1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Inscriptions
INSCRIPTIONS (from Lat. inscribere, to write upon), the general term for writings cut on stone or metal, the subject matter of epigraphy. See generally Writing and Palaeography. Under this heading it is convenient here to deal more specifically with four groups of ancient inscriptions, Semitic, Indian, Greek and Latin, but further information will be found in numerous separate articles on philological subjects. See especially Cuneiform, Babylonia and Assyria, Sumer, Behistun, Egypt (Language and Writing), Ethiopia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Hittites, Sabaeans, Minaeans, Etruria, Aegean Civilization, Crete, Cyprus, Britain, Scandinavian Languages, Teutonic Languages, Central America: Archaeology, &c.
I. Semitic Inscriptions
Excluding cuneiform (q.v.), the inscriptions known as Semitic are usually classed under two main heads as North and South Semitic. The former class includes Hebrew (with Moabite), Phoenician (with Punic and neo-Punic), and Aramaic (with Nabataean and Palmyrene). The South Semitic class includes the Minaean and Sabaean inscriptions of South Arabia. In most of these departments there has been a very large increase of material during recent years, some of which is of the highest historical and palaeographical importance. The North Semitic monuments have received the greater share of attention because of their more general interest in connexion with the history of surrounding countries.
1. North Semitic.—The earliest authority for any North Semitic language is that of the Tel-el-Amarna tablets (15th century B.C.) which contain certain “Canaanite glosses,” i.e. North Semitic words written in cuneiform characters. From these to the first inscription found in the North Semitic alphabet, there is an interval of about six centuries. The stele of Mesha, commonly called the Moabite Stone, was set up in the 9th century B.C. to commemorate the success of Moab in shaking off the Israelitish rule. It is of great value, both historically as relating to events indicated in 2 Kings i. 1, iii. 5, &c., and linguistically as exhibiting a language almost identical with Hebrew—that is to say, another form of the same Canaanitish language. It was discovered in 1868 by the German missionary, Klein, on the site of Dibon, intact, but was afterwards broken up by the Arabs. The fragments, collected with great difficulty by Clermont-Ganneau and others, are now in the Louvre. Its genuineness was contested by A. Löwy (Scottish Review, 1887; republished, Berlin, 1903) and recently again by G. Jahn (appendix to Das Buch Daniel, Leipzig, 1904), but, although there are many difficulties connected with the text, its authenticity is generally admitted.
Early Hebrew inscriptions are at present few and meagre, although it cannot be doubted that others would be found by excavating suitable sites. The most important is that discovered in 1880 in the tunnel of the pool of Siloam, commemorating the piercing of the rock. It is generally believed to refer to Hezekiah’s scheme for supplying Jerusalem with water (2 Kings xx. 20), and therefore to date from about 700 B.C. It consists of six lines in good Hebrew, and is the only early Hebrew inscription of any length. The character does not differ from that of the Moabite Stone, except in the slightly cursive tendency of its curved strokes, due no doubt to their having been traced for the stone-cutter by a scribe who was used to writing on parchment. There are also a few inscribed seals dating from before the Exile, some factory marks and an engraved capital at al-Amwās, which last may, however, be Samaritan. Otherwise this character is only found (as the result of an archaizing tendency) on coins of the Hasmoneans, and, still later, on those of the first and second (Bar Kokhba’s) revolts.
The new Hebrew character, which developed into the modern square character, is first found in a name of five letters at ‘Arāq-al-amīr, of the 2nd century B.C. Somewhat later, but probably of the 1st century B.C., is the tombstone of the B’nē Ḥeẓīr (“Tomb of St James”) at Jerusalem. An inscription on a ruined synagogue at Kafr Bir’im, near Ṣafed, perhaps of about A.D. 300, or earlier, shows the fully developed square character.
Since the publication of the Corpus Inscr. Sem. it has been customary to treat papyri along with inscriptions, and for palaeographical reasons it is convenient to do so. Hebrew papyri are few, all in square character and not of great interest. The longest, and probably the earliest (6th century A.D.), is one now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, containing a private letter written in a character closely resembling that of the Kair Bir’im inscription. Other fragments were published by Steinschneider (perhaps 8th century), and by D. H. Müller and Kaufmann.
Hebrew inscriptions outside Palestine are the cursive graffiti in the catacombs at Venosa (2nd-5th century), the magical texts on Babylonian bowls (7th-8th century), and the numerous tombstones in various parts of Europe, of all periods from the 6th century to the present time.
The few Samaritan inscriptions in existence are neither early nor interesting.
Closely related to the Hebrews, both politically and in language, were the Phoenicians in North Syria. Their monuments in Phoenicia itself are few and not earlier than the Persian period. The oldest yet found, dating probably from the 5th or 4th century B.C., is that of Yeḥaw-milk, king of Gebal (modern Jebel) or Byblus, where it was found. It records at some length the dedication of buildings, &c., to the goddess of Gebal. Of the 3rd century B.C. are the inscriptions on the sarcophagi of Tabnith and his son Eshmun’azar, kings of Sidon, and some records of other members of the same family, Bod-’ashtart and his son Yathan-milk, found in 1902 a short distance north of Sidon.
Outside Phoenicia the inscriptions are numerous and widely scattered round the Mediterranean coasts, following the course of Phoenician trade. The earliest is that on some fragments of three bronze bowls, dedicated to Baal of Lebanon, found in Cyprus. The character is like that of the Moabite Stone, and the date is probably the 8th century B.C., though some scholars would put it nearer to 1000 B.C. In the latter case, the Hiram, king of Sidon, mentioned in the inscriptions would be the same as Hiram, king of Tyre, in Solomon’s time. Similar bowls (of about 700 B.C.) found at Nimrud sometimes bear the maker’s name in Phoenician characters.
Many monumental inscriptions have also been found in Cyprus, at Kition, Idalion, Tamassos, &c. They are chiefly votive, some dated in the 4th century, and some being perhaps as late as the 2nd century B.C., so that they afford valuable evidence as to the succession of the local kings. Several also are bilingual, and it was one of these which supplied George Smith with the clue to the Cypriote syllabic system of writing Greek. Similar memorials of Phoenician settlements were found at Athens (Piraeus), in Egypt, Sardinia, Malta and Gozo. Most interesting of all is the celebrated sacrificial tablet of Marseilles, giving an elaborate tariff of payments at or for the various offerings, and showing some striking analogies with the directions in the book of Leviticus. For the information it gives as to civil and priestly organization, it is the most important Phoenician text in existence. It was probably brought from Carthage, where similar tariffs have been found. On the site of that important colony, and indeed throughout the parts of North Africa once subject to its rule, Punic inscriptions are, as might be expected, very numerous. By far the majority are votive tablets, probably belonging to the period between the 4th and the 2nd centuries B.C., many of them in a wonderfully perfect state of preservation. One of the most interesting, recently discovered, mentions a high-priestess who was head of the college of priests, and whose husband’s family had been suffetes for four generations. Later inscriptions, called neo-Punic, dating from the fall of Carthage to about the 1st century A.D., are written in a debased character and language differing in several respects from the earlier Punic, and presenting many difficulties.
In Aramaic the earliest inscriptions are three found in 1890-1891 at and near Zinjīrlī in North-west Syria, dating from the 8th century B.C. Of these, one was set up by Panammū, king of Ya’dī, in honour of the god Hadad, and is inscribed on a statue of him, the other two were set up by Bar-rekub, son of Panammū, one in honour of his father and on his statue, the second commemorating the erection of his new house. They are remarkable as being engraved in relief, a peculiarity which has been thought to be due to “Hittite” influence. Otherwise the character resembles that of the Moabite Stone. The texts consist of 77 lines (not all legible), giving a good deal of information about an obscure place and period hitherto known only from cuneiform sources. The ornamentation is Assyrian in style, as also is that of the inscriptions of Nerab (near Aleppo), commemorative texts engraved on statues of priests, of about the 7th century.
