Guest post from Rupali Mokashi.
My stint with ancient Indian epigraphy started seventeen years ago when I commenced my Doctoral Research on ‘The Position of Women in Deccan as gleaned through inscriptions: 200 BCE-1200 AD.’
The inscriptions were always a realm of the epigraphists. Though the epigraphic data was scientifically analyzed and developed steadily it was not adequately used to understand the women in ancient India. Both epigraphy and gender studies followed their independent courses.
Inscriptions preserved valuable data about women that is well stacked in the milieu of time and space. Mostly votive, administrative and eulogistic in nature they held diverse information not only on the contemporary society, polity but also on the prevalent religious observances and the active involvement of women therein. The votive epigraphs constituted a significantly tangible source for reconstructing the history of women in India. This research work has taken into consideration the contributions of more than ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED WOMEN referred in the inscriptions but lesser known to the world of scholars and laymen.
As the Recipient of the Justice K. T. Telang Research Fellowship awarded by the Asiatic Society of Mumbai for the research project on “Rekindling the History of Shilaharas of North Kokan as gleaned through the recent Epigraphical Revelations” (2013-2014).
The Shilaharas of North Kokan originated as a feudal clan of the Rashtrakutas during the reign of King Govinda III. Forty two donative Copper Plates and Rock edicts that were issued by various Śilāhāras Kings spanning a period from 843 AD – 1260 AD have been instrumental in understanding history of this dynasty. I have deciphered, compiled and analyzed the following recently discovered copper plates and rock edicts of this dynasty.
- Kalyan Copper Plates of King Chhittaraja (1019 AD)
- Panvel Copper Plate of King Chhittaraja (1025 AD)
- Thane Copper Plates of Mahakumara Keshideva (1120 AD)
- Panhale Copper Plate of King Mallikarjuna (1151 AD)
- Kiravalī Rock Edict of King Anantdeva III (1248 AD)
Further details and bibliography at Dr Mokashi’s blog.
Denso di eventi concomitanti, il Congresso berlinese si è articolato ogni giorno in una sessione plenaria, cui sono seguite diverse sessioni tematiche pomeridiane. Punto di partenza è stata la storia dell’epigrafia come disciplina accademica intrecciata strettamente alla temperie politica e culturale di Berlino, le cui tappe ha ripercorso l’intervento iniziale del prof. Stefan Rebenich (University of Bern). Il congresso si è snodato attraverso le varie tematiche tradizionalmente oggetto di studio (http://www.congressus2012.de/kalender/programm.html), che spaziano dall’ambito privato a quello pubblico e riverberano le molteplici sfaccettature delle informazioni veicolate dalle iscrizioni: dalla edilizia pubblica, gli spettacoli, la gestione territoriale, l’esercito, si passa alle iscrizioni in ambito privato, di valenza funeraria, religiosa o anche sapidamente personale (A. Varone, http://www.congressus2012.de/images/kongress/abstracts/abstract_varone.pdf ).
Accanto alla storia dell’indagine epigrafica attraverso le fonti manoscritte, si sono affrontate anche questioni metodologiche e nuovi progetti, quali la riedizione di CIL, V, per non parlare delle iniziative in ambito digitale.
Per il 2012 è tutto: appuntamento a Vienna nel 2017!
The Fourteenth International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy opened last night in the great “Auditorium Maximum” of the Humboldt University in Berlin. The well-attended opening plenary session began with a series of welcoming remarks by Werner Eck (Chairman of the Organizing Committee), Stephen Mitchell (president of AIEGL), Jan-Hendrick Olbertz (President of Humboldt Univerity), Gunter Stock (President of the Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, and Ortwin Dally (General Secretary of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut).
The highlight of the session was an extended, scholarly narrative of the history of Greek and Latin epigraphic study in Berlin, delivered by Stefan Rebenich (Bern University) under the rubric “Berlin und die antike Epigrafik.” I learned much about the history of the discipline, and the formation and challenges faced over time by the great corpora (the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum and Inscriptiones Graecae). A key theme throughout Rebenich’s lecture was the effects of epigraphic study and scholarly community — negative at some periods, and positive at others — of national and international politics (and of politics both personal and institutional within the humanities).
This audience member, whose German experience lies almost wholly in the realm of reading and whose practice in same is rather rusty, greatly appreciated the model demonstrated by Prof. Eck and followed by Prof. Rebenich, of displaying the text of their remarks on-screen during the presentation.
The opening plenary was followed by a reception hosted by the publisher De Gruyter, which lasted well into the evening.
An announcement from Charlotte Roueché, Catherine Dobias-Lalou and Lucia Criscuolo:
We are delighted to announce a new project to develop and co-ordinate research on the Greek and Roman epigraphy of Libya. The collaborative undertaking involves scholars at King’s College London (Centre for Hellenic Studies and Department of Digital Humanities), the Universities of Bologna and Macerata, and the University of Paris IV–Sorbonne (Centre de recherche sur la Libye Antique).
We propose to develop a publication portal for several digital corpora of inscriptions from Libya. The Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania (IRT) were republished in 2009; the first volume of Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica (IRCyr) is scheduled for publication in 2011; the Greek Inscriptions of Cyrenaica are under preparation (IGCyr). All these corpora are prepared in EpiDoc. The portal will offer access to all these publications; it will provide a common bibliography, a shared search facility, shared indices, and draw on a shared geographic database. It is our hope that other scholars publishing material from Libya will make use of this opportunity to present their material.
Multiple language versions of this announcement can be found at Sito Italiano di Epigrafia Greca.
Over at the Sito Italiano di Epigrafia Greca (SITEG), Alice Bencivenni reports on an EpiDoc/SoSOL training workshop held at the Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, 10-14 January 2011.
Today, at the First North American Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy in San Antonio, Texas, Werner Eck presented a keynote address entitled “Documents on Bronze: A Phenomenon of the West?” I offer the following summary largely from memory, hoping that other readers present will correct errors and supplement deficiencies.
Eck’s thesis is that we can discern an essential difference in epigraphic habit across the Roman empire: normative documents of public import (i.e., publicae constitutiones) were customarily inscribed on bronze in Latin-speaking areas, whereas stone was the preferred material in Greek-speaking provinces. Bronze was clearly used everywhere, for a variety of epigraphic purposes, but with regard to public legal documents divergeant practice is argued. Eck posits that these opposing patterns were set long before the empire came into existence and were so strongly established that even centuries of Roman rule caused little erosion of the Greek pattern.
The paper begins with a helpful consideration of the range of inscribed materials and documentary types reflected in the historical record and the low survival rates for same. This theme carries on throughout the paper, and appropriate examples are marshaled to support the thesis. Some highlights: Inscriptions on wood may have constituted 90% of the inscribed documents (most intended as ephemera and now almost entirely lost). Less than one percent of military diplomata (on bronze) survive. These are found in both Latin- and Greek-speaking areas, and many have clearly appeared through at the hands of metal detectorists. As the mode of discovery is similar for many celebrated Western bronze leges, we would expect the same pattern in the east, but don’t see it. Bronze likely suffers loss disproportionately (it could be melted down for reuse, and generally was); therefore, we must imagine a disproportionate loss of normative, public texts from the West. The few Roman-period examples of normative public documents on bronze in the East are explained either as having been so specified in the originating document itself (there is evidence for such provision), or the product of Roman (pro-)magistrates doing things the way they were accustomed to do them.
Afterward, some audience members challenged Eck’s characterization of the Greek-speaking east as a place where some public documents were traditionally inscribed on wood and stone, citing examples from Argos, Athens and elsewhere during the Archaic and Classical periods. Eck maintained his thesis, seeking distinctions between the examples offered and the types of texts he feels were distinctively “on bronze” in the West, but expressed interest in getting more details that might affect his approach.
(Paper given at the British Epigraphy Society Spring Meeting, Dublin, April 24th, 2010. Brief report by Charlotte Tupman.)
