Volume 19 of Hispania Epigraphica (ISSN 1132-6875; ISSN-e 1988-2424), covering the Iberian epigraphic harvest of 2010, has just been posted as a series of PDF files on the Revistas Científicas Complutenses website. According to the preface by Isabel Velázquez and Joaquín Gómez-Pantoja, this volume contains 582 entries corresponding to bibliography published in 2010 on previously unpublished or re-edited inscriptions from the Iberian peninsula, as well as some items from 2009 that were not treated in the prior volume. In addition to the entries themselves, the volume provides extensive documentation and reference helps, including general and generous thematic epigraphic indices.
12 December, 2014
A small museum housing a collection of over 350 ancient Roman marble artefacts was presented at Villa Wolkonsky, the residence of the British ambassador in Rome, in the presence of Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini and Britain’s ambassador Christopher Prentice, on 10 December 2014.
The marble treasures in the Wolkonsky Collection include votive statues of goddesses, sarcophagi decorated with bas-relief, funerary portraits, friezes, architectural elements and inscriptions, almost all from burials dating from between the first century BC and the third century AD.
A particular highlight of the collection is the life-size statue known as the Music Satyr, which was reassembled from 15 fragments found in various place around the villa’s four-hectare gardens in the S. Giovanni district of Rome.
The majority of the artefacts were rediscovered on the grounds during an extensive restoration programme of the gardens, led by dedicated gardener and wife of the present ambassador, Nina Prentice.
The restored finds have been placed in two converted 19th-century greenhouses situated near the entrance gate on the villa’s grounds.
Visiting the museum will not interfere with security arrangements for the residence, according to the embassy, which is planning to open the collection to guided tours for small groups.
For further information and some interesting pictures:
6 December, 2014
Appel à communication Colloque « Humanités numériques : l’exemple de l’Antiquité » – Call for paper “Digital Humanities: the example of Antiquity”
Le colloque «Humanités numériques : l’exemple de l’Antiquité», qui aura lieu à Grenoble du 2 au 4 septembre 2015, est organisé par l’Université Grenoble 3, l’Université Grenoble 2, la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme-Alpes, The Humboldt Chair for Digital Humanities, HISOMA.
L’ambition de ce colloque est double, tournée vers du bilan et des perspectives, dans une orientation méthodologique. Ainsi, il a pour objectif de faire le point sur les pratiques actuelles, déjà nombreuses, mais souvent éparses, dans le domaine des humanités numériques appliquées à l’étude de l’Antiquité. En outre, il contribuera à définir de nouveaux projets et à ouvrir des pistes nouvelles en établissant un dialogue entre des spécialistes déjà habitués au numérique et des enseignants-chercheurs désireux de développer leurs connaissances et leur pratique dans ce domaine.
Les keynote speakers ayant confirmé leur participation sont Gregory Crane (Tufts University & Univ. of Leipzig) et Charlotte Roueché (King’s College London).
Les deux jours de colloque proprement dit (3 et 4 septembre) seront précédés d’une journée d’ateliers destinés spécialement aux doctorants mais ouvertes aussi aux enseignants chercheurs.
Les sciences de l’Antiquité embrassent un très large domaine géographique (de la Méditerranée aux confins de l’Europe et de l’Asie), historique (de la fin de la Préhistoire au début du Moyen Âge) et linguistique (principalement grec et latin, mais sans négliger les langues du Proche- et Moyen-Orient). Elles reposent également sur des traditions disciplinaires variées : linguistique, philologie, critique littéraire, philosophie, histoire, archéologie, épigraphie, numismatique, etc. Dans toutes ces traditions disciplinaires, l’application de technologies numériques a connu, depuis plusieurs décennies, un développement considérable, qui n’a pas manqué de se marquer aussi dans les sciences de l’Antiquité. Les technologies numériques ont permis des renouvellements méthodologiques, dont nous n’avons pas encore pris toute la mesure.
