Inscriptional palaeography in a multilingual province (Stoyanova)

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PhD research, 2013-2018 (approx.)

  • Student: Simona Stoyanova
  • Institution: King's College London (Digital Humanities and Classics)
  • Supervisors: Peter Stokes and Irene Polinskaya

Abstract

My research explores the influences and relations between the Greek and Latin epigraphic traditions in the Roman province of Thrace (modern southern Bulgaria, northern Greece and Turkey). The Greek epigraphic tradition was already widespread throughout the region. By the time of the Roman conquest, the local population, a large part of which was Thracian, was already bilingual, using Thracian and Greek. The arrival of the Latin language and epigraphic tradition in the 1st century A. D. caused inevitable changes. The analysis of internal processes and the relationship between the changes in both languages could give us a clearer picture of the curious epigraphic situation in Thrace (examples include bilingual funerary inscriptions with Latin nomenclature and Greek verse, or Greek inscriptions put up by Roman officials in Roman colonies).

To facilitate the palaeographic aspect of the research, I plan to build a customisation of DigiPal, The Digital Resource for Palaeography, for the use of epigraphers. Its potential for mapping, cataloguing, tracing patterns, processing and analysing scripts and hands in manuscripts can be extremely helpful for managing epigraphic material.

Does exploring and presenting Greek and Latin inscriptions through DigiPal make the carrying out of the research more efficient, in what ways and to what extent? Would it allow scholars to present new questions and look at existing ones from new perspectives? What would be the significance of presenting an inscription as a single visual whole, with its setting, decoration and layout? Could we talk about reinstating the text in its original context, or does the analysis of specific letterforms fragment the reading even further? Does the application of DigiPal to Greek and Latin inscriptions offer a valuable insight into the project’s potential?

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