1 Epigraphy = study of inscriptions = intaglio lettering in a hard nonorganic surface (carved, engraved, struck, stamped, cast…) 2 But in actual practice we have to be aware of the fuzzy edges of the discipline: some intaglio texts are excluded, some non-intaglio texts are included 3 Whether a text falls within the realm of epigraphy is decided on the basis of its exterior characteristics: the carrier and the particular writing process involved. Epigraphy is not concerned with a particular kind of texts, as far as their contents is concerned (even if in practice some textual genres make up most of our inscriptional evidence) 4 There are many different epigraphies
5 Inscriptions are a source of the utmost importance: they have the ‘immediacy’ of the archival sources of later periods; they cover subjects neglected in the literary sources; they provide new evidence 6 Epigraphy is a discipline in its own right – of a highly technical nature 7 Epigraphy is a discipline with a long history – whatever start date you choose, there are centuries of previous scholarship 8 Bringing the inscriptional evidence together has been at the heart of the epigraphic endeavour since the 16th century – there exist many overlapping publications
9 The non-epigrapher (historian, classicist, archaeologist...) who wants to use epigraphic sources a)has to find his way through the jungle of publications bibliography; concordance (NB: Trismegistos); SEG; AE; BE; EBGR b)has to find his way in the corpora c)has to be able to judge the editorial/interpretative interventions of the epigrapher 10Editorial sigla: The Leiden System 11The ideal edition: ID, title, image, date, measurements & description of the carrier, provenance, bibliography, transcribed text with abbreviations expanded and lacunae filled (if possible), translation, comments
12 Two basic heuristic procedures: trace a text departing from a reference; establish the presence (or lack) of epigraphic evidence departing from a particular question 13 Critical use of the evidence requires one to establish the editorial history of a text 14 How to find as yet unknown epigraphic material: a) by provenance b) by date c) by subject (collections arranged according to subject; subject indices in any epigraphic collection; any publication on a subject making use of epigraphic sources; Greek or Latin vocabulary) Typology d) by some specific characteristic: carrier and writing, language…
15 QUIZ 16 PAPER: choose a subject and a question find epigraphic evidence publish a small corpus (mettre en série!!) paying attention to publication history and editorial correctness. Provide full details analyse the epigraphic evidence and discuss in how far that evidence can contribute to the answering of your question (be aware of the pros and cons of the material in your selection) you may suggest some hypothesis, but you may also conclude that more (different) evidence is needed. As long as you have seriously discussed the potential of the inscriptional evidence.