Devant la diversité de ces approches, dans un contexte de plus en plus internationalisé, il semble intéressant de proposer aux enseignants-chercheurs et aux doctorants un tour d’horizon de la recherche actuelle, qui permettra de dégager des perspectives pour le futur.
Quatre axes ont été retenus : éditions de textes littéraires ; études de scholies et commentaires ; archéologie et épigraphie ; prosopographie et géographie.
Les communications devront porter sur des questions méthodologiques et/ou poser des problèmes inhérents à ces démarches. Il est également possible de proposer des posters présentant des projets en cours.
Les propositions de communication ou de posters (300 mots maximum, en français ou anglais, qui seront les langues de communication du colloque) sont à adresser au comité d’organisation :
au plus tard le 15 janvier 2015
NB : Quelques bourses sont prévues pour permettre la participation des jeunes chercheurs et doctorants. Si vous êtes intéressés par cette aide, merci de l’indiquer et d’argumenter votre demande par une lettre de motivation.
The University ‘Stendhal’ of Grenoble 3, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme-Alpes, L’Université Grenoble 2, the Humboldt Chair for Digital Humanities and HISOMA organise the conference “Digital Humanities: the example of Antiquity”. The conference will take place in Grenoble, from the 2nd to the 4th of September 2015.
The goal of this conference is twofold: at the same time an assessment of existing methodologies and a looking forward to new ones. It also has the objective of evaluating current practices of the application of Digital Humanities to the study of antiquity, practices which are quite numerous but also sometimes disconnected from each other and without an overall understanding. The conference also aims to contribute toward the design of new projects and the opening new paths, by establishing a dialogue between scholars for whom the Digital Humanities are already familiar and those wishing to acquire knowledge and practice in this domain.
The confirmed Keynote speakers are Gregory Crane (Tufts University & University of Leipzig) and Charlotte Roueché (King’s College London). The conference will be preceded by a workshop, particularly aimed at doctoral students, but open to everybody.
The study of Antiquity encompass very large geographical, historical and linguistic domains: from the Mediterranean to the borders of Europe and Asia, from the end of Prehistory to the Middle Ages, and from Greek and Latin to the languages of the Near and Middle East. This study is also distributed among different disciplines: Linguistics, Philology, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, History, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, etc. In all these disciplinary traditions, the application of computational techniques has been employed for several decades now, an application that has left quite a strong mark on the study of Antiquity. The employment of digital methods has also enabled substantial changes of methodology, the extent of which remains to be assessed.
Considering the diversity of such approaches in a context of research which is more and more internationalised, it seems worthwhile to present to scholars and PhD students an overview of current research in order to develop future endeavours.
The conference will be organised around four key topics: Editions of literary texts; Study of scholia and commentaries; Archaeology and Epigraphy; Prosopography and historical geography. Papers will focus on methodological questions and/or discuss general issues emerging within such topics. We also encourage proposals of posters presenting work in progress.
Please send your proposals of up to 300 words, in French or English (which will be the languages of the conference) by the 15th of January 2015 to the organisers:
NB: In order to encourage the participation of young researchers, we will provide a limited number of bursaries. If you wish to be considered for one of these then please include a letter of motivation with your application.
25 November, 2014
International Conference Instrumenta inscripta VI
The inscriptions with didascalic-explicative function. Commissioner, recipient, content and description of the object in the instrumentum inscriptum.
Aquileia – Italy, March 26th to 28th, 2015.
The conference will organized by:
– Friuli Venezia Giulia Superintendence for the Archaeological Heritage
– Department of History and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage at the Udine University
– Friulian Society of Archaeology
19 November, 2014
Posted on behalf of Daniele Mittica*, Michele Pellegrino**, Anita Rocco**
The creation of photorealistic 3D models of several objects, architecture, archaeological sites, artworks, or even entire landscapes, is increasingly becoming an established practice.
