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Classical Epigraphy

  • Postgraduate training

The department has a Taught MA programme [Ancient Visual and Material Culture], including a stream incorporating the Postgraduate City of Rome course at the BSR [Visual and Material Culture of Ancient Rome] and short courses at the BSA [Visual and Material Culture of Ancient Greece], in which students have the opportunity to specialise in epigraphy.

  • Current research projects and collaborative work

Alison Cooley has recently completed a new edition of the Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean Museum, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Ashmolean Museum. This includes about 470 inscriptions, of all shapes and sizes. Some of the particularly noteworthy results of this research will also shortly appear in articles accepted for publication in ZPE and Britannia.

Alison Cooley is also joint series editor, with Prof. A.K. Bowman, of Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents (Oxford University Press). The series includes the following recent volumes: Proxeny and Polis by William Mack (2015); Scribal Repertoires in Egypt, edited by Jennifer Cromwell and Eitan Grossman (2017). She is also a member of the international team of Annee Epigraphique, producing the section each year on the province of Britannia.

Suzanne Frey-Kupper is part of the collaborative working group investigating with Jonathan Prag, Filippo Battistoni, Alessia Di Martino, Lorenzo Campagna and others the Taormina Financial Documents. She is focussing on coin denominations, metrology and aspects on finances arising from the inscriptions. The studies on these extraordinary documents from Hellenistic Sicily will be published in a volume of the OUP series of Oxford Studies and Ancient Documents (see above).

  • Recent publications in epigraphy

The Res Gestae divi Augusti was rightly dubbed ‘queen of inscriptions’ by Theodore Mommsen. A substantial new commentary on the inscription by Alison Cooley was published by CUP in May 2009. Listen to our podcast, 'The first emperor and the queen of inscriptions: Augustus in his own words'.

The Cambridge Manual to Latin Epigraphy by Alison Cooley (CUP, 2012) has two main aims. Firstly, to enable readers to appreciate both the potential and the limitations of inscriptions as historical source material, by considering in detail the diversity of epigraphic culture in the Roman world, and how this has been transmitted to the 21st century. Secondly, to provide students with guidance for deciphering inscriptions in their raw state and handling specialist epigraphic publications. This work has been completed thanks to a research leave grant from the AHRC in 2010.

‘Paratextual perspectives upon the SC de Pisone patre’, in The Roman Paratext: Frame, Texts, Readers, ed. L. Jansen (Cambridge University Press) 143-55 (Alison Cooley)

Staff working in this area

Alison Cooley

Naomi Carless Unwin

Abigail Graham