Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Epigraphy and Ligatures

It is Summer so it is time for those posts that are even more tangential to TC than the usual ones. Whilst on a field trip in Turkey, I noticed the following inscription in Priene (I.Priene 246), dated to the 3rd century AD on the basis of the script.

What struck me are the many ligatures where the vertical strokes of the letters are combined, not unlike the ligatures in some of the later 4th century codices.

This example shows the combination of Η Ν Π in την πολιν, the one below shows a combination of Η Σ in the second line, but compare the line below where the two letters are written separately.

I do not intend to make a study of the development of such ligatures and of the localities where and the times when, but I could see some potential in such a project (unless this has been done already, of course).

In case you are interested, this is the full transcription of the text (taken from ConcEyst, with thanks):
ἡ λαμπροτάτη Πριηνέων
Ἰώνων πόλις
καὶ ἡ κρ. βουλὴ καὶ
τὸ φιλοσέβαστον συνέδριον
τῆς γερουσίας
ἐτείμησαν κατὰ τὰ
πολλάκις ὑπὸ αὐτῶν
ἐν κοινῷ δι ὑπο μνημάτων
λογισθέντα ἐπὶ βουλεκκλησιῶν
καὶ διὰ ψηφισμάτων
ὑπὲρ ὧν ἐποιήσατο
διὰ τῶν ἀρχῶν περὶ
τὴν πόλιν ἀναλωμάτων
Μ. Αὐρ. Τατιανὸν β τοῦ
Εὐσχήμονος τοῦ Πωλλίωνος
τὸν ἀγορανόμο
καὶ πανηγυρίαρχον τῆς
Πολιάδος θεοῦ Ἀθηνᾶς
καὶ προστάτην τῆς θεοῦ
καὶ ἀρχιπρύτανιν καὶ
βούλαρχον τὸν στεφανηφόρον.

1 comment

  1. I am no expert on epigraphy but two things strike me here. The first is the Attic sigma (Σ). When I took my epigraphy class, I think that I learned that the lunate sigma (C) was the standard for the imperial period. I would assume that this is an archaism on the part of the producer of the monument maybe even with the Athenian goddess in mind.

    Second, the formula/sentence structure used is parallel to what one would find on in a Latin monument. I would guess that this is quite standard by the fourth century.