The use of 3D reconstruction tools are also important for an even more precise recording phase of the epigraphic finds; in fact if we are able to obtain a three-dimensional image, we can gain more accurate information about the technique or the instruments used for carving the inscriptions, or simply highlight all possible anomalies on the surface, which could be harder to notice at a first sight.
There are several advantages on using 3D models, such as choosing an appropriate point of view of the object (rotate, zoom in-out, even virtually taking measure), and the easy and convenient way to storage, duplicate and share the digital data.
A 3D model can be generated through different techniques or devices, such as laser scanner, Lidar, structured light applications, and photogrammetry, but it is not always simple to use all of them in every archaeological circumstance because of some reasons (limited financial resources, short time for field operations, logistic difficulties, lack of specific competences).
Nevertheless it is possible to obtain a 3D model starting from simple pictures, just using a compact or semi-professional digital camera and some photogrammetric technologies like the Structure from Motion (SfM), which is based on the dense stereo matching techniques: after shooting good quality photos, the entire data set it is processed within a specific dense reconstruction software which is able to generate a detailed and dense 3D point cloud that will be further elaborated for the solid geometry (meshing).
Our project, conducted on three different inscription testing three different applications such as an Open Source software (PPT – Python Photogrammetry Toolbox), a web-based solution (Autodesk 123D Catch), and a demo version of a commercial application (Agisoft Photoscan), has outlined the high potential of the Structure from Motion, which represents a positive alternative to the much more expensive and complex technologies like laser scanning.
3D models of the inscription of Damaris (wireframe – smooth – texture rendering).
3D models of the medieval inscription from the Cathedral of Bari (wireframe – smooth – texture rendering).
The availability of Open Source solutions or web-based software, the possibility to share and analyse the model using some powerful tools, such as PDF 3D or web-based viewer (3DHOP, Sketchfab), plus the widespread 3D printing, represent some of the possible developments connected to this technology, and an excellent way for improving the quality of the epigraphic documentation.
*Independent researcher – Italy
**Dip. di Scienze dell’Antichità e del Tardoantico, Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” – Italy
17 November, 2014
Posted on behalf of Michelangelo Ceci1, Gianvito Pio1, Anita Rocco2
The Epigraphic Database Bari (EDB) stores inscriptions by Christians from Rome, between 3rd and 8th cent. It provides a web-based system to search for almost all the Greek and Latin inscriptions published in the corpus of the Inscriptiones Christianae Vrbis Romae, nova series [ICVR]. For each epigraphic document, a set of data and metadata is stored, about both the artifact/support (context, conservation, support, etc.) and the inscribed text (language, graphical and onomastic notes, etc.).
EDB provides an advanced text-based system which allows users to obtain different results according to a predefined syntax. Moreover, it is possible to select whether to consider diacritical marks, Greek accents and spirits and capital letters. The text-based search can also be combined with other metadata, such as bibliographic data, context, conservation, support, dating, etc.
This wide range of possibilities allows users to retrieve the desired inscriptions according to different needs. For example, an occasional user looking for a specific inscription can type one or more words in order to search for possible matching inscriptions. On the other hand, scholars can use the system to retrieve details about inscriptions they are studying and, by exploiting the phrase matching, can identify all the epitaphs containing the so-called “formulas”, i.e. recurrent expressions that are useful, for example, for dating purposes.
EDB provides a source of noteworthy importance for the study of the history of Greek and Latin language in Late Antiquity. Indeed, in this period, language underwent a gradual transformation and was enriched with forms and expressions of common use. Moreover, the possibility that something initially appearing as an important linguistic phenomenon could actually be just a spelling mistake must not be ignored. For this reason, in EDB, the so-called aberrant forms are not normalized to the classical model, if they are grapho-phonetic outcomes of linguistic modifications. However, a standard query system is not able to match a query with the inscriptions containing different spellings of a word. To face with this issue, we store each inscription in its original form and in a lemmatized form, where each term is replaced with its corresponding lemma. The user’s query is also lemmatized and the matching between the lemmatized form of the transcription and of the query is actually performed.