Formality and informality in Attic epigraphy
In the first paper of the day, Graham Oliver applied the theme of the colloquium (formality and informality in epigraphy) to a selection of inscribed materials ranging from the Archaic to the Imperial period. Noting that the method of categorising inscriptions in traditional corpora tends to prevent us from fully examining the potentially complex nature of those inscriptions, Oliver introduced three topics through which we might begin to interpret the subject of formal and informal epigraphy: authority, institutions and location; the formalities of formal and informal epigraphy; and genre.
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, March 11th, 2010. Brief report by Caroline Barron.)
Graffiti or Inscriptions? The Epigraphic Habit in Attica
Dr Taylor’s talk focussed on the problems that arise through the categorisation of some inscriptions as Graffiti. She suggested that by making such a stark categorisation, some ‘marks’ have not received the attention that that might deserve, and that, therefore, their full potential as not been realised. These categories also encourage us to view the texts in a certain way. In the modern world, graffiti is often considered part of an illicit subculture, with a common critical response. By referring to these marks and texts as graffiti, we are therefore imposing the judgement that they too are illicit, as well as unconsciously (or consciously?) comparing them less favourably with other epigraphic forms. This is further complicated by the variety of texts and marks that are called graffiti: Individual Letters, Names, Trademarks, Commercial notations, Dedications, Sexual references and pictures. Dr Taylor argued that each mark must be considered in terms of the context in which it appeared eg. A commercial notation on is an important communication for both the buyer and the seller. That it was added to the pot later on, and by a different hand, shouldn’t become more important than the trade information that it relates. Equally, the sexual graffiti found in Pompeii is entirely appropriate for the place in which it was found – a brothel. So, while there is very little that connects the Greek pot’s commercial notation and Pompeii’s sexual graffiti, they are both found in the same category of Graffiti.
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, March 4th, 2010. Brief report by Susan Fogarty.)
Constructing Lives from Stone: Inscriptions and Biographical Traditions
Dr. Polly Low, Manchester
This lively seminar set out to explore whether the development of literary biography in the 4th C can be seen to be reflected in the epigraphic practice of the period. There is a change in style detected in the epigraphic material in the Classical and early Hellenistic periods and, concentrating on mostly Athenian examples, Dr. Low certainly posed some very interesting questions.
In exploring how an epigraphic text may be classed as biographical, Dr. Low looked at honorific decrees which concentrate on the moral qualities of the individual – for example IG i3 158 (honours for Corinthios) the honorand is simply an ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός, or IG i3 97 (Eurytion and his father) shows a shift to abstraction in describing them as possessing ἀνδραγαθία. These moral qualities are presented as paradigms of behaviour. The publication formula states the reason for the publication: “so that all other men may know”. This method and intention is seen in literary texts also: Isocrates’ Evagoras describes his individual characteristics (ἐυσεβία, σοφία) in order that he be emulated by the young (Evagoras 73-77). Therefore there is an overlap between the literary and the epigraphic with regard to individual character but this is not the same thing as biography. Dr. Low stated that it is the interaction between the abstract and the individual that is biographical and while Greek epigraphy is a good source for character at this stage, it is less so for action.
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, February 25th, 2010. Brief report by Caroline Barron.)
Athenian Decrees Honouring Priests and Priestesses to 20/19BC.
Stephen Lambert, Cardiff University
In this seminar Stephen Lambert presented a series of Inscriptions from the forthcoming IG II³, which are concerned with Athenian decrees honouring Priests and Priestesses from the early Classical period to 20/19BC.
Dr Lambert highlighted that the decrees honouring the Priests and Priestesses were inscribed on stone, thus indicating the worth of the individual, or individuals, being honoured. They are presented as being worthy of praise in the eyes of the citizens, and in the eyes of Athens, and therefore, in the eyes of the gods.
The presentation was divided into three sections, the outlines of which are detailed below:
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, February 11th, 2010. Brief report by Susan Fogarty.)
