Inscriptions in honour of kings and emperors are very common. The Marmor Ancyranum (ed. Mommsen,² 1883) has already been mentioned; but an earlier example is the Monumentum Adulitanum (from Abyssinia, C.I.G. 5127A); Dittenberger, (Inscr. or. Gr. 54) reciting the achievements of Ptolemy III. Euergetes I.
Offerings in temples (ἀναθήματα) are often of great historical value, e.g. the dedications on the columns of Croesus at Ephesus mentioned above; Gelo’s dedication at Delphi, 479 B.C. (Hicks² 16); the helmet of Hiero, now in the British Museum, dedicated at Olympia after his victory over the Etruscans, 474 B.C. (C.I.G. 16; Hicks² 22); and the bronze base of the golden tripod dedicated at Delphi after the victory of Plataea, and carried off to Constantinople by Constantine (Dethier and Mordtmann, Epigraphik von Byzantion, 1874; Hicks² 19).
2. The religion of Greece in its external aspects is the subject of a great number of inscriptions (good selections in Dittenberger, Syll.² 550-816, and Michel 669-1330). The following are a few specimens. (1) Institution of festivals, with elaborate Religious Inscriptions. ritual directions: see Sauppe, Die Mysterieninschrift aus Andania (1860); Dittenberger, Syll.² 653, and the singular document from the Ephesian theatre in Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. 481; the following also relate to festivals—C.I.G. 1845, 2360, 2715, 3059, 3599, 3641b; Dittenberger, Syll.² 634 (the lesser Panathenaea) and Or. Gr. Inscr. 383 (law of Antiochus I. of Commagene). (2) Laws defining the appointment, duties or perquisites of the priesthood: Dittenberger, Syll.² 601; Boeckh, Staatshaush. ii. 109 seq. (3) Curious calendar of sacrifices from Myconus: Dittenberger, Syll.² 615. (4) Fragment of augury rules, Ephesus, 6th century B.C.: ibid. 801. (5) Leases of τεμένη and sacred lands (see Dareste, &c., Inscr. jur. Gr. ii. § 19 and commentary). (6) Imprecations written on lead, and placed in tombs or in temples: Wünsch, I.G. iii. App.; Audollent, Defixionum tabellae (1904). (7) Oracles are referred to I.G. xii. 248; Michel 840-856. (8) Among the inscriptions from Delphi few are more curious than those relating to the enfranchisement of slaves under the form of sale to a god (see Gr. dial. Inschr. nos. 1684-2342); for enfranchisement-inscriptions of various kinds, Dareste, &c., Inscr. jur. Gr. § xxx. (9) Cures effected in the Asclepieum at Epidaurus (Dittenberger, Syll.² 802-805). (10) Inventories, &c., of treasures in temples: Michel 811-828, 832, 833, &c. (11) Inscriptions relating to dramatic representations at public festivals: A. Wilhelm, Urkunden dramatischer Aufführungen in Athen (Vienna, 1906). This catalogue might be enlarged indefinitely.
3. There remain a large number of inscriptions of a more strictly private character. The famous Parian marble (I.G. xii. 444) falls under this head; it was a system of chronology drawn up, perhaps by a schoolmaster, in the 3rd century B.C. Private Inscriptions. The excessive devotion of the later Greeks to athletic and other competitions at festivals is revealed by the numerous dedications made by victorious competitors who record their successes (see Michel 915-960; Dittenberger, Syll.² 683 f.). The dedications and honorary inscriptions relating to the Ephebi of later Athens (which occupy half of I.G. iii. pt. 1), dreary as they seem, have yet thrown a curious light upon the academic life of Roman Athens (see A. Dumont, Essai sur l’éphébie attique; Reinach, Traité, pp. 408-418; Roberts and Gardner ii. 145); and from these and similar late inscriptions the attempt has been made to construct Fasti of the later archons (von Schöffer in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyklopädie, s.v. “Archontes”; W. S. Ferguson in Cornell Studies, x. The sepulchral monuments have been beautifully illustrated in Stackelberg’s Gräber der Hellenen; for the Attic stelae see Conze, Die attischen Grabreliefs (1893 ff.). Some of the most interesting epitaphs in the C.I.G. are from Aphrodisias and Smyrna. Kumanudes’s collection of Attic epitaphs has been mentioned above; see also Gutscher, Die attischen Grabschr. (1889); they yield a good deal of information about the Attic demes, and some of them are of high importance, e.g. the epitaph on the slain in the year 458 B.C. (Dittenberger, Syll.² 9), and on those who fell in the Hellespont, c. 440 B.C. (Hicks² 46). For the metrical inscriptions see Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca (1878). Closely connected with sepulchral inscriptions is the famous “Will of Epicteta” (I.G. xii. 330). It was also customary at Athens for lands mortgaged to be indicated by boundary-stones inscribed with the names of mortgagor and mortgagee, and the amount (I.G. ii. 1103-1153; Dareste, &c., Inscr. jur. i. pp. 107-142); other ὄροι are common enough.
The names of sculptors inscribed on the bases of statues have been collected by E. Löwy (Inschriften gr. Bildhauer, 1885). In most cases the artists are unknown to fame. Among the exceptions are the names of Pythagoras of Rhegium, whom we now know to have been a native of Samos (Löwy 23, 24); Pyrrhus, who made the statue of Athena Hygieia dedicated by Pericles (Plut. Per. 13; Löwy 53); Polyclitus the younger (Löwy 90 f.), Paeonius of Mende, who sculptured the marble Nike at Olympia (Löwy 49); Praxiteles (Löwy 76), &c.
The bearing of inscriptions upon the study of dialects is very obvious. A handy selection has been made by Cauer (Delectus inscr. Gr. 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1883) of the principal inscriptions illustrating this subject, and a complete collection is in Study of Dialects. course of publication (Collitz and others, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, Göttingen, 1884 ff.). See also R. Meister, Die griech. Dialekte (1882-1889), and O. Hoffman, Die griech. Dialekte (1891-1898). The grammar of Attic inscriptions is treated by Meisterhans, Grammatik der att. Inschr. (3rd ed. by Schwyzer, 1900).
The date of inscriptions is determined partly by the internal evidence of the subject, persons, and events treated of, and the character of the dialect and language. But the most important evidence is the form of the letters and style of Date of Inscriptions. execution. For the Attic inscriptions the development from the earliest times to about A.D. 500 is elaborately treated by Larfeld, Handbuch der att. Inschr. (1902). bk. ii. Much of the evidence is of a kind difficult to appreciate from a mere description. Yet—besides the βουστροφηδόν writing of many early documents—we may mention the contrast between the stiff, angular characters which prevailed before 500 or 450 B.C. and the graceful yet simple forms of the Periclean age. This development was part of the general movement of the time. Inscriptions of this period are usually written στοιχηδόν, i.e. the letters are in line vertically as well as horizontally. From the archonship of Eucleides (403 B.C.) onwards the Athenians officially adopted the fuller alphabet which had obtained in Ionia since the 6th century. Before 403 B.C. ζ and ψ were expressed in Attic inscriptions by ΧΣ and φΣ, while Ε did duty for η, ε, and sometimes ει, Ο for ο, ου, and ω—Η being used only for the aspirate. There is, however, occasional use of the Ionic alphabet in Attica, even in official inscriptions, as early as the middle of the 5th century. The Macedonian period betrays a falling off in neatness and firmness of execution—the letters being usually small and scratchy, excepting in inscriptions relating to great personages, when the characters are often very large and handsome. In the 2nd century came in the regular use of apices as an ornament of letters. These tendencies increased during the period of Roman dominion in Greece, and gradually, especially in Asia Minor, the iota adscriptum was dropped. The Greek characters of the Augustan age indicate a period of restoration; they are uniformly clear, handsome, and adorned with apices. The lunate epsilon and sigma (ϵ, Ϲ) establish themselves in this period; so does the square form , and the cursive ω is also occasionally found. The inscriptions of Hadrian’s time show a tendency to eclectic imitation of the classical lettering. But from the period of the Antonines (when we find a good many pretty inscriptions) the writing grows more coarse and clumsy until Byzantine times, when the forms appear barbarous indeed beside an inscription of the Augustan or even Antonine age.
The finest collections of inscribed Greek marbles are of course at Athens. There are also good collections, public and private, at Smyrna and Constantinople. The British Museum contains the best collection out of Athens (see the publication Collections of Marbles. mentioned above); the Louvre contains a good many (edited by Fröhner, Les Inscriptions grecques du musée du Louvre, 1865); the Oxford collection is very valuable, and fairly large; and there are some valuable inscriptions also at Cambridge.
Bibliography.—The following essays give good outlines of the whole subject:—Boeckh, C.I.G., preface to vol i.; C. T. Newton, Essays on Art and Archaeology (1880), pp. 95, 209; S. Reinach, Traité d’épigraphie grecque (Paris, 1885). Besides the works already quoted the following should be mentioned:—Boeckh’s Kleine Schriften; Michaelis, Der Parthenon; Waddington, Fastes des provinces asiatiques, part i. (1872), and Mémoire sur la chronologie de la vie du rhéteur Aristide; Kirchhoff, Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets (4th ed., 1887); Schubert, De proxenia (Leipzig, 1881); Monceaux, Les Proxénies gr. (Paris, 1886); Latyshev, Inscr. ant. orae septentr. Ponti Euxini Gr. et Lat. (2 vols., St Petersburg, 1885-1890); Bechtel, Inschriften des ionischen Dialekts (Göttingen, 1887); Paton and Hicks, Inscriptions of Cos (Oxford, 1891); Fränkel and others, Inschriften von Pergamon (2 vols., Berlin 1890-1895); Comparetti, Le Leggi di Gortyna, &c. (Monum. antichi, iii., 1893); E. Hoffmann, Sylloge epigrammatum Graec. (Halle a. S., 1893); O. Kern, Inschriften von Magnesia am Maeander (Berlin, 1900); S. Chabert, Histoire sommaire des études d’épigraphie grecque (Paris, 1906); Hackl, Merkantile Inschr. auf attischen Vasen (Münch, arch Stud., 1909); Wilhelm, Beiträge zur griech. Inschriftenkunde (Vienna, 1909).
IV. Latin Inscriptions
I. Latin or Roman Inscriptions (by which general name are designated, in classical archaeology, all non-literary remains of the Latin language, with the exception of coins, letters and journals) fall into two distinct classes, viz. (1) those which were written upon other objects of various kinds, to denote their peculiar purpose, and in this way have been preserved along with them; and (2) those which themselves are the objects, written, to be durable, as a rule, on metal or stone. The first class is that of inscriptions in the stricter sense of the word (styled by the Romans tituli, by the Germans Aufschriften); the second is that of instruments or charters, public and private (styled by the Romans first leges, afterwards instrumenta or tabulae, and by the Germans Urkunden).
No ancient Latin authors have professedly collected and explained or handed down to us Roman inscriptions. Some of