The study of Latin texts inscribed on durable objects, usually of stone or bronze. It is concerned both with the form of the inscriptions and with their content, and so impinges on many other fields, e.g. art history, palaeography, philology, history, law, religion. It excludes, but cannot ignore, texts on coins and gems; it has a strong interest in Greek inscriptions of the Roman period; it includes some texts written with paint or pen and ink (see e.g.
2. The epigraphist must first decipher all that can be read on the inscribed object, however much damaged it is and then, where possible, propose restorations of what is illegible or lost: processes for which modern techniques, such as computer-enhanced photographs and computerized indices of formulae, are currently supplementing long-standing aids, such as photographs taken in raking lights and squeezes (impressions made with absorbent paper or latex). The resulting text can then be interpreted as a historical document.Less
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