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Edited by Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

Written by an international cast of experts, The Materiality of Text showcases a wide range of innovative methodologies from ancient history, literary studies, epigraphy, and art history and provides a multi-disciplinary perspective on the physicality of writing in antiquity. The contributions focus on epigraphic texts in order to gauge questions of their placement, presence, and perception: starting with an analysis of the forms of writing and its perception as an act of physical and cultural intervention, the volume moves on to consider the texts’ ubiquity and strategic positioning within epigraphic, literary, and architectural spaces. The contributors rethink modern assumptions about the processes of writing and reading and establish novel ways of thinking about the physical forms of ancient texts.

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Alexei Zadorojnyi

Summary

The aim of the paper is to examine socio-cultural assumptions behind the perception of epigraphic writing among the pepaideumenoi of the empire in the second century CE, and, relatedly, to outline the ideologies of Greek epigraphic writtenness through close readings of select key passages from authors of the Second Sophistic. In the first section, the paper investigates attitudes to epigraphic writing in Pollux’ Onomasticon (especially 5.149-50) and discusses the apparent accentuation of ancientness and (un)readability of inscriptions. In the second part, the argument addresses issues of epigraphic literacy, elite monumentalization and political prestige by zeroing in on a passage from Arrian’s Periplous and dissecting the spectrum of meanings implied in Greek adjective eusēmos. The third section examines the ideological force of graffitism which sources of second century CE cast as the socio-cultural antipode of high epigraphy; the focus is now on the epithet asēmos.

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Volume-editor Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

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Donald E. Lavigne

Summary

This paper argues that Archaic Greek epigram participates in the competitive poetic milieu of the period through its materiality and spatiality. This new, multi-media genre channels and adapts the poetics of the premier poetry of the period. Through its site-specificity, epigram creates its authority and its ability to foster kleos in each epigrammatic performance.

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Volume-editor Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

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Volume-editor Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

Series:

Ida Östenberg

Summary

This article targets erased Roman inscriptions in terms of materiality. It argues that the physical material and form of inscriptions played a crucial part in the phenomenon commonly termed damnatio memoriae. Materiality is further applied as a theoretical concept. Hence, the paper discusses changed, attacked, and erased inscriptions as agents that transmitted novel messages of the past and present to their viewers. It argues that these messages often differed from the original purpose of the erasures.

Series:

Volume-editor Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

Series:

P. J. Rhodes

Summary

The Greeks destroyed documents or erased parts of them when they had served their purpose or for any reason were no longer wanted. Sometimes this was due to a change in the political climate: e.g. in 200 BCE the Athenians decided to delete all references to the Antigonids in public documents.

I examine particular erasures from the fifth and fourth centuries: these range from the correction of simple errors, via rewording to meet the wishes of honorands, and updating e.g. when alliances were reaffirmed, to changes of policy as when the Spartans removed Pausanias’ couplet from the Serpent Column.

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Sean V. Leatherbury

Summary

This paper explores the symbolism of the tabula ansata (“tablet-with-handles”), a popular frame for monumental donor inscriptions in the Roman period. While patrons continued to use this form to frame texts in late antiquity, changing mediums affected how patrons conceived of and how audiences interpreted the meaning and significance of the frame. This paper discusses the origins of the tabula form and focuses on three Late Antique examples of the tabula in Italy, Greece, and Jordan that adapted variants of the Roman form, clarifying how transformations in material impacted the form’s function as a sign for “monumentality.”