Optional Course ma/MPhil Ancient History Leiden University 2015-2016



Download 11.28 Mb.
Date13.06.2018
Size11.28 Mb.
#51647

Epigraphy

  • Optional Course MA/MPhil Ancient History
  • Leiden University 2015-2016
  • Instructor: Dr F.G. Naerebout
  • f.g.naerebout@hum.leidenuniv.nl
  • www.epigraphy.eu

Prelims

  • 1 Assessment
  • by way of individual assignments (40%) and a short essay on some epigraphic issue (60%)
  • 2 Website
  • A dedicated web address: www.epigraphy.eu ; pages can also be reached over www.ancient-history-online.info
  • 3 Literature
  • Recommended: François Bérard et al., Guide de l’épigraphiste. Bibliographie choisie des épigraphies antiques et médiévales, Paris 2010 Editions Rue d’Ulm [4th ed] ISBN 978-2-7288-0443-6
  • 4 Participants

Introduction

  • 1 What is epigraphy?
  • 2 Why should one be interested in epigraphy?
  • 3 The purpose of this course
  • 4 What do epigraphers do?

1 What is epigraphy?

  • Epigraphy = the study of inscriptions
  • An inscription (in the most literal sense) = intaglio lettering in a hard nonorganic surface
    • intagliare = incidere/inscribere = epigrafein
    • Cf. relief/relievo printing (letterpress) versus counter-relief/cavo-relievo/gravure

Such texts can be carved, engraved, but also cast, struck, stamped….

  • Such texts can be carved, engraved, but also cast, struck, stamped….
  • The writing can be on movable objects, on immovable property, or on living rock
  • Intaglio inscriptions are still a fairly common phenomenon

Whether a text falls within the realm of epigraphy is decided on the basis of its formal aspects, i.e. its

  • Whether a text falls within the realm of epigraphy is decided on the basis of its formal aspects, i.e. its
  • exterior characteristics:
  • the carrier and the particular writing process involved
  • Epigraphy is NOT concerned with a particular KIND of text, as far as its contents is concerned (even if in practice some textual genres make up most of our inscriptional evidence)

So: any intaglio writing on stone, metal and ceramics is in the realm of epigraphy.

  • So: any intaglio writing on stone, metal and ceramics is in the realm of epigraphy.
  • The study of texts written (or printed) in ink, paint or pencil on some organic surface, such as bark, plywood, silk or other textiles, bamboo, leaves, papyrus, paper, or vellum, is not part of epigraphy. Such texts are handled by codicology, papyrology and other (often unnamed) specialisations

Though we will be working mainly with Greek and Latin inscriptions, in an alphabetic script, dated between the 8th c BC and the 7th c AD, one should not overlook the existence of many different ‘epigraphies’:

  • Though we will be working mainly with Greek and Latin inscriptions, in an alphabetic script, dated between the 8th c BC and the 7th c AD, one should not overlook the existence of many different ‘epigraphies’:
  • Linear A/B, Cypriote syllabary: Minoan, Greek, Eteo-Cypriot
  • Hieroglyphs, demotic: Egyptian
  • Cuneiform: Sumerian, Elamite, Akkadian, Hittite, Persian, etc
  • Indian, several scripts: several languages
  • Chinese characters: Chinese, Japanese and other East-Asian languages (xin bian = “in steen gehouwen”)
  • Ogham: Celtic (“inscribed stones”)
  • Mayan script: Mayan languages
  • Runes: Scandinavian languages (“runic texts”, “runic inscriptions”)
  • Phoenician, Punic, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc: Semitic/Hamitic languages
  • and others
  • Inscriptions:

Not inscriptions:

  • Papyrus (Egypt)
  • birch bark (medieval Novgorod)
  • Wood (Roman Britain)
  • Silk (China)
  • Bamboo (China)
  • vellum
  • not inscriptions either:

Some texts which very obviously are inscriptions, such as texts scratched in lead, are sometimes excluded from epigraphy. Because of the cursive writing, they go with papyrology.

  • Defixio (curse) from Roman Britain
  • Exceptions

Dubious cases: not inscriptions, or inscriptions after all?