Of shorter inscriptions there is a long series from about the 8th century B.C., on bronze weights found at Nineveh (generally accompanied by an Assyrian version), and as “dockets” to cuneiform contract-tablets, giving a brief indication of the contents. Aramaic, being the commercial language of the East, was naturally used for this purpose in business documents. For the same reason it is found in the 6th-4th centuries B.C. sporadically in various regions, as in Cilicia, in Lycia (with a Greek version), at Abydos (on a weight). At Taimā also, in North Arabia, an important trading centre, besides shorter texts, a very interesting inscription of twenty-three lines was found, recording the foundation and endowment of a new temple, probably in the 5th century B.C. But by far the most extensive collection of early Aramaic texts comes from Egypt, where the language was used not only for trade purposes, as elsewhere, but also officially under the Persian rule. From Memphis there is a funeral inscription dated in the fourth year of Xerxes (482 B.C.), and a dedication on a bowl of about the same date. A stele recently published by de Vogüé is dated 458 B.C. Another which is now at Carpentras in France (place of origin unknown) is probably not much later. At Elephantine and Assuān in Upper Egypt, a number of ostraka have been dug up, dating from the 5th century B.C. and onward, all difficult to read and explain, but interesting for the popular character of their contents, style and writing. There was a Jewish (or Israelitish) settlement there in the 5th century from which emanated most, if not all, of the papyrus documents edited in the C.I.S. Since the appearance of this part of the Corpus, more papyri have come to light. One published by Euting is dated 411 B.C. and is of historical interest, eleven others, containing legal documents, mostly dated, were written between 471 and 411 B.C.; another (408 B.C.) is a petition to the governor of Jerusalem. The fragments in the C.I.S. are in the same character and clearly belong to the same period. The language continued to be used in Egypt even in Ptolemaic times, as shown by a papyrus (accounts) and ostrakon containing Greek names, and belonging, to judge from the style of the writing, to the 3rd century B.C. The latest fragments are of the 6th-8th century A.D., written in a fully developed square character. They are Jewish private letters, and do not prove anything as to the use of Aramaic in Egypt at that time.
Nabataean inscriptions are very numerous. They are written in a peculiar, somewhat cursive character, derived from the square, and date from the 2nd century B.C. The earliest dated is of the year 40 B.C., the latest dated is of A.D. 95. The Nabataean kingdom proper had its centre at Petra ( = Sela in 2 Kings xiv. 7), which attained great importance as the emporium on the trade route between Arabia and the Persian Gulf on the one side and Syria and Egypt on the other. The commercial activity of the people, however, was widely extended, and their monuments are found not only round Petra and in N. Arabia, but as far north as Damascus, and even in Italy, where there was a trading settlement at Puteoli. The inscriptions are mostly votive or sepulchral, and are often dated, but give little historical information except in so far as they fix the dates of Nabataean kings.
A distinct subdivision of Nabataean is found in the Sinaitic peninsula, chiefly in the Wādī Firān and Wādī Mukattib, which lay on the caravan route. The inscriptions are rudely scratched or punched on the rough rock, without any sort of order, and some of them are accompanied by rude drawings. A few only are dated, but, as shown by de Vogüé in the C.I.S. (ii. 1, p. 353), they must all belong to the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. This accounts for the fact that already in the 6th century Cosmas Indicopleustes has no correct account of their origin, and ascribes them to the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness. They were first correctly deciphered as Nabataean by Beer in 1848, when they proved to consist chiefly of proper names (many of them of Arabic formation), accompanied by ejaculations or blessings. It is clear that they are not the work of pilgrims either Jewish or Christian, nor are they of a religious character. The frequent recurrence of certain names shows that only a few generations of a few families are represented, and these must have belonged to a small body of Nabataeans temporarily settled in the particular Wādīs, no doubt for purposes connected with the caravan-traffic. The form of the Nabataean character in which they are written is interesting as being the probable progenitor of the Kufic Arabic alphabet.
Another important trading centre was Tadmor or Palmyra in northern Syria. Numerous inscriptions found there, and hence called Palmyrene, were copied by Waddington in 1861 and published by de Vogüé in his great work Syrie Centrale (1868, &c.), which is still the most extensive collection of them. The difficulties of exploration have hitherto prevented any further increase of the material, but much more would undoubtedly be found if excavation were possible. The texts are mostly sepulchral and dedicatory, some of them being accompanied by a Greek version. The language is a form of western Aramaic, and the character, which is derived from the Hebrew and Aramaic square, is closely related to the Syriac estrangelo alphabet. The inscriptions are mostly dated, and belong to the period between 9 B.C. and A.D. 271. The most important is the tariff of taxes on imports, dated A.D. 137. Nearly all were found on the surface at or round Palmyra and remain in situ. Of the very few in other places, one (with a Latin version) was found at South Shields, the tombstone of Regina liberta et conjux of a native of Palmyra.
Syriac inscriptions are few. The earliest is that on the sarcophagus of Queen Ṣaddan (in the Hebrew version, Ṣadda), perhaps of about A.D. 40, found at Jerusalem. Others were found by Sachau at Edessa, of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and by Pognon.
2. South Semitic.—The South Semitic class of inscriptions comprises the Minaean, Sabaean, Himyaritic and Liḥyanitic in South Arabia, the Thamudic and Safaitic in the north and the Abyssinian. A great deal of material has been collected by Halévy, Glaser and Euting, and much valuable work has been done by them and by D. H. Müller, Hommel and Littmann. Many of the texts, however, are still unpublished and the rest is not very accessible (except so far as it has appeared in the C.I.S.), so that South Semitic has been less widely studied than North Semitic.
The successive kingdoms of South Arabia (Yemen) were essentially commercial. Their country was the natural intermediary between Asia (India), Africa and Syria, and this position, combined with its natural fertility, made the south far more prosperous than the north. In language, the two most important peoples, the Minaeans and Sabaeans, differ only dialectically, both writing forms of southern Arabic. The Minaean capital was at Ma’īn, about 300 m. N. of Aden and 200 m. from the west coast. Here and in the neighbourhood numerous inscriptions were found, as well as in the north at al-‘Öla. Their chronology is much disputed. D. H. Müller makes the Minaean power contemporary with the Sabaean, but Glaser (with whom Hommel and D. S. Margoliouth agree) contends that the Sabaeans followed the Minaeans, whom they conquered in 820 B.C. Mention is made in a cuneiform text (Annals of Sargon, 715 B.C.) of Ithamar the Sabaean, who must be identical with one (it is not certain which) of the kings of that name mentioned in the Sabaean inscriptions. Their capital was Marib, a little south of Ma’īn, and here they appear to have flourished for about a thousand years. In the 1st century A.D., with the establishment of the Roman power in the north, their trade, and consequently their prosperity, began to decline. The rival kingdom of the Himyarites, with its capital at Zafar, then rose to importance, and this in turn was conquered by the Abyssinians in the 6th century A.D. With the spread of Islām the old Arabic language was supplanted by the northern dialects from which classical Arabic was developed. A peculiarity of the South Arabian inscriptions is that many of them are engraved on bronze tablets. Besides being historically important, they are of great value for the study of early Semitic religion. The gods most often named in Sabaean are ‘Athtār Wadd and Nakraḥ, the first being the male counterpart of the Syrian Ashtoreth. The term denoting the priests and priestesses who are devoted to the temple-service is identified by Hommel and others with the Hebrew “Levite.”