For future work, we will exploit the lemmatized terms to automatically identify possible misspellings and/or currently unknown aberrant forms.
1Dip. di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”
2Dip. di Scienze dell’Antichità e del Tardoantico, Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
14 November, 2014
Call for Papers
VIENNA / Austria – November 11th – 13th November 2015
3rd International Conference on the Roman Danubian Provinces – Society and Economy
13 November, 2014
Christian Marek did a very great discovery! See the article published on the University of Zurich website.
12 November, 2014
The Guardian today runs an obituary of Anna Morpurgo-Davies, “Historical linguist who unlocked the secrets of Ancient Greek and Anatolian”, who died about six weeks ago, aged 77. An epigraphist and linguist of Mycenaean and one of the discoverers of hieroglyphic Luwian, Anna remained an active member of the British epigraphic community.
6 November, 2014
Am Institut für Kulturgeschichte der Antike der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften ist die Stelle
einer wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiterin / eines wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiters in der
Arbeitsgruppe Epigraphik der Abteilung Documenta Antiqua
(Beschäftigungsausmaß 40 Wochenstunden)
Weitere Informationen hier
30 October, 2014
The IGCyr | GVCyr demonstration site is now available.
The Inscriptions of Greek Cyrenaica (IGCyr) and the Greek Verse inscriptions of Cyrenaica (GVCyr) are two corpora, the first collecting all the inscriptions of Greek (VII-I centuries B.C.) Cyrenaica, the second gathering the Greek metrical texts of all periods. These new critical editions of inscriptions from Cyrenaica are part of the international project Inscriptions of Libya (InsLib), incorporating Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania (IRT, already online), the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica project (IRCyr, in preparation), and the ostraka from Bu Ngem (already available on the website Papyri.info).
A comprehensive corpus of the inscriptions of Greek Cyrenaica is a longstanding desideratum among the scholars of the ancient world. Greek inscriptions from Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Cyrenaica are currently scattered among many different, sometimes outdated publications, while new texts have been recently discovered and edited. For the first time all the inscriptions known to us in 2014, coming from this area of the ancient Mediterranean world, will be assembled in a single online and open access publication. An essential addition to the IGCyr and GVCyr corpora, as well as a natural outcome of the study of the inscriptions, is the planned publication of the Prosopographia Cyrenaica.
Catherine Dobias-Lalou is the main epigraphy researcher working on these comprehensive epigraphic corpora in EpiDoc in cooperation with scholars from the University of Bologna, the University of Macerata, the University of Roma Tor Vergata, the University of Paris-Sorbonne and King’s College London. Although the edition of the inscriptions is still in progress, the team working on the project wish to share with others the structure of the publications and the research approach. For this reason three of the texts which will be published and a selected bibliography are included in the demonstration site. The website, hosted by the University of Bologna, has been developed and is maintained by the CRR-MM, Centro Risorse per la Ricerca Multimediale, University of Bologna.
17 October, 2014
- its ‘state of art‘, and the related
- Internet service Epigraphisches Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum München
16 October, 2014
Posted on behalf of Elisa Orlando
Archeologist (Postdoc independent researcher)
The discovery of new, effective technologies applied both to epigraphy and archaeology seems to prove how closely these two disciplines are linked. Many archaeological and epigraphic studies have emphasized the concept of inscription as a multi-disciplinary resource, closely linked to its context. So if we agree with the definition: “Inscription is a complex monument comprising three elements: text, writing and support”i we must recognize that archaeology plays an important role in the analysis of epigraphic data. Each inscription is the physical evidence of social and cultural features. As a result, the text and its support cannot be parted. ii
In recent years, many programs have been created within the framework of classical studies and cultural heritage; in particular, Relational DBMS and Geographical Information System.iii
The Eagle project, is a powerful example of how epigraphic data can be gathered, shared and managed. This European network is important for many reasons, but above all because it defines scientific standards and best practices in digitization of data, making them accessible to a wide audience. So, can the Gis solution enrich and aid this or other similar projects? Can it act as a “bridge” to bring Archaeology and Epigraphy closer together? T.Mommsen has already recognized the importance of including topographic information for the study of inscriptions in the CIL. In fact, he classified the inscriptiones on the basis of geographical areas, trying to relate them to their background.iv Today, new technologies such as GPS, GIS platform or web solution, like Google Earth, can place each single piece of evidence from an archaeological survey with great accuracy and may provide researchers and the public with documentation, which is more complete and scientific.v But these tools can also be useful for reviewing ancient corpora, in particular helping to reposition inscriptions that, for different reasons, have been removed from their original context and for which the geographic position is uncertain. Briefly, what can GIS offer for the management of epigraphic studies?
More precise information about inscriptions and their context.
Quick comparisons between different types of epigraphic data.
Merging of archeological, historical and epigraphic information.
Establishment of a scientific predictive model by means of spatial analysis and DBMS queries.vi
Without doubt, it is extremely important to design the geodatabase carefully, using standard computer language and common best practices. In fact, its main purpose should be to create a system which is accessible to different users (researchers, institutions, the public) and which can be managed via different computer media (smart phones, tablets, PCs, etc.).
The project, that we want to propose here, is a platform Open Gis that could bring together, in a single geo-database, information from several databases, relating to Eagle, allowing to display data on a map. The structure of the geodatabase will allow the connection of textual information and geographical ones for each inscription found in databases. Each text will have spatial coordinates x and y, expressed in a precise reference system and viewable with a precise indication on a map.vii The possibility to have a complete database of both types of information will make it possible to achieve different types of quests: this is why the database acts as a bridge between epigraphy and archaeology. Although, the project is very large and complex, the ability to import the data into individual databases on cartography (converting dataset in shapefiles queried)viii would add new opportunities for analysis and comparison for different lines of studies, such as the epigraphic and archaeological research.
The structure of the database, consisting of geographical and textual information, managed by a geo-database, will be developed by an open source software, e.g., Quantum Gis. This Information system, released under General public license (Gnu), is a project of Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).ix Its peculiarity is that it is compatible with all major operating systems and, through the use of plugins, you can create, edit and publish geospatial projects.
The creation of the geodatabase will allow textual information to be converted to vectors and to be displayed in raster maps. QGis lets you connect and import different formats of Rdbms and change them into spatial relational database (PostGis).x The creation of a geographic information system will also allow you to make some queries and spatial analysis directly on maps. Spatial analysis functions interpolate together textual information and geographic data: e.g. Overlay two different itemes like Iscriptiones and its context. The systems allows us to create different database queries from spatial criteria (proximity, inclusion, buffer zone,etc.). These statistics process can be useful to improve both epigraphic and archeological researches. Then the project can be published online with a QGis Sever; Qgis server provides a Web Map Service (WMS) with the same libraries of the Quantum GIS (QGIS) desktop application.xi
In conclusion, we should reflect on Mallon’s words, taken from his famous “Archéologie des monuments graphìques”: “Existe-t-il une possibilité de tirer une conclusion prudente de la repartition de inscriptions correctes et de inscriptions fautives selon leurs natures, leurs provenances géographiques et leurs époques?”. xii
The creation of Geographical information system can answer and make accessible to the public the different data coming from archaeological and Epigraphic studies.
i Campana A., Tutela dei beni epigrafici, Epigraphica, 30, Roma, 1968, p.5.
ii Archeologia ed Epigrafia, Dizionario di Archeologia, in Manacorda D., Francovich R. eds, 2000, Laterza, p.141; Buonopane, A. Manuale di Epigrafia latina, 2009, Carocci, pp.59-122.
iii For example Epigrafic Database Rome (EDR); Epigraphik Datenbank Clauss Slabi (EDCS); Epigraphische Datebank Heidelberg (EDH), Epigraphic Database Bari (EDB); Cultural Atlas Initiative; Arachne Central Object Database; IDai Gazeteer; Perseus Digital Library. For the importance of information technologies applied to epigraphic studies see: C. Zaccaria, Instrumenta inscripta Latina: potenziale informativo e importanza dei corpora elettronici. Alcuni esempi dalla Regio X orientale, in M. Hainzmann, R. Wedenig (eds.), Instrumenta Inscripta Latina II. Akten des 2. Internationalen Kolloquiums (Klagenfurt, 5-8 Mai 2005), hrsg. von G. Piccottini, Aus Forschung und Kunst 36, Klagenfurt, 2008; C. Zaccaria, Piccole iscrizioni crescono. Le possibili risposte di una banca dati epigrafica integrata con le scritte su instrumentum per la storia economica e sociale della Regio Decima, in Est enim ille flos Italiae…, in Vita economica e sociale nella Cisalpina romana, Atti delle Giornate di studi in onore di Ezio Buchi (Verona 2006), a cura di P. Basso, A.Buonopane, A. Cavarzere, S. Pesavento Mattioli, Verona 2008, pp. 369-383.
iv Mommsen Th., Henzen W. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum I, Inscriptiones Latinae antiquissimae ad C. Caesaris mortem, Berolini, 1863.
v GPS-Global Position System; Google Earth: A software that maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system. Many archeological project use this tools for their research
The importance of multidisciplinary approaches to the study of inscriptions (understood as text and monument) is confirmed in the contribution: Panciera S., Eck W., Manacorda D, Tedeschi C., Questioni di metodo. Il monumento iscritto come punto d’incontro tra epigrafia, archeologia, paleografia e storia (a proposito dei primi tre volumi di Supplementa Italica – Imagines), in Scienze dell’Antichità, 13, 2006, pp. 583-610.
vi Panciera S., Eck W.,Manacorda D.,Tedeschi C., Questioni di metodo. Il monumento iscritto come punto d’incontro tra epigrafia, archeologia, paleografia e storia (a proposito dei primi tre volumi di Supplementa Italica – Imagines), in Scienze dell’Antichità, 13, 2006, pp. 583-610.
vii Georeferencing: To match evidence to its context with a set of geographic coordinates and a specific spatial reference system (SRS).Thanks to this process, it’s also possible to realize different spatial analysis and to interpolate different types of data.
viii Shapefile: is a geospatial vector data format for geographic information system software; this type of data describes vector features like points, lines and polygons with attributes.
ix QGis supports interoperability standards developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium: WMS (Web Map Service),WMTS (Web Map Tile Service)WFS (Web Feature Service), WFS-T (Web Feature Service Transactional, WCS (Web Coverage Service, SFS (Simple Features for SQL), GML (Geography Markup Language); http://www.qgis.org/
xi QGIS Server runs as CGI/FastCGI module within the Apache Webserver.
xii Mallon, J., L’Archéologie des monuments graphìques, “Revue historique”, 226, 1961, p.312.
12 October, 2014
Greek and Latin Epigraphy in the Near East (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria): International Symposium – Lyon – February 20th and 21st, 2015
International Symposium in Lyon
February 20th and 21st, 2015
Pierre-Louis Gatier, Julien Aliquot, Jean-Baptiste Yon
CNRS, UMR 5189 HiSoMA, Lyon
In Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, Greek and Latin epigraphy have experienced a significant development in recent years. Between 2008 and 2014, six volumes have been published in the series of the Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (IGLS XI; IGLS XXI.5; IGLS XIII.2; IGLS XVII.1; IGLS XV.1–2), as well as a Choix d’inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (2009) intended to a wider public. The first volume of the IGLS series had been published in 1929. Since then the programme has evolved considerably. Separate projects and other publications of epigraphical corpora have also contributed to the progress of epigraphy in the various languages which were used in the Near East in Antiquity. The conference will be an opportunity to assess the present progress and to bring together researchers working in the same areas in order to strengthen the scientific network of Near Eastern epigraphy through the presentation of unpublished inscriptions and of epigraphical dossiers.
At a time when the Near East is experiencing unprecedented changes, the scientific activity has had to evolve. In addition, the publication of epigraphical corpora is now conditioned by new physical constraints and benefits considerably from technological innovations. The symposium shall contribute to update ongoing programmes and publishing methods.
To this end, the international symposium will gather in Lyon, around the Directors of Antiquities of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, the Director of HiSoMA research unit (UMR 5189, CNRS / Lyon 2 University, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée), also responsible for the IGLS programme, the Directors of the French Institute for the Near East (Ifpo), editor and support of the IGLS series, and the members of the programme, as well as scholars from Europe, the Near East and Australia, for two days on the 20th and 21th of February 2015. The papers presented on this occasion will be compiled into an edition of Syria, Ifpo’s review published in Beirut.
Pierre-Louis Gatier, email@example.com
Julien Aliquot, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean-Baptiste Yon, email@example.com
Programme and further information will be published at the symposium web-page.
9 October, 2014
What is an inscription? There are different ways to consider what an inscription is:
- Signifiers on a physical support [linguistic perspective]
- An artifact bearing text [archeological perspective]
- A text carved or painted on a durable material to be posted [historical-literary perspective]
In the past, scholars opted for just one of these viewpoints and most of them approached inscriptions as texts. But now the new positive trend is to mix disciplines and see the inscription between text and object as a semantic system to describe, read and interpret by means of at least a threefold approach: archaeological, textual and historical.
The task we now have is to restructure the epigraphic edition, not just by switching from the paper to the web, but by relying on a model that combines the textual as well as the material dimensions of an artifact bearing text, and that helps to determine:
- The arrangement of an inscription on the support;
- The textual cuts made by epigraphers on the base of different criteria.
In this endeavor, we have to keep in mind a trivial but essential notion: editing an inscription is, from start to finish, an interpretation and a matter of personal choice.
In a digital representation, a distinct markup is utilised to encode the physical and textual dimensions. In order to combine them, we submit a definition of some epigraphic notions, which supports the theoretical model of an encoding schema compliant with the EpiDoc guidelines. This model is designed as a part of the IGLouvre project lead by Michèle Brunet (Professor of Greek Epigraphy, University Lumière-Lyon 2), which aims to publish a digital edition of the Louvre collection of Greek Inscriptions.
The project’s guidelines specify some recommendations for the representation of 3 base structures. In the <teiHeader> of the EpiDoc files, a text is represented with a <msItem> element while a physicals part will be described in a <msPart> element. The surface, which bears the inscribed words, is analysed as a physical feature, that is to say a non-detachable part. It must be explicitly represented using a texpart subdivision of the <div> containing the transcription (e.g. div[@type=’textpart’][subtype=’face’]). Texts, objects, physical features and transcriptions are related with a combination of correspondence attributes (@corresp) and milestones (<milestone unit=’block’/>) for the representation of physical and textual boundaries.
Our encoding strategy permits us to meet the following requirements:
- The material and abstract dimensions of the items in the Louvre collection are taken into account in an EpiDoc markup, exploiting its capacity to provide fine grained identifiers and linking mechanisms that are required to build on an interface showing inscriptions not just as decontextualized texts;
- The scientific editors keep full control on the editorial choices they made beyond the structure of the printed or digital publication;
- The deconstruction of the notion of ‘inscription’ will also provide help for designing and implementing several extractions and data exports that will have to be developed in the near future to ensure the interoperability of the digital collection and its re-use for other projects.
You will find more information about this work in our paper:
Emmanuelle Morlock, Eleonora Santin, The inscription between text and object, in Silvia Orlandi, Raffaella Santucci, Vittore Casarosa, Pietro Maria Liuzzo eds., Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage Proceedings of the First EAGLE International Conference, Rome (forthcoming).