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Understanding Greek Inscriptions - 20 credits (HST017)

Inscriptions are one of the most important sources for the historian and archaeologist of ancient Greece. This module will provide an introduction to the study of inscriptions for postgraduates. It will include:

  1. an introduction to Greek epigraphy (including guidance on bibliography and epigraphic conventions)
  2. at least one hands-on session, with an inscription or squeezes
  3. study of relief sculpture on inscriptions
  4. familiarisation with issues specific to using inscriptions, including alphabetic variation in early Greek inscriptions and problems of dating
  5. study of the origins of Greek alphabetic literacy
  6. study of 'the epigraphic habit' — why texts get inscribed, the purpose of inscriptions, the contribution inscriptions make to illuminating the extent and use of literacy in the ancient world, and the connection between inscribing and democracy
  7. study of some specific texts

It is expected that the module will cover both short, straightforward texts, including dedications and funerary monuments, in Greek (though help will be provided for those with little or no Greek), and one or more longer texts, such as decrees and accounts, which, depending on the student's knowledge of Greek, may be studied in translation. The overall aim is to equip students with knowledge and skills needed to make use of inscriptions in historical and archaeological research. It is possible that there will an option to take part or all of the module as a residential course at the British School at Athens.