The Word is Not Enough: A New Approach to Assessing Monumental Inscriptions. A Case Study from Roman Ephesos

The reconstructed Library at Celsus.
The reconstructed Library at Celsus.

This work defines a clear set of monumental criteria for examining an inscription’s monumental appearance, including the appearance of the text (e.g., its arrangement on the monument, the use of decorations, variations in letter size, and, in the case of bilingual inscriptions, the presentation of two different languages) and its relationship to the monumental context (in its architectural setting and the urban context). The criteria are applied in a case study at Ephesos that is divided into two sections. The first section considers a series of three monuments at the Tetragonos Agora that date between ca. 3 B.C.E. and 130 C.E. The second applies the criteria to a broader range of material in a series of projects from two different contexts. The methodology demonstrates how an assessment of epigraphic monumentality can provide complementary information to that provided by the standard format of published inscriptions and how this information is applicable to a broader range of scholars.

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