Grasby’s Processes in the Making of Roman Inscriptions full set available

The Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents at Oxford University is pleased to announce the recent publication of the last in the series Processes in the Making of Roman Inscriptions by Richard Grasby. The complete series of thirteen booklets, comprising an Introduction and twelve individual Studies, will shortly be available as a boxed set.

Inscriptions speak of the processes employed in their making. It is not difficult to distinguish the great quantity of informal, roughly-chiseled lettering from that which has been regulated within an ordered plan, accurately constructed and carved.

Studies of selected inscriptions in the style scriptura monumentalis were first published in Papers of the British School at Rome and one in Britannia. These have now been revised to include recent research findings and are published as individual Studies in this series.

The Studies present inscriptions at various stages of their making from draft text to carefully constructed letters set out on the stone itself, brush painted and carved. It is possible to draw a significant amount of forensic evidence of these stages from the stones themselves. Through measurement and an understanding of the processes of making, some epigraphists may find in these Studies another approach to the reconstruction of fragmentary inscriptions.

The last in the series, Study 12, focusses on CIL XIV.83, a dedicatory inscription to Germanicus, on display in the Galleria Lapidaria in the Vatican Museum. Richard Grasby’s choice of this inscription as a final Study in the series was deliberate, despite the fact that, or because, superficially it does not have the formal characteristics of an Imperial dedication. It is unimpressive in size, out of balance in line lengths and sparing in its text considering the many military successes of Germanicus. However the lettering emerging from the red paint suggested to Richard Grasby a worthy piece of craftsmanship if not design, and he has subjected it to exactly the same sequence of study as the largest, most formal, in the series.

Details of how to purchase the Studies, individually or as a boxed set, can be obtained from Maggy Sasanow at the CSAD, Ioannou Centre, 66 St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU; email: margaret.sasanow@classics.ox.ac.uk.

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