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Michael A. Tueller

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Why did women, such as Nossis, Anyte, Moero, and Erinna, feature so prominently in the first generation of Hellenistic epigrammatists? Greek literature, from at least the mid-4th century BCE, gendered the written text as female, as shown by a fragment of Antiphanes’ Sappho; the passage of Plato’s Phaedrus in which he deals with writing seems in part written to respond to this idea. Erinna responded by placing women’s silence in place of the expected speaking text; Aratus and Callimachus developed the theme further, though in a more masculine vein

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Athena Kirk

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This paper explores the ancient Greek discourse mores surrounding inscriptions, and specifically the Classical use of the term ἐπιγραφή. While an ἐπιγραφή is usually defined as an ‘inscription’ in a general sense, this paper argues that in antiquity it in fact means something more specific. Unlike texts first composed and then recorded on stone such as laws, decrees, epigrams, and curses, ἐπιγραφή denotes a text that originates in written form and then attaches itself to an object: dedicatory descriptions for votives, name placards, distinguishing marks. Literary discussions of inscriptions, inscriptions themselves, and more figurative uses of the word demonstrate these key features of materiality, inextricability from surface, and unspokenness. Greek writers, I suggest, seem to have a unique conception of the relationship between a stone and its content, and one less apt to perceive the text of the inscription as an entity separable from its physical medium.

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Joseph W. Day

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The study of relationships among dedications inscribed with epigrams and placed in Archaic and Classical Greek sanctuaries contributes to our understanding of “spatial dynamics” in religious centers (Scott 2010). By reason of their location, the forms of dedicated objects, and inscribed texts, monuments were members of groups in conversation with other members. They drew passers-by into these conversations by engaging them with visual and verbal cross-references. Family groupings (with examples from Cheramyes’ dedications at Samos to Daochus’ at Delphi) illustrate cooperative conversations; competitive ones are illustrated by military dedications on the Sacred Way at Delphi and athletic ones at Olympia.

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Abigail Graham

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How do we treat two monumental dedications with the same or similar text? Modern epigraphic resources often give a full description of one text once, then make reference to another ‘copy’ or ‘copies’. This paper argues that a ‘copy’ is worthy of study as an inscription in its own right; by examining the differences between two inscriptions with the same or similar text, unique insights can be gained into the monumental message and how it would have been perceived by an ancient audience. This paper will draw a comparison between ‘duplicate’ inscriptions of monumental building dedications and the architectural space upon which they were inscribed. The focus of this survey will be the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias, a building where many sculptural, architectural, and epigraphic studies have been carried out, but not necessarily integrated with each other. In particular, it will examine two sets of building dedications (generally dated to the 1st century CE), where two similar texts have been placed on two different types of architectural space. A close study of textual arrangement on different architectural venues reveals a careful process of planning and organization. Understanding the functional role that the architectural context and visual elements (such as spaces and decorations) played in the presentation of epigraphic material allows us to see how distinctions and hierarchies within the text were represented to the Roman viewer in different ways. Observations on same-text dedications at the Sebasteion will be contrasted with a third case study of two near-identical dedications set up in similar architectural venues at the Hadrianic baths. Having examined same-text relationships and the intimate connection between text and architectural space, one can better understand how the phenomenon of ‘duplicate’ dedications was presented to the ancient audience.

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Ioannis Mylonopoulos

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This paper studies the reluctance of ancient Greeks to inscribe dedicatory texts on the architraves of temples in particular, but also on altars and buildings in general that were deemed sacred. Although most scholars have claimed for nearly a century that temples were simply monumental architectural backdrops for altars and ritual activities taking place in the open, the fact that the Greeks persistently avoided defining the houses of their gods as votive offerings via all too visibly placed inscriptions reveals that temples were considered something special. Thus our understanding of ancient temples’ functions and significance has to be revisited.

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Volume-editor Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic and Edmund Thomas

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Valentina Garulli

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Since the use of lectional and critical signs is less frequent in inscriptions than in papyri and manuscripts, such signs have never been a concern of epigraphists. This paper aims to draw attention to verse-inscriptions and focus on three signs: paragraphos, diple obelismene, diple. Some examples of each sign found in verse-inscriptions are examined. Both prose and verse-inscriptions seem to document a use of these sigla which is likely to be earlier and more varied than the Aristarchean system, which might have resulted from some adaptation of a more flexible system for the special use of learned readers.

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Fanny Opdenhoff

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The aspects of materiality treated in this paper concern the physical relations between several inscriptions as well as between inscriptions and their surroundings. At Pompeii, painted, scratched and carved writings, which are by their content related to various social fields, intertwine in complex spatial arrangements. This topic is explored here by way of case studies dealing with the exterior walls in three different neighbourhoods. The main suggestion that the paper makes is that the ongoing material modifications in the assemblages of texts forced the viewer to reassess the relationships in every instance and caused a continuous shifting of the function and meaning in such urban communication.

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Katharina Bolle

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This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of inscriptional context and argues that by studying the specific material appearance of an inscription, such as the size, setting, texture, shape, letter-design, and environmental relation to other objects, we can gauge the ancient viewer’s perception and interpretation of an inscription.

The method is illustrated with an analysis of two sets of inscriptions from the 4th cent. CE Ostia, set up by two Roman officials, Flavius Octavius Victor and Ragonius Vincentius Celsus. Both men were praefecti annonae and both improved the bath-facilities at Ostia and set up inscriptions in order to commemorate this activity. The analysis of the specific visual design and spatial arrangement of inscriptions set up to commemorate the deeds of each man reveals that each had adopted a markedly different strategy for inscribing their memory in the inscriptional dossier of Ostia: the inscriptions set up by Celsus pursue clarity to the point of redundancy, whereas Victor’s display a unique and highly aesthetic visual design, which goes hand-in-hand with the sophisticated textual content of his bilingual inscriptions. Victor commemorated his deeds inside the baths by setting up inscriptions partially composed in verse, and even one in Greek, thus limiting his audience to the educated elite, whereas Celsus placed his bold and repetitive formulaic Latin inscriptions on the outside. His strategy was to achieve optimal visibility and legibility, so as to reach the widest possible audience.