On the Meaning of “Common” in Herodotus 8.144: Shared Sanctuaries and the Gods of Others
Irene Polinskaya, King’s College London
“τὸ Ἑλλενικόν consists in being of the same blood and of the same language, in sharing sanctuaries and sacrifices of the gods, and in the sameness of customs”
While most scholars acknowledge τὸ Ἑλλενικόν as an idealised vision of Greekness, Dr. Polinskaya believes the religious element continues to be misread and challenges the standard interpretation of τὸ Ἑλλενικόν as proof of religious unity across the Greek world. She believes that κοινός and ὅμοιος do not convey the same meaning, and ignoring the distinction is ignoring Herodotus’ choice of words. There is a conceptual and mathematical difference between ‘same’ and ‘common’ and the architectural, textual and epigraphic evidence bears this out: there is no sameness, but there are common sanctuaries and sacrifices. (more…)
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, February 4th, 2010. Brief report by Naomi Carless Unwin.)
‘A Hellenistic List of Donors (?)’
Riet van Bremen
Dr van Bremen’s paper was concerned with a puzzling inscription from Stratonikeia in Karia (SEG 55, 1145). Unlike the seminars of the previous weeks, which have been dealing with specific themes or ‘types’ of inscription, she took what she referred to as the ‘minimalist’ approach; trying to learn as much as possible from one text. The inscription in question does not obviously belong to any particular category, nor have any direct parallels in the ancient world. On its original publication by M. Ç. Şahin in 2005 (EA 38, pp. 9-12) it was classified as a ‘Hellenistic list of donors’; yet, as he admits, ‘I do not understand the inscription either, because there is no intelligible sentence in it, although there are no vocabulary problems involved, and the inscription is easy to read.’ Van Bremen was hoping to comprehend something about the nature of the decree through close examination of the text, yet also its possible archaeological context; she was hoping to reveal the value of analysing in depth certain unusual texts. (more…)
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, January 28th, 2010. Brief report by Charlotte Tupman.)
The letter: a diplomatic history
Osborne began his paper by explaining that his main focus would be upon examining structural points in the genre of the letter. A letter is a composition of a very strong generic type: whatever the context of the letter, its writer is bound by conventions that lead to what is written being framed in a particular way, which in turn defines the relationship between the letter-writer and the recipient. Letters must not only be seen in the context of other letters; rather, they must be viewed in the context of other methods of transmitting information. In this way we can examine how convention influenced content.
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, January 21st, 2010. Brief report by Gillian Bentley.)
‘Moving Stones’: The Study of Emotions in Greek Inscriptions
In this seminar, Angelos Chaniotis discussed the pertinence of epigraphic evidence in the study of the history of emotions, particularly in view of his current research project: “Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions” in the Greek world (c. 800 BCE-c. 500 CE) at the University of Oxford.
Chaniotis stressed that inscriptions are texts, subject to the same questions of composition and authorship as any other kind of text. They are a form of communication with a specific target audience representing conscious action, selection, and composition. Chaniotis suggested that inscriptions make excellent material for the study of emotional display. Literary texts place emotions within a context, but inscriptions may be more representative due to the sheer amount and heterogeneity of the evidence.
(Paper given at the Ancient History Seminar, London, January 14th, 2010. Brief report by Gabriel Bodard.)
Destroying Inscriptions: the authorised and unauthorised removal of inscribed documents in the Greek world.
In this seminar, Graham Oliver discussed a few particular inscriptions from the Athenian sphere in the Late Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, using these examples to make some general observations on the removal and erasure of inscriptions.
The first examples he discussed were a series of statue bases signed by Antignotos, but their original texts erased when they were re-used and re-inscribed at a later date. As the original inscriptions were not, as far as we know, issued by the demos, Oliver argues that no special authority was needed to remove them, and in fact they had probably fallen out of use or been taken off display already, since we should assume that inscriptions were not considered to be permanent. Even a handful of fourth century decrees were re-used by pyloroi in the Roman period, which tells us both that even these texts were not permanent and sacrosanct, but that these decrees at least were still intact and in place on the acropolis in the Roman period. The re-use of inscriptions seems to have been fairly normal; even official documents could be removed and re-used without official sanction.