, professionalism and persistence required to sustain these huge projects at the highest quality through generations of scholarship. The final lecture of the Congress, given by Professor Jürgen Hammerstaedt (Universty of Köln), traced the discovery and publication of the longest of all known Greek epigraphic monuments, the philosophical inscriptions of Diogenes of Oinoanda, with special emphasis on the work which was initiated by Martin Smith in the 1980s, and has now been given a major new impetus by the German Archaeological Institute at Istanbul and Professor Hammerstaedt’s collaboration. The lecture also offered a remarkable illustration of the Congress’s main theme, summed up in the words PUBLICUM – MONUMENTUM – TEXTUS (Display, Monument and Text). Contributors to the plenary sessions in particular were asked to use these key concepts as a guide to the interpretation of inscriptions in different public contexts: the transformation of civic cultures; the confrontation and combination of different languages within a shared epigraphic culture; inscriptions in rural contexts; and the epigraphy of public entertainment. The plenary lectures will form the main content of the published record of the Congress, which should appear within two years. Many of the thematic panels were designed to emphasise the same ideas. These will be published in summary form.
The Congress was organised on behalf of the Association Internationale d’Épigraphie Grecque et Latine (AIEGL), which held its general assembly during the week. Unfortunately, as had also happened at the Oxford Congress in 2007, attendance at this meeting fell just below the high quorum that the AIEGL constitution requires to complete elections of officers and comité members for the next quinquennium, and so the vote will have to be completed, probably by a secure on-line process, in the next 4-6 weeks. AIEGL membership itself had risen from 325 to 395 paying members since the last Congress. One important resolution was reached by consensus, that the 15th Congress in 2017 will be held in another major epigraphic centre, Vienna.