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

The major atrium of the Archaeological Museum of Palermo (image: Iolanda Carollo)

The major atrium of the Archaeological Museum of Palermo (image: Iolanda Carollo)

The main purpose of the Writing & Statues project has been the building of a collection of Greek and Roman inscriptions carved on stone and coming from Sicily that are dated under the Roman Empire (1st century BC – 7th century AD) on the basis of historical and archaeological data. This research intends to offer a complete and exhaustive examination of that epigraphic material along with its original context.

Even though the majority of Greek and Roman stone inscriptions from Sicily have been already published, nevertheless scholars have focused exclusively on historical aspects so far; they have tried to match the information provided by those inscriptions with the historical information coming from literary sources. This approach is misleading for several reasons: a) sometimes inscriptions give different and/or complementary messages, if compared with literary sources; b) scholars are usually interested in the content of those inscriptions, and disregard the character of the objects the inscriptions are carved on, as well as the relative archaeological context. The main value of Dr Dimartino’s research activity is given by the interdisciplinary methodology she has applied to her study: she has analysed all of the documents, devoting particular attention to palaeographic, stylistic, and historical aspects, and focusing on the objects these inscriptions are engraved on, and their origin. Many inscriptions, collected during her research activity, are carved on statue-bases, which were erected in public areas to honour emperors, dignitaries and benefactors. In accordance with this new approach, a peculiar study-case consists of honorary monuments; Dr Dimartino has focused on the relationship between words and images as a means to convey messages and values, demonstrating that overcoming the separation of different areas of knowledge is important to reconstruct a more reliable framework of ancient Sicily. Such an interdisciplinary approach has allowed the scholar to give a clearer and reliable picture of that collection of Greek and Roman inscriptions from Sicily.

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Marie Curie Fellow: Dr Alessia Dimartino

email: alessiadee@gmail.com