  • 1 texts on non-organic surfaces, but not intaglio:
  • 1.1 cut from stone, in relief  considered inscriptions [rare in the ancient world]
  • 1.2 stamped in ceramic, in relief  considered inscriptions [common in the ancient world]
  • 1.3 cut, cast, struck in/from metal, in relief  considered inscriptions, EXCEPT FOR the most common example, coins with coin legends: these are left to numismatists
  • 1.4 written with ink (dipinti) on pottery sherds (ostraka) [cf. slate, chalkboard]  tend to go to papyrology, or to fall between the cracks
  • 1.5 Texts painted on walls (graffiti)  usually considered inscriptions, together with texts scratched on walls
  • 1.6 Texts painted with enamel or otherwise on pottery or glass  left to archaeologists, art historians [texts on glass are rare or absent in the ancient world]
  • 2 texts on organic surfaces, but intaglio
  • 2.1 texts carved in wood  either papyrology or epigraphy
  • 2.2 texts carved in bone  generally considered inscriptions
  • 3 other
  • 3.1 intaglio texts that are filled in  considered inscriptions
  • 3.2 texts laid out in mosaic  considered inscriptions
  • 3.3 texts composed of separate letters (usually metal)  considered inscriptions
  • 3.4 texts woven in textiles  left to archaeologists, art historians [rare or absent in the archaeological record]
  • Painting on wall (Pompeii)
  • Relief lettering on struck coin
  • Text incised in bone (China)
  • Ink writing on ostrakon (El Amarna, Egypt)
  • Text carved (accidentally) in wood (a wax tablet)
  • Text laid out in mosaic (Roman
  • Britain)
  • The main bulk of the texts studied by epigraphy are intaglio texts in stone, metal or ceramics.
  • A few such intaglio texts are excluded, and some other categories of texts are included  the categorization of materials, c.q. the division of labour in their study is not systematic.
  • !! For a full view of the textual production of an area or a period, you have to be aware of such ‘fuzzy edges’.
  • Barthold Georg Niebuhr wrote in 1815 (!) “dass Inschriften für die alte Geschichte den Urkunden für die neuere entsprechen”: “that in ancient history inscriptions fulfill the role that in the historiography of more recent periods is fulfilled by archival documents.” They do that – and more.
  • 2 Why should one be interested in epigraphy?
  • Louis Robert 1904-1985
  • 1939-1974  Professeur d’épigraphie et antiquités grecques au Collège de France
  • A very rich source (> 600.000 Greek and Latin inscriptions
  • published). But do keep in mind the uneven distribution across themes, periods and places
  • Jean Sauvaget:
  • “There is no such thing as an uninteresting inscription, but inscriptions can be studied in uninteresting ways”
  • 3 The purpose of this course
  • is not to teach you to be an epigrapher,
  • but to teach you how to work with epigraphic material
  • That implies
  • 1 a proper knowledge of the ‘apparatus’ of epigraphy: its bibliography and heuristics, including its digital presence;
  • 2 a proper knowledge of the publishing conventions of the field;
  • 3 a certain experience in handling published epigraphic sources.
  • But also:
  • 4 knowing something about the ‘inner workings’ of epigraphy as a discipline – you need that knowledge in order to assess the value of epigraphic sources. So we will be taught to be epigraphers after all, up to a point.

4 What do epigraphers do?

  • 1 Find inscriptions [hunting for inscriptions  chance finds]
  • 2 Collect inscriptions [unpublished or from whatever source]
  • 3 Document inscriptions [photographs, squeezes, rubbings, drawings, exact description of object and of (original) location, measurements, bibliography]

What do epigraphers do? Cont’d

  • 4 Read inscriptions [palaeography, language, expand abbreviations & symbols, make conjectures]
  • 5 Categorize inscriptions [conventional categorizations, e.g. dedications, epitaphs, building inscriptions, military diploma’s, defixiones…]
  • 6 Date inscriptions [from
  • exterior characteristics
  • or from dating in the text]
  • 7 (Re-)interpret inscriptions
  • 8 Contextualize inscriptions [‘mettre en série’]
  • 9 Translate inscriptions
  • 10 Edit and (re-)publish
  • inscriptions
  • 11 Write the history of
  • inscribing texts
  • 12 Write history on the basis of inscribed texts
  • What do epigraphers do? Cont’d


Download 11.28 Mb.

Share with your friends:




The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2023
send message

    Main page