This version of the course guide is provisional until the period for editing the new course guides ends.

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Epigraphic Texts and Contexts

Code: 104221 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 3 2
2504394 English and Classics Studies OT 3 0
2504394 English and Classics Studies OT 4 0


Joan Carbonell Manils

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Alessandro Ravotto


There is no previous requirement, but it is highly recommended to have passed the first and second year subjects on classical languages and archeology.

Objectives and Contextualisation

At the end of the course, the student will have to be able to:

  • Interpret the content of a Greek and / or Latin inscription.
  • Explain the formal and content characteristics of an epigraphic text.
  • Use the specific terminology of the epigraphic discipline in the analysis and in the commentary of the inscriptions.
  • Handle corpora and epigraphic databases.
  • Integrate the historical-archaeological and philological information in the commentary of an epigraph.


    Ancient Studies
  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Extract and interpret data from texts written in an ancient language in different formats applying knowledge of the auxiliary sciences of history (epigraphy, numismatics, codicology, palaeography, etc.).
  • Identify and interpret ancient historical remains to relate them to social, political and economic events in the Mediterranean societies of the period of Antiquity.
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Interrelate linguistic, historical and archaeological knowledge of the ancient world with knowledge of other areas of the humanities, mainly ancient literature, philosophy and art.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
    English and Classics Studies
  • Interpret written texts in Latin and Greek to learn about classical history and civilizations.
  • Interrelate linguistic and historical knowledge of the ancient world with knowledge of other fields of the humanities, mainly literature and archaeology.
  • Recognize the most significant periods, traditions, trends, authors and works of Greek, Latin and English literatures in their historical and social context.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Use digital tools and specific documentary sources to gather and organise information.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse linguistic, historical and archaeological data, incorporating, where necessary, contributions from other disciplines related to Ancient Studies.
  2. Appropriately use the specific terminology of the discipline of epigraphy in reading, interpreting and commenting on an inscription.
  3. Comment on a particular feature of the ancient Mediterranean world from a holistic perspective, including all the data available within the framework of Ancient Studies.
  4. Comment on a specific aspect of the ancient Mediterranean world with a global approach, which includes all the data available within the framework of Ancient Studies.
  5. Compare information from written sources with archaeological data in relation to historical processes or events in classical antiquity.
  6. Describe the different media for the epigraphic texts and know their different uses and values.
  7. Extract information from the Greek and Latin texts on aspects of realia especially related to their historical and cultural context.
  8. Handle databases on textual sources, both literary and epigraphic.
  9. Identify in the Latin texts the characteristics of a particular literary genre.
  10. Integrate archaeological and philological information referring to an epigraph.
  11. Know and explain the differences of form and content between an epigraphic text and a literary text and their different documentary value.
  12. Locate truthful and meaningful to the reading and interpretation of literary texts or epigraphic information.
  13. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.
  14. Suitably use the specific terminology of epigraphy in reading, interpreting and commenting on an inscription.


1.1. Epigraphy. Definition. Epigraphy, history, philology and archaeology.

1.2. Tools for the study of epigraphy: corpora, databases and prosopographic repertoires.

2. The oldest known inscriptions and the problems of the archaeological context.

3. The inscribed object: matter, form and function. Public and private epigraphy. Monumental epigraphy. Milestones, legal inscriptions and instrumenta inscripta domestica et publica: diplomata militaria, amphorae, laterculi, fistulae aquariae.

4. The elaboration of the epigraphic monument. Extraction of the material: quarries, tools and craftsmen. The officina epigraphica: artisans and techniques (minute, pagination, epigraphic field, letter-carving).

5. The epigraphic text. Writing systems. Alphabets and Greek epigraphic writing. Alphabet  and Latin epigraphic writing. Formulas and abbreviations. Its graphic development up the 2nd century CE. Aspects of historical phonetics deriving from Roman Republican inscriptions.    

6.1. Male and female onomastic formulas. Historical evolution. Citizens and foreigners. Slaves and freedmen.

6.2. Archaeological context of funerary inscriptions: the necropolis.

6.3. Funerary inscriptions.

7.1. Archaeological context of votive inscriptions: templa and sanctuaries.

7.2. The votive inscriptions. The Greek-Roman pantheon.

8.1. Archaeological context of honorary inscriptions: agoraforummonumenta

8.2. The senatorial and equestrian cursus honorum. Local magistrates. Onomastics and imperial titulature.

8.3. The honorary inscriptions.

9. Inscriptions on public works.

10. Greek and Roman inscriptions in Catalonia.

11. The reception of classical epigraphy in the Renaissance.


 The teaching methodology of this subject will consist of alternating the theoretical explanations about each one of the topics listed above with the completion of a series of practical exercises that will help the students to become familiar with the reading and interpretation of the epigraphic texts.

Theoretical content. It will be taught in master classes, aimed at offering the knowledge (linguistic, historical, archaeological, etc.) necessary to be able to read and contextualize an inscription. In these sessions, the relationship of the epigraphic text itself with its linguistic and palaeographic characteristics, with the inscribed object, with its archaeological context, etc. will be emphasized.

Practical content. It will be taught in the master classes and it will illustrate the theoretical contents by reading and commenting the inscriptions.

Personal work. The student will have to carry out a continuous work throughout the course, both in class and autonomously, on a set of inscriptions that will be delivered at the beginning of the course in the form of dossier. The student will have to be responsible for carrying daily the recommended work of translation and comment.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Explanation of theoretical content 33 1.32 5, 11, 6, 14, 12, 2
Practice of reading, analyzing and commenting inscriptions 15 0.6 5, 11, 2
Type: Supervised      
Monitoring personal work 10 0.4 5, 13, 10, 2
Reading, interpretation and commentary of inscriptions 15 0.6 1, 6, 8, 7, 2
Type: Autonomous      
Commentary of inscriptions 15 0.6 1, 6, 13, 7, 3, 10, 2
Complementary readings 10 0.4 12
Study of the theoretical content 30 1.2 5, 10, 12
Use of epigraphy study tools 5 0.2 8, 12, 2



I. Exercises and evaluation tests

The evaluation of the student will be made from:

    1. Class participation (10%)

    2. Partial test [§ 2-6.1] (20%)

    3. Personal commentary of an inscription (15%)

    4. Work on contextual aspects (15%)

    5. Final synthesis test (40%)


II. Conditions to be evaluated

Not assessable.

If the faculty do not have two or more evidences of those described above from a registered student, he/she will be classified as "not assessable".


If the faculty has two or more assessable evidences of the student (exercises, tests ...), he / she will be evaluate on the “fail to excellent (Distinction)” scale, according to the percentages mentioned in the corresponding section.

To pass the course (from “pass” to “distinction” grades), the student, at a minimum, will have to:

    • Have obtained a score ≥ 4 in the final synthesis exercise.

    • Have completed 2 of the three works proposed in points 2, 3 and 4.

In case the sum of the weights of the marks is 5, but one of the above requirement is not met, the student will be scored with a 4.5 (fail).


III. Reassessment terms

To be able to present to the reassessment exam, the student:

    •  must have an average mark of  at least 3.5

    •  must have previously been evaluated in a set of activities, the weight of which is equal to at least 2/3 of the whole mark. 

In the reassessment test the student will only be able to re-evaluate the part corresponding to the final exercise (40%).


IV. Mark review procedure

The student has the right to review all the periodic exercises, the partial and final exams and the assignments, in class and / or in the tutorial hours.

The day for the revision of the provisional final mark and the revision of the reassessment test, will be announced in the minutes.

The student has the obligation to check the minutes of the marks before its validation, in order to ensure that there has been no error in the transfer of marks by the faculty.



In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Active participation during the course 10% 0 0 11, 13, 7, 4, 3, 2
Analysis and commentary of an inscription 15% 7 0.28 1, 5, 11, 13, 14, 8, 7, 3, 9, 10, 12, 2
Final synthesis test 40% 1.5 0.06 1, 11, 6, 13, 7, 10, 2
Partial test 20% 1.5 0.06 1, 6, 13, 7, 10, 2
Work on contextual aspects 15% 7 0.28 1, 5, 11, 7, 4, 3


Archaeological context in general:

ALCOCK, SUSAN E.; OSBORNE, ROBIN (ed.) (2012). Classical archaeology, Malden.

BODEL, JOHN P. (ed.) (2001). Epigraphic evidence: ancient history from inscriptions. London.

BODEL, JOHN; DIMITROVA, NORA (ed.) (2014). Ancient Documents and Their Contexts: First North American Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (2011), Leiden / Boston.

ECK, WERNER (1996). Tra epigrafia, prosopografia e archeologia: scritti scelti, rielaborati ed aggiornati. Vetera, 10. Roma.


Throughout the course, further references will be provided to specific publications (or to parts of more extensive publications).

Corpora and periodicals:

Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique = BCH.

Bulletin Epigraphique = Bull. Ep.

Carmina epigrafica graeca = CEG.

Carmina latina epigraphica = CLE

Corpus Inscriptionum latinarum= CIL

Corpus Instriptionum Graecarum= CIG

Inscriptiones graecae= IG

Inscriptions Romaines de Catalogne=IRC

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum = SEG.

Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik (ZPE).


Greek and Latin epigraphy manuals:


RÉMY, BERNARD; KAYSER, FRANÇOIS (1999). Initiation à l'épigraphie grecque et latine. Paris.


On Greek epigraphy:

CORTÉS COPETE, JUAN MANUEL (ed.) (1999). Epigrafía griega. Madrid.

GUARDUCCI, MARGHERITA (1987). L'epigrafia greca dalle origine al Tardo Impero. Roma.

MCLEAN, BRADLEY H. (2002). An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great down to the Reign of Constantine (323 B.C.-A.D. 337). Michigan.

BERTRAND, JEAN-MARIE (1992). Inscriptions historiques grecques, traduites et commentées. Paris. [No incorpora el text grec, però les traduccions i els comentaris poden ser d'utilitat.]

MEIGGS, RUSSELL; LEWIS, DAVID M. (1971). A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century B.C. Oxford (rv. 1989) = ML.

HOZ, MARÍA PAZ de  (2014). Inscripciones griegas de España y Portugal. Madrid. = IGEP.

RODRÍGUEZ SOMOLINOS, HELENA (1998). "Inscriptiones Graecae antiquissimae Iberiae" (IGAI). In: JULIO MANGAS; DOMINGO PLÁCIDO (eds.). Testimonia Hispaniae Antiquae II/A, Madrid.


On Latin epigraphy:

ANDREU, JAVIER (coord.) (2009). Fundamentos de epigrafía latina, Madrid. 

BRUUN, CHRISTER; EDMONDSON, JONATHAN (eds.) (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy, Oxford-New York.

BUONOPANE, ALFREDO (20091, 20212). Manuale di epigrafia latina, Roma.

CALABI, IDA (19914). Epigrafia latina, Milano.

COOLEY, ALISON E. (2012). The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy, Cambridge. 

CORBIER, PAUL (2006). L’épigraphie Latine, Paris.


No specific software is required.