Closely connected with South Arabia is Abyssinia. Indeed a considerable number of Sabaean inscriptions have been found at Yeha and Aksum, showing that merchants from Arabia must at some time have formed settlements there. D. H. Müller thinks that some of these belong to the earliest and others to the latest period of Sabaean power. The inscriptions hitherto found in Ethiopic (the alphabet of which is derived from the Sabaean) date from the 4th century A.D. onward. They are few in number, but long and of great historical importance. There can be no doubt that exploration, if it were possible, would bring many more to light.
From time to time emigrants from the southern tribes settled in the north of Arabia. Mention has already been made of Minaean inscriptions found at al-’Öla, which is on the great pilgrim road, about 70 m. south of Taimā. In recent years a number of others has been collected belonging to the people of Liḥyān and dating from about A.D. 250. Nearly related to the Liḥyānitic are the Thamudic (so called from the tribe of the Thamūd mentioned in them), and the Safaitic, both of which, though found in the north, belong in character to south Arabia and no doubt owe their origin to emigrants from the south. The Thamudic inscriptions, collected by Euting (called Proto-Arabian by Halévy), are carelessly scrawled graffiti very like those of the Sinai peninsula. Their date is uncertain, but they cannot be much earlier than the Safaitic, which resemble them in most respects. These last are called after the mountainous district about 20 m. S.E. of Damascus. The inscriptions are, however, found not in Mount Ṣafā itself but in the desert of al-Ḥarrah to the west and south and in the fertile plain of ar-Ruḥbah to the east. They were first deciphered by Halévy, whose work has been carried on and completed by Littmann. Their date is again uncertain, since graffiti of this kind give very few facts from which dates can be deduced. Littmann thinks that one of his inscriptions refers to Trajan’s campaign of A.D. 106, and that they all belong to the first three centuries. They are found together with the earlier Greek and Latin graffiti of Roman soldiers and with later Moslem remarks in Kufic. Many of them are not yet published.
Bibliography—The best introductions are, for North Semitic, Lidzbarski’s Handbuch d. nordsemitischen Epigraphik (Weimar, 1898); and G. A. Cooke’s Text-book of North-Semitic Inscriptions (Oxford, 1903); for South Semitic, Hommel’s Süd-arabische Chrestomathie (Munich, 1893); Alphabets and facsimiles in Berger, Histoire de l’écriture, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1892). The parts of the Corpus Inscr. Sem. published up to 1910 are: pars i., tom. i., and tom. ii., fascc. 1-3, 1881-1908 (Phoenician); pars ii., tom. i., 1889-1902 (Aramaic with Nabataean), tom. ii., fasc. i., 1907 (Sinaitic); pars iv., tom. i., fascc. 1-4, 1889-1908 (Himyaritic, including Minaean and Sabaean). In all these parts a full bibliography is given. For Palmyrene see de Vogüé’s Syrie Centrale (Paris, 1868-1877). Works on special departments of the subject have already been mentioned in the notes.
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II. Indian Inscriptions
The inscriptions of India are extremely numerous, and are found, on stone and other substances, in a great variety of circumstances. They were mostly recorded by incision. But we have a few, referable to the 2nd or 3rd century Materials on which the inscriptions were recorded. B.C., which were written with ink on earthenware, and some others, of later times, recorded by paint,—one on a rock, the others on the walls of Buddhist cave-temples. Those, however, were exceptional methods; and equally so was the process of casting, with the result of bringing the letters out in relief, of which we know at present only one instance,—the Sōhgaurā plate, mentioned again below. The Mussulman inscriptions on stone were, it is believed, nearly always carved in relief; and various Hindu inscriptions were done in the same way in the Mussulman period: but only one instance of a stone record prepared in that manner can as yet be cited for the earlier period; it is an inscription on the pedestal of an image of Buddha, of the Gupta period, found in excavations made not long ago at Sārnāth.
Amongst the inscriptions on metal there is one that stands out by itself, in respect of the peculiarity of having been incised on iron: it is the short poem, constituting the epitaph of the Gupta king Chandragupta II., which was composed in or about A.D. 415, and was placed on record on the iron column, measuring 23 ft. 8 in. in height, and estimated to weigh more than six tons, which stands at Meharaulī near Delhi. We have a very small number of short Buddhist votive inscriptions on gold and silver, a larger number of records of various kinds on brass, and a larger number still on bronze. The last-mentioned consist chiefly of seals and stamps for making seals. And one of these seal-stamps, belonging to about the commencement of the Christian era, is of particular interest in presenting its legend in Greek characters as well as in the two Indian alphabets which were then in use. For the period, indeed, to which it belongs, there is nothing peculiar in the use of the Greek characters; those characters were freely used on the coins of India and adjacent territories, sometimes along with the native characters, sometimes alone, from about 325 B.C. to the first quarter of the 2nd century A.D.: but this seal-stamp, and the coins of the Kshaharāta king Nahapāna (A.D. 78 to about 125), furnish the only citable good instances of the use of the three alphabets all together. For the most part, however, the known inscriptions on metal were placed on sheets of copper, ranging in size from about 2½ in. by 1⅞ in. in the case of the Sōhgaurā plate to as much as about 2 ft. 6 in. square in the case of a record of 46 B.C. obtained at Suē-Vihār in the neighbourhood of Bahāwalpūr in the Punjab. Some of these records on copper were commemorative and dedicatory, and were deposited inside the erections—relic-mounds, and, in the case of the Suē-Vihār plate, a tower—to which they belonged. The usual copper record, however, was a donative charter, in fact a title-deed, and passed as soon as it was issued into private personal custody; and many of the known records of this class have come to notice through being produced by the modern possessors of them before official authorities, in the expectation of establishing privileges which (it is hardly necessary to say) have long since ceased to exist through the lapse of time, the dying out of families of original holders, rights of conquest, and the many changes of government that have taken place: but others have been found buried in fields, and hidden in the walls and foundations of buildings. The plates on which these inscriptions were incised vary greatly in the number of the leaves, in the size and shape of them, and in the arrangement of the records on them; partly, of course, according to the lengths of individual records, but also according to particular customs and fashions prevalent in different parts of the country and in different periods of time. In some cases a single plate was used; and it was inscribed sometimes on only one side of it, sometimes on both. More often, however, more plates than one were used, and were connected together by soldered rings; and the number ranges up to as many as thirty-one in the case of a charter issued by the Chōḷa king Rājēndra Chōḷa I. in the period A.D. 1011 to 1037. It was customary that such of the records on copper as were donative charters should be authenticated. This was sometimes done by incising on the plates what purports to be more or less an autograph signature of the king or prince from whom a charter emanated. More usually, however, it was effected by attaching a copper or bronze reproduction of the royal seal to the ring or to one of the rings on which the plates were strung; and this practice has given us another large and highly interesting series of Indian seals, some of them of an extremely elaborate nature. In this class of records we have a real curiosity in a charter issued in A.D. 1272 by Rāmachandra, one of the Yādava kings of Dēvagiri: this record is on three plates, each measuring about 1 ft. 3 in. in width by 1 ft. 8½ in. in height, which are so massive as to weigh 59 ℔. 2 oz.; and the weight of the ring on which they were strung, and of an image of Garuḍa which was secured to it by another ring, is 11 ℔. 12 oz.: thus, the total weight of this title-deed, which conveyed a village to fifty-seven Brāhmaṇs, is no less than 70 ℔. 14 oz.; appreciably more than half a hundredweight.
Amongst substances other than metal we can cite only one instance in which crystal was used; this material was evidently found too hard for any general use in the inscriptional line: the solitary instance is the case of a short record found in the remains of a Buddhist stūpa or relic-mound at Bhaṭṭiprōlu in the Kistna district, Madras. In various parts of India there are found in large numbers small tablets of clay prepared from stamps, sometimes baked into terra-cotta, sometimes left to harden naturally. Objects of this class were largely used as votive tablets, especially by the Buddhists; and their tablets usually present the so-called Buddhist formula or creed: “Of those conditions which spring from a cause, Tathāgata (Buddha) has declared the cause and the suppression of them; it is of such matters that he, the great ascetic, discourses”: but others, from Sunet in the Ludhiāna district, Punjab, show by the legends on them that the Śaivas and Vaishṇavas also habitually made pious offerings of this kind on occasions of visiting sacred places. Recent explorations, however, in the Gōrakhpūr and Muzaffarpūr districts have resulted in the discovery, in this class of records, of great numbers of clay seals bearing various inscriptions, which had been attached to documents sent to and fro between administrative offices, both royal and municipal, between religious establishments, and between private individuals: and amongst these we have seals of the monastery at Kusinārā, one of the places at which the eight original portions of the corporeal relics of Buddha were enshrined in relic-mounds, and also a seal-stamp used for making seals of the monastery at Veṭhadīpa, another of those places. And from Kāṭhiawār we have a similar seal-stamp which describes itself as the property “of the prince and commander-in-chief Pushyēṇa, son of the illustrious prince Ahivarman, whose royal pedigree extends back unbroken to Jayadratha.” There are no indications that the use of brick for inscriptional purposes was ever at all general in India, as it was in some other eastern lands: but there have been found in the Ghāzīpūr district numerous bricks bearing the inscription “the glorious Kumāragupta,” with reference to either the first or the second Gupta king of that name, of the 5th century A.D.; in the Gōrakhpūr district there have been found brick tablets bearing Buddhist texts, one of which is a version in Sanskṛit of a short sermon preached by Buddha; and from the Jaunpūr district we have a brick tablet bearing an inscription which registers a mortgage, made in A.D. 1217, of some lands as security for a loan. Inscribed earthenware relic-receptacles have been found in the Bhōpāl state: donative earthenware jars, bearing inscriptions, have been obtained near Chārsadda in the North-West Frontier province: and from Kāṭhiāwār we have a piece of earthenware, apparently a fragment of a huge pot, bearing an inscription which presents a date in A.D. 566-67 and the name of “the glorious Guhasēna,” one of the Maitraka princes of Valabhī. For the great bulk of the inscriptions, however, stone was used: but limitation of space prevents us from entering into any details here, and only permits us to say that in this class the records are found all over India on rocks, on isolated monolith columns and pillars, of which some were erected simply to bear the records that were published on them, others were placed in front of temples as flagstaffs of the gods, and others were set up as pillars of victory in battle; on relic-receptacles hidden away in the interiors of Buddhist stūpas; on external structural parts of stūpas; on façades, walls, and other parts of caves; on pedestals and other parts of images and statues, sometimes of colossal size; on moulds for making seals; on walls, beams, pillars, pilasters, and other parts of temples; and on specially prepared slabs and tablets, sometimes built into the walls of temples and other erections, sometimes set up inside temples or in the courtyards of them, or in conspicuous places in village-sites and fields, where they have occasionally in the course of time become buried.
The inscriptional records of India which have thus come down to us do not, as far as they are known at present, pretend to the antiquity of the Greek inscriptions of the Hellenic world; much less to that of the inscriptions Reasons why the inscriptions are so valuable. of Egypt and Assyria. But they are no less important; since we are dependent on them for almost all our knowledge of the ancient history of the country.
The primary reason for this is that the ancient Hindus, though by no means altogether destitute of the historical instinct, were not writers of historical books. In some of the Purāṇas, indeed, they have given us chapters which purport to present the succession of their kings from the commencement of the present age, the Kaliyuga, in 3102 B.C.: but the chronological details of those chapters disclose the fault of treating contemporaneous dynasties, belonging to different parts of India, as successive dynasties ruling over one and the same territory; with the result that they would place more than three centuries in the future from the present time the great Gupta kings who reigned in Northern India from A.D. 320 to about 530. They have given us, for Kashmīr the Rājataraṁgiṇī, the first eight cantos of which, written by Kalhaṇa in A.D. 1148-49, purport to present the general history of that country, with occasional items relating to India itself, from 2448 B.C., and to give the exact length, even to months and days, of the reign of each king of Kashmīr from 1182 B.C.: but, while we may accept Kalhaṇa as fairly correct for his own time and for the preceding century or so, an examination of the details of his work quickly exposes its imaginative character and its unreliability for any earlier period: notably, he places towards the close of the period 2448 to 1182 B.C. the great Maurya king Aśōka, whose real initial date was 264 B.C.; and he was obliged to allot to one king, Raṇāditya I., a reign of three centuries (A.D. 222 to 522, as placed by him) simply in order to save his own chronology. They have given us historical romances, such as the Harshacharita of Bāṇa, written in the 7th century, the Vikramāṅkadēvacharita of Bilhaṇa, written about the beginning of the 12th century, and the Tamiḷ poems, the Kal̤aval̤i, the Kaliṅgattu-Paraṇi, and the Vikrama-Chōl̤an-Ul̤ā, the first of which may be of somewhat earlier date than Bāṇa’s work, while the second and third are of much the same time with Bilhaṇa’s: but, while these present some charming reading in the poetical line, with much of interest, and certainly a fair amount of important matter, they give us no dates, and so no means without extraneous help of applying the information that is deducible from them. Again, they have given us, especially in Southern India, a certain amount of historical details in the introductions and colophons of their literary works; and here they have often furnished dates which give a practical shape to their statements: but we quickly find that the historical matter is introduced quite incidentally, to magnify the importance of the authors themselves rather than to teach us anything about their patrons, and is not handled with any particular care and fulness; and it would be but a sketchy and imperfect history, and one relating to only a limited and comparatively late period, that we could piece together even from these more precise sources. The ancient Hindus, in short, have not bequeathed to us anything that can in any way compare with the historical writings of their Greek and Roman contemporaries. They have not even given us anything like the Dīpavaṁsa of Ceylon, which, while it contains a certain amount of fabulous matter, can be recognized as presenting a real and reliable historical account of that island, taken from records written up during the progress to the events themselves, from at any rate the time of Aśōka to about A.D. 350; or like the Mahāvaṁsa, which, commenting on and amplifying the details of the Dīpavaṁsa, takes up a similar account from the end of the period covered by that work. Even the Greek notices of India, commencing with the accounts of the Asiatic campaign of Alexander the Great, have told us more about its political history and geography during the earlier times than have the Hindus themselves: and in fact, in mentioning Sandrokottos, i.e. Chandragupta, the grandfather of Aśōka, and in furnishing details which fix his initial date closely about 320 B.C., the Greeks gave us the first means of making a start towards arranging the chronology of India on accurate lines. It is in these circumstances, in the absence of any indigenous historical writings of a plain, straightforward, and authentic nature, that the inscriptions of India are of such great value. They are supplemented—and to an important extent for at any rate the period from the end of Aśōka’s reign in 227 B.C. to the commencement of the reign of Kaṅishka in 58 B.C., and again from about a century later to the rise of the Gupta dynasty in A.D. 320—by the numismatic remains. But the coins of India present no dates until nearly the end of the 2nd century A.D.; the case of Parthia, which has yielded dated coins from only 38 B.C., illustrates well the difficulty of arranging undated coins in chronological order even when the assistance of historical books is available; and what we may deduce from the coins of India is still to be put into a final shape in accordance with what we can determine from the inscriptions. In short, the inscriptions of India are the only sure grounds of historical results in every line of research connected with its ancient past; they regulate everything that we can learn from coins, architecture, art, literature, tradition, or any other source.
That is one reason why the inscriptions of India are so valuable; they fill the void caused by the absence of historical books. Another reason is found in the great number of them and the wide area that is covered by them. They come from all parts of the country: from Shāhbāzgarhī in the north, in the Yūsufzai subdivision of the Peshāwar district, to the ancient Pāṇḍya territory in the extreme south of the peninsula; and from Assam in the east to Kāṭhiāwār in the west. For the time anterior to about A.D. 400, we already have available in published form, more or less complete, the contents of between 1100 and 1200 records, large and small; and the explorations of the Archaeological Department are constantly bringing to light, particularly from underground sites, more materials for that period. For the time onwards from that point, we have similarly available the contents of some 10,000 or 11,000 records of Southern India, and of at any rate between 700 and 800 records of Northern India where racial antagonism came more into play and worked more destruction of Hindu remains than in the south.
Another reason is found in the fact that from the first century B.C. the inscriptions are for the most part specifically dated: some in various eras the nature and application of which are now thoroughly well understood, often with also a mention of the year of the twelve-years or of the sixty-years cycle of the planet Jupiter; others in the regnal years of kings whose periods are now well fixed. And, in addition to usually stating the month and the day along with the year, the inscriptions sometimes give, under the influence of Hindu astrology, other details so exact that we can determine, even to the actual hour, the occurrence of the event registered by a particular record.
A final reason is found in the precise nature of the inscriptions. A certain proportion of them consists of plain statements of events,—recitals of the pedigrees and achievements of kings, records of the carrying out of public works, epitaphs of kings, heroes, and saints, compacts of political alliance, and so on; and some of these present, in fact, short historical compositions which illustrate well what the ancient Hindus might have done if they had felt any special call to write plain and veracious chronicles on matter-of-fact lines. But we are indebted for the great bulk of the inscriptions, not to any historical instinct, but to the religious side of the Hindu character, and to the constant desire of the Hindus to make donations on every possible occasion. The inscriptions devoted simply to the propagation of morality and religion are not very numerous: the most notable ones in this class are the edicts of Aśōka, which we shall notice again farther on. The general object of the inscriptions was to register gifts and endowments, made sometimes to private individuals, but more usually to gods, to priests on behalf of temples and charitable institutions, and to religious communities. And, as the result of this, in the vast majority of the inscriptional remains we have a mass of title-deeds of real property, and of certificates of the right to duties, taxes, fees, perquisites, and other privileges. Now, the essential part of the records was of course the specification of the details of the donor, of the donee, and of the donation. And we have to bear in mind that not only are the donative records by far the most abundant of all, but also, among them, by far the most numerous are those which we may call the records of royal donations; by which we mean grants that were made either by the kings themselves, or by the great feudatory nobles, or by provincial governors and other high officials who had the royal authority to alienate state lands and to assign allotments from the state revenues: also, that many of them register, not simply the gift of small holdings, but grants of entire villages, and large and permanent assignments from the public revenues. It is to these facts that we are indebted for the great value of the records from the historical point of view. The donor of state lands or of an assignment from the public revenues must show his authority for his acts. A provincial governor or other high official must specify his own rank and territorial jurisdiction, and name the king under whom he holds office. A great feudatory noble will often give a similar reference to his paramount sovereign, in addition to making his own position clear. And it is neither inconsistent with the dignity of a king, nor unusual, for something to be stated about his pedigree in charters and patents issued by him or in his name. The records give from very early times a certain amount of genealogical information. More and more information of that kind was added as time went on. The recital of events was introduced, to magnify the glory and importance of the donors, and sometimes to commemorate the achievements of recipients. And it was thus, not with the express object of recording history, but in order to intensify the importance of everything connected with religion and to secure grantees in the possession of properties conveyed to them, that there was gradually accumulated almost the whole of the great mass of inscriptional records upon which we are so dependent for our knowledge of the ancient history of India in all its branches.
Coming now to a survey of the inscriptions themselves, we must premise that India is divided, from the historical point of view, though not so markedly in some other respects, into two well-defined parts, Northern and Southern. A Survey of the inscriptions. classical name of Northern India is Āryāvarta, “the abode of the Āryas, the excellent or noble people.” Another name, which figures both in literature and in the inscriptions, is Uttarāpatha, “the path of the north, the northern road.” And, as a classical name of Southern India answering to that we have Dakshiṇāpatha, “the path of the south, the southern road,” from the first component of which name comes our modern term Deccan, Dekkan, or Dekhaṇ. Sanskṛit literature names as the dividing-line between Āryāvarta or the Uttarāpatha and the Dakshiṇāpatha, i.e. between Northern and Southern India, sometimes the Vindhya mountains, sometimes the river Nerbudda (Narmadā, Narbadā) which, flowing close along the south of the Vindhya range, empties itself into the gulf of Cambay near Broach, in Gujarāt, Bombay. The river seems, on the whole, to furnish the better dividing-line of the two. But it does not reach, any more than the range exactly extends, right across India from sea to sea. And, to complete the dividing-line beyond the sources of the Narbadā, which are in the Māikal range and close to the Amarkaṇṭak hill in the Rēwā State, Baghēlkhaṇḍ, we have to follow some such course as first the Maniārī river, from its sources, which are in that same neighbourhood but on the south of the Māikal range, to the point where, after it has joined the Seonāth, the united rivers flow into the Mahānadī, near Seorī-Nārāyan in the Bilāspūr district, Central Provinces, and then the Mahānadī itself, which flows into the bay of Bengal near Cuttack in Orissa. Even so, however, we have only a somewhat rough dividing-line between the historical Northern and Southern India; and the distinction must not be understood too strictly in connexion with the territories lying close on the north and the south of the line sketched above. In Western India, Kāṭhiāwār and all the portions of Gujarāt above Broach lie to the north of the Narbadā; but from the palaeographic point of view, if not so much from the historical, they belong essentially to Southern India. Our modern Central India lies entirely in Northern India, but has various palaeographic connexions with Southern India. Our Central Provinces extend in the Saugar district into Northern India; and that portion of them presents in ancient times both northern and southern characteristics. Eastern India may be defined as consisting of Bengal, with Orissa and Assam: it belongs to Northern India.
The inscriptional remains of India, as known at present, practically begin with the records of Aśōka, the great Maurya king of Northern India,—grandson of that king Chandragupta whose name was written by the Greeks as Sandrokottos,—who reigned 264 to 227 B.C. The state of the alphabets, indeed, in the time of Aśōka renders it certain that the art of writing must have been practised in India for a long while before his period; and it gives us every reason to hope that systematic exploration, especially of buried sites, will eventually result in the discovery of records framed by some of his predecessors or by their subjects. But those discoveries have still to be made; and matters stand just now as follows. From before the time of Aśōka we have an inscription on a relic-vase from a stūpa or relic-mound at Piprahwa in the north-east corner of the Bastī district, United Provinces, which preserves the memory of the slaughtered kinsmen of Buddha, the Śākyas of Kapilavastu according to the subsequent traditional nomenclature. We may perhaps place before his time the record on the Sōhgaurā plate, from the Gōrakhpūr district, United Provinces, which notifies the establishment of two public storehouses at a junction of three great highways of vehicular traffic to meet any emergent needs of persons using these roads. And we may possibly decide hereafter to refer to the same period a few other records which are not at present regarded as being quite so early. But, practically, the known inscriptions of India begin with the records of that king who calls himself in them “the king Dēvānaṁpiya-Piyadassi, the Beloved of the Gods, He of Gracious Mien,” but who is best known as Aśōka by the name given to him in the literature of India and Ceylon and in an inscription of A.D. 150 at Junāgaḍh (Junagarh) in Kāṭhiāwār. From his time onwards we have records from all parts in constantly increasing numbers, particularly during the earlier periods, from caves, rock-cut temples, and Buddhist stūpas. Many of them, however, are of only a dedicatory nature, and, valuable as they are for purposes of religion, geography, and other miscellaneous lines of research, are not very helpful in the historical line. We are interested here chiefly in the historical records; and we can notice only the most prominent ones even among them.
Of this king Aśōka we have now thirty-five different records, some of them in various recensions. Amongst them, the most famous ones are the seven pillar-edicts and the fourteen rock-edicts, found in various versions, and in a more or less complete state, at different places from Shāhbāzgarhī in the Yūsufzai country in the extreme north-west, to Radhia, Mathia, and Rāmpūrwa in the Champāran district, Bengal, at Dhauli in the Cuttack district of Orissa, at Jaugada in the Gan̄jām district, Madras, at Girnār (Junāgaḍh) in Kāṭhiāwār, and even at Sopāra in the Ṭhāṇa district, Bombay. These edicts were thus published in conspicuous positions in or near towns, or close to highways frequented by travellers and traders, or in the neighbourhood of sacred places visited by pilgrims, so that they might be freely seen and perused. And the object of them was to proclaim the firm determination of Aśōka to govern his realm righteously and kindly in accordance with the duty of pious kings, and with considerateness for even religious beliefs other than the Brāhmaṇical faith which he himself at first professed, and to acquaint his subjects with certain measures that he had taken to that end, and to explain to them how they might co-operate with him in his objects. But, in addition to mentioning certain contemporaneous foreign kings, Antiochus II. (Theos) of Syria, Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt, Antigonus Gonatas of Macedonia, Magas of Cyrene, and Alexander II. of Epirus, they yield items of internal history, in detailing some of Aśōka’s administrative arrangements; in locating the capital of his empire at Pāṭaliputra (Patna), and seats of viceroys at Ujjēni (Ujjain) and Takhasilā (Taxila); in giving the names of some of the leading peoples of India, particularly the Chōḷas, the Pāṇḍyas, and the Andhras; and in recording the memorable conquest of the Kaliṅga country, the attendant miseries of which first directed the thoughts of the king to religion and to solicitude for the welfare of all his subjects. Another noteworthy record of Aśōka is that notification, containing his Last Edict, his dying speech, issued by local officials just after his death, which is extant in various recensions at Sahasrām, Rūpnāth, and Bairāt in Northern India, and at Brahmagiri, Siddāpura, and Jaṭinga-Rāmēśvara in Mysore. Some three years before the end of his long reign of thirty-seven years, Aśōka became a convert to Buddhism, and was admitted as an Upāsaka or lay-worshipper. Eventually, he formally joined the Buddhist order; and, following a not infrequent custom of ancient Indian kings, he abdicated, took the vows of a monk, and withdrew to spend his remaining days in religious retirement in a cave-dwelling on Suvarnagiri (Sōngīr), one of the hills surrounding the ancient city of Girivraja, below Rājagṛiha (Rājgīr), in the Patna district in Behār. And there, about a year later, in his last moments, he delivered the address incorporated in this notification, proclaiming as the only true religion that which had been promulgated by Buddha, and expanding the topic of the last words of that great teacher: “Work out your salvation by diligence!” This record, it may be added, is also of interest because, whereas such of the other known records of Aśōka as are dated at all are dated according to the number of years elapsed after his anointment to the sovereignty, it is dated 256 years after the death of Buddha, which event took place in 483 B.C.
For the two centuries or nearly so next after the end of the reign of Aśōka, we have chiefly a large number of short inscriptions which are of much value in miscellaneous lines of research—palaeography, geography, religion, and so on. But historical records are by no means wanting; and we may mention in particular the following. From the caves in the Nāgārjunī Hills in the Gayā district, Bengal, we have (along with three of the inscriptions of Aśōka himself) three records of a king Daśaratha who, according to the Vishṇu-Purāna, was a grandson of Aśōka. From the stūpa at Bharaut in the Nāgōd state, Central India, we have a record which proves the existence of the dynasty of the Śuṅga kings, for whom the Purānas, placing them next after the line of Chandragupta and Aśōka, indicate the period 183 to 71 B.C. Two of the records from the stūpa at Bhaṭṭiprōlu in the Kistna district, Madras, give us a king of those parts, reigning about 200 B.C., whose name appears both as Kubiraka and as Khubiraka. From Bēsnagar in the Gwālior state we have an inscription, referable to the period 175 to 135 B.C., which mentions a king of Central India, by name Bhāgabhadra, and also mentions, as his contemporary, one of the Greek kings of the Punjab, Antalkidas, whose name is familiar from his coins in the form Antialkidas. From the Hāthigumphā cave near Cuttack, in Orissa, we have a record, to be placed about 140 B.C., of king Khāravēla, a member of a dynasty which reigned in that part of India. From a cave at Pabhōsā in the Allahābād district, United Provinces, we have two records which make known to us a short succession of kings of Adhichatrā, otherwise known as Ahichchhattra. From a cave at the Nānāghāt Pass in the Poona district, Bombay, we have a record of queen Nāyanikā, wife of one of the great Sātavāhana-Sātakarṇi kings of the Deccan. And from the stūpa No. 1 at Sān̄chi in the Bhōpāl state, Central India, we have a record of a king Śrī-Sātakarṇi, belonging to perhaps another branch of the same great stock.
The historical records become more numerous from the time of the Kushan king Kaṇishka or Kāṇishka, who began to reign in 58 B.C., and founded the so-called Vikrama era, the great historical era of Northern India, beginning in that year. For the period of him and his immediate successors, Vāsishka, Huvishka and Vāsudēva, we have now between seventy and eighty inscriptions, ranging from 54 B.C. to A.D. 42, and disclosing a sway which reached at its height from Bengal to Kābul: we are indebted for some of these to the Buddhists, in connexion with whose faith the memory of Kaṇishka was preserved by tradition, but for most of them to the Jains, who seem to have been at that time the more numerous sect in the central part of his dominions.
The dynasty of Kaṇishka was succeeded by another foreign ruler, Gondophernēs, popularly known as Gondophares, whose coins indicate that, in addition to a large part of north-western India and Sind, his dominions included Kābul, Kandahār, and Sēistān. This king is well known to Christian tradition, in connexion with the mission of St Thomas the Apostle to the East. And the tradition is substantially supported by an inscription from Takht-i-Bahaī in the Yūsufzai country on the north-west frontier, which, like some of his coins, mentions him as Guduphara or Gunduphara, and proves that he was reigning there in A.D. 47.
Gondophernēs was followed by the Kadphisēs kings, belonging to another branch of the Kushan tribe, who perhaps extended their sway farther into India, as far at least as Mathurā (Muttra), and reigned for about three-quarters of a century. For their period, and in fact for the whole time to the rise of the Guptas in A.D. 320 we have as yet but scanty help from the inscriptions in respect of the political history of Northern India: we are mostly dependent on the coins, which tend to indicate that that part of India was then broken up into a number of small sovereignties and tribal governments. An inscription, however, from Panjtar in the Yūsufzai territory mentions, without giving his name, a Kushan king whose dominion included that territory in A.D. 66. And an inscription of A.D. 242 from Mathurā has been understood to indicate that some descendant of the same stock was then reigning there. The inscriptional records for that period belong chiefly to Southern India.
Meanwhile, however, in the south-west corner of Northern India, namely in Kāṭhiāwār, there arose another foreign king, apparently of Parthian extraction, by name Nahapāna, described in his records, whether by a family name or by a tribal appellation, as a Chhaharāta or Kshaharāta, in whom we have the founder of the so-called Śaka era, the principal era of Southern India, beginning in A.D. 78: in respect of him we learn from the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea that he was reigning between A.D. 80 and 89, and from inscriptions that he was still reigning in A.D. 120 and 124: at the latter time, his dominions included Nāsik and other territories on the south of the Narbadā; and the Periplus names as his capital a town which it calls Minnagar, and which Ptolemy would locate in such a manner as to suggest that it may be identified with the modern Dōhad in the Pan̄ch Mahāls district of Gujarāt, Bombay. Nahapāna was overthrown, and his family was entirely wiped out, soon after A.D. 125, by the great Sātāvahana king Gautamīputra-Śrī-Sātakarṇi, who thereby recovered the territories on the south of the Narbadā. On the north of that river, however, he was followed by a line of kings founded by his viceroy Chashṭana, son of Ghsamotika, to whom Ptolemy, mentioning him as Tiastanēs, assigns Ujjain as his capital: these names, again, show a foreign origin; but, from the time of his son Jayadāman, the descendants of Chashṭana became Hinduized, and mostly bore purely Indian appellations. The coins show that the descendants of Chashṭana ruled till about A.D. 388, when they were overthrown by the great Gupta dynasty of Northern India. Only a few of their inscriptional records have been discovered: but amongst them a very noteworthy one is the Junāgaḍh (Junagarh) inscription of Chashṭana’s grandson, Rudradāman, bearing a date in A.D. 150; it is remarkable as being the earliest known long inscription written entirely in Sanskṛit.
From Southern India we have, at Nāsik, inscriptions of the Sātavāhana king Gautamīputra-Śrī-Sātakarṇi, mentioned just above, and of his son Vāsisṭhīputra-Śrī-Puḷumāyi, and of another king of that line named Gautamīputra-Śrī-Yajña-Sātakarṇi; and other records of the last-mentioned king come from Kaṇheri near Bombay, and from the Kistna district, Madras, and testify to the wide extent of the dominions of the line to which he belonged. The records of this king carry us on to the opening years of the 3rd century, soon after which time, in those parts at any rate, the power of the Sātavāhana kings came to an end. And we have next, also from Nāsik, an inscription of an Ābhīra king named Īśvarasēna, son of Śivadatta; in this last-mentioned person we probably have the founder of the so-called Kalachuri or Chēdi era, beginning in A.D. 248 or 249, which we trace in Western India for some centuries before the time when it was transferred to, or revived in, Central India, and was invested with its later appellation: we trace it notably in the records of a line of kings who called themselves Traikūṭakas, apparently from Trikūṭa as the ancient name of the great mountain Harischandragaḍ in the Western Ghauts, in the Ahmadnagar district.
We can, of course, mention in this account only the most prominent of the inscriptional records. Keeping for the present to Southern India, we have from Banawāsi in the North Kanara district, Bombay, and from Maḷavaḷḷji in the Shimoga district, Mysore, two inscriptions of a king Hārit putra-Sātakarṇi of the Viṇhukaḍḍa-Chuṭu family, reigning at Vaijayantī, i.e. Banawāsi, which disclose the existence there of another branch, apparently known as the Chuṭu family and having its origin at a place named Vishṇugarta, of the great stock to which the Sātavāhana-Sātakarṇis belonged. And another Maḷavaḷḷi inscription, of a king Śiva-Skandavarman, shows that the Sātakarṇis of that locality were followed by a line of kings known as the Kadambas, who left descendants who continued to rule until about A.D. 650. From the other side of Southern India, an inscription from the stūpa at Jaggayyapēṭa in the Kistna district, Madras, referable to the 3rd century A.D., gives us a king Māḍharīputra-Śrī-Vīra-Purushadatta, of the race of Ikshvāku. And some Prākṛit copperplate inscriptions from the same district, referable to the 4th century, disclose a line of Pallava kings at Kān̄chī, the modern Conjeeveram near Madras, whose descendants, from about A.D. 550, are well known from the later records.
Reverting to Northern India, we have from the extreme north-west a few inscriptions dated in the era of 58 B.C. which carry us on to A.D. 322. The tale is then taken up chiefly by the records of the great Gupta kings of Pāṭaliputra, i.e. Patna, who rose to power in A.D. 320, and gradually extended their sway until it assumed dimensions almost commensurate with those of Aśōka and Kaṇishka: the records of this series are somewhat numerous; and a very noteworthy one amongst them is the inscription of Samudragupta, incised at some time about A.D. 375 on one of the pillars of Aśōka now standing at Allahābād, which gives us a wide insight into the political divisions, with their contemporaneous rulers, of both Northern and Southern India: it is also interesting because it, or another record of the same king at Éraṇ in the Saugar district, Central Provinces, marks the commencement of the habitual use of Sanskṛit for inscriptional purposes. The inscriptions of the Gupta series run on to about A.D. 530. But the power of the dynasty had by that time become much curtailed, largely owing to an irruption of the Hūṇs under Tōramāṇa and Mihirakula, who established themselves at Siālkōṭ, the ancient Śākala, in the Punjab. We have inscriptional records of these two persons, not only from Kura in the Salt Range, not very far from Siālkōṭ, but also from Éraṇ and from Gwālior. And next after these we have inscriptions from Mandasōr in Mālwā, notably on two great monolith pillars of victory, of a king Vishṇuvardhana-Yaśōdharman, which show that he overthrew Mihirakula shortly before A.D. 532, and, describing him as subjugating territories to which not even the Guptas and the Hūṇs had been able to penetrate, indicate that he in his turn established for a while another great paramount sovereignty in Northern India.
We have thus brought our survey of the inscriptions of India down to the 6th century A.D. There then arose various dynasties in different parts of the country: in Northern India, in Kāṭhiāwār, the Maitrakas of Valabhī; at Kanauj, the Maukharis, who, after no great lapse of time, were followed by the line to which belonged the great Harshavardhana, “the warlike lord (as the southern records style him) of all the region of the north;” and, in Behār, another line of Guptas, usually known as the Guptas of Magadha: in Southern India, the Chalukyas, who, holding about A.D. 625 the whole northern part of Southern India from sea to sea, then split up into two branches, the Western Chalukyas of Bādāmi in the Bijāpūr district, Bombay, and the Eastern Chalukyas of Veṅgī in the Godāvarī district, Madras; and, below them, the successors of the original Pallavas of Kāñchī (Conjeeveram). These all had their time, and passed away. And they and their successors have left us so great a wealth of inscriptional records that no further detailed account can be attempted within the limits available here. We must pass on to a few brief remarks about the language of the records and the characters in which they were written.
The inscriptions of Aśōka present two alphabets, which differ radically and widely: one of them is known as the Brāhmī; the other, as the Kharōshṭhī or Kharōshṭrī. For the decipherment of the Brāhmī alphabet we are indebted to James Alphabets. Prinsep, who determined the value of practically all the letters between 1834 and 1837. The decipherment of the Kharōshṭhī alphabet was a more difficult and a longer task: it was virtually finished, some twenty years later, by the united efforts of C. Masson, Prinsep, C. L. Lassen, H. H. Wilson, E. Norris, Sir A. Cunningham, and John Dowson; but there are still a few points of detail in respect of which finality has not been attained.
The Kharōshṭhī script was written from right to left, and is undeniably of Semitic origin; and the theory about it, based on the known fact that the valley of the Indus was a Persian satrapy in the time of Darius (521-485 B.C.), is that the Aramaic script was then introduced into that territory, and that the Kharōshṭhī is an adaptation of it. Except in a few intrusive cases, the use of the Kharōshṭhī in India was limited to the valley of the Indus, and to the Punjab as defined on the south by the territory watered by the Biās (Beas) and the Satlaj (Sutlej): and the eastern locality of the meeting of the two alphabets is marked by coins bearing Kharōshṭhī and Brāhmī legends which come from the districts of the Jālandhar (Jullundhur) division, and by two short rock-cut records, each presented in both the alphabets, at Paṭhyār and Kanhiāra in the Kāṇgṛa valley. Outside India, this script was notably current in Afghānistān; and documents written in it have in recent years been found in Chinese Turkestān. In India it continued in use, as far as our present knowledge goes, down to A.D. 343.
The Brāhmī alphabet, written from left to right, belonged to the remainder of India; but it must also have been current in learned circles even in the territory where popular usage favoured the other script. Various views about its origin have been advanced: amongst them is the theory that it was derived from the oldest north-Semitic alphabet, which prevailed from Phoenicia to Mesopotamia, and may, it is held, have been introduced into India by traders at some time about 800 B.C. It is, however, admitted that the earliest known form of the Brāhmī is a script framed by Brāhmaṇs for writing Sanskṛit. Also, the theory is largely based on a coin from Ēraṇ, in the Saugar district, Central Provinces, presenting a Brāhmī legend running retrograde from right to left; from which it is inferred that that was the original direction of this writing, and that the script eventually assumed the other direction, which alone it has in the inscriptions, after passing, like the Greek, through a stage in which the lines were written in both directions alternately. But we can cite many instances in which ancient die-sinkers were careless, wholly or partially, in the matter of reversing the legends on their dies, with the result that not only syllables frequently, but sometimes entire words, stand in reverse on the coins themselves; moreover, the Ēraṇ coin, being one of the earliest known Indian coins bearing a legend at all, may quite possibly belong to a period before the time when the desirability of working in reverse on the dies presented itself to the Indian die-sinkers. In all the circumstances, the evidence of the Ēraṇ coin cannot be regarded as conclusive; and we require some inscription on stone, or at least some longer record on metal than a brief legend of five syllables, to satisfy us that the Brāhmī writing ever had a direction different from that which it has in the inscriptions. Further, if there is any radical connexion between the Brāhmī and the Semitic alphabet indicated above, so many curious and apparently capricious changes must have been made, in adapting that alphabet, that it would seem more probable that the two scripts were derived from a joint original source. In view of the high state of civilization to which the Hindus had evidently attained even before the time of Chandragupta, the grandfather of Aśōka, it must still be regarded as possible that they were the independent inventors of that which was emphatically their national alphabet. The Brāhmī alphabet is the parent of all the modern Hindu scripts, including on one side the Nāgarī or Dēvanāgarī, and on the other the widely dissimilar rounded forms of the Kanarese, Tamil̤, Telugu, and other southern alphabets; and the inscriptions enable us to trace clearly the gradual development of all the modern forms.
The great classical Indian language, Sanskṛit, is not found in any inscriptional records of the earliest times. It is not, however, to be supposed therefrom that the use and cultivation of Sanskṛit ever lay dormant, and that there was a revival Languages. of this language when it did eventually come to be used in the inscriptions; the case simply is that, during the earlier periods, Sanskṛit was not known much, if at all, outside the Brāhmaṇical and other literary and priestly circles, and so was not recognized as a suitable medium for the notifications which were put on record in the inscriptions for the information of the people at large.
In Northern India, the inscriptions of the period before 58 B.C. present various early Prākṛits, i.e. vernaculars more or less derived from Sanskṛit or brought into a line with it. From 58 B.C., however, the influence of Sanskṛit began to manifest itself in the inscriptions, with the result that the records present from that time a language which is conveniently known as the mixed dialect, meaning neither exactly Prākṛit nor exactly Sanskṛit, but Prākṛit with an intermixture of Sanskṛit terminations and some other features; and we have, in fact, from Mathurā (Muttra), a locality which has yielded interesting remains in various directions, a short Brāhmanical inscription of 33 B.C. which was written wholly in Sanskṛit. The mixed dialect appears to have been the general one for inscriptional purposes in Northern India until about A.D. 320. But a remarkable exception is found in the inscription of Rudradāman, dated in A.D. 150, at Junāgaḍh in Kāṭhiāwār (mentioned on a preceding page), which is a somewhat lengthy record composed in thoroughly good literary Sanskṛit prose. Also, the extant inscriptions of the descendants of Rudradāman—(but only four of their records, ranging from A.D. 181 to 205, are at present available for study)—are in almost quite correct Sanskṛit; and this suggests that, from his time, the language may have been habitually used for inscriptional purposes in the dominions of his dynasty. That, however, is only a matter of conjecture; and elsewhere pure and good Sanskṛit, without any Prākṛit forms, appears next, and is found in verse as well as in prose, in the two inscriptions from Ēraṇ and Allahābād, referable to the period about A.D. 340 to 375, of the great Gupta king Samudragupta. From that time onwards, as far as our present knowledge goes, Sanskṛit, with a very rare introduction of Prākṛit or vernacular forms, was practically the only inscriptional language in the northern parts of India. We can, however, cite a record of A.D. 862 from the neighbourhood of Jōdhpur in Rājputānā, the body of which was written in Māhārāshṭrī Prākṛit.
In Southern India we have an instance of the mixed dialect in the
Nāsik inscription, referable to A.D. 257 or 258, of the Ābhīra king
Iśvarasēna, son of Śivadatta, which has been mentioned on a preceding
page. With the exception, however, of that record and of the
few which are mentioned just below, the inscriptional language of
Southern India appears to have been generally Prākṛit of one kind
or another until about A.D. 400, or perhaps even somewhat later.
rit figures first in one of the records at Nāsik of Ṛishabhadatta
(Ushavadāta), son-in-law of the Kshaharāta king Nahapāna, which
consequently gives it almost as early an appearance in the south
as that which is established for it in the north; but it is confined
in this instance to a preamble which recites the previous donations
and good works of Ṛishabhadatta; the record passes into Prākṛit
for the practical purpose for which it was framed. Sanskṛit figures
next, in an almost correct form, in the short inscription of not much
later date at Kaṇheri, near Bombay, of the queen (her name is not
extant) of Vāsishṭhīputra-Śrī-Śātakarṇi. It next appears in certain
formulae, and benedictive and imprecatory verses, which stand at the
end of some of the Prākṛit records of the Pallava series referable to
the 4th century; but here we have quotations from books, not
instances of original composition. We have a Sanskṛit record, obtained
in Khāndēsh but probably belonging to some part of Gujarāt,
of a king named Rudradāsa, which is perhaps dated in A.D. 367.
But the next southern inscription in Sanskṛit, of undeniable date, is a
record of A.D. 456, belonging to the Vyārā subdivision of the Baroda
state in Gujarāt, of the Traikūṭaka king Dahrasēna. The records of
the early Kadamba kings of Banawāsi in North Kanