Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 April 2024

epigraphy, Latinlocked

epigraphy, Latinlocked

  • Joyce Reynolds


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. amphorae and amphora stamps, roman).

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 The resulting text can then be interpreted as a historical document.


  • Latin Literature
  • Roman Material Culture

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription