Classics > Research > Completed Projects > Writing & Statues. Palaeographic Analysis and Historical Perspectives on Greek and Latin Honorary Inscriptions from Ancient Sicily (I BC - VII AD)

Writing & Statues. Palaeographic Analysis and Historical Perspectives on Greek and Latin Honorary Inscriptions from Ancient Sicily (I BC - VII AD)

The main purpose of this research is the realization of a corpus of Greek and Latin epigraphic documents carved on stone in Sicily under the Roman Empire (post 27 BC 650 AD), making use of a new interdisciplinary approach. The target of this study is twofold; it will allow me to interpret and evaluate the meaning(s) of Sicilian inscriptions.

A) The first need is to collect and study inscriptions on stone, paying attention to their style and content. I shall outline the palaeographic evolution during the imperial age, and then I shall pinpoint the chronology also for those that have not yet been dated.

B) The second need arises from the first: the largest part of Sicilian documents on stone were carved on the bases of statues erected in public area to honour emperors, dignitaries and benefactors. In order to understand the correct meaning of these inscribed monuments it is necessary to extend my research to the bases of statues themselves and to the contexts in which they once stood. At the same time, I will have to interact the ways in wich word and image interact in the language of honorary statues during the Roman Imperial period. All this will be the topic of a specific thematic study.

This project is original in several ways: 1) It permits to go beyond existing palaeographic studies and to sketch an evolution of letter-forms during the Imperial age, taking as a case study Sicily and a particular class of epigraphs (those carved on stone), in order to suggest a chronology for the inscriptions that have not yet been dated. 2) It investigate the inscriptions carved on the statue-bases and their original context, making use of literary sources and archaeological data. 3) It permits to answer questions about the relationship between word and image in the statuary of the Roman Imperial age.

A full understanding of honorary inscriptions would be impossible without an interdisciplinary approach.

Further details

Director: Professor R R R Smith

Marie Curie Fellow: Dr Alessia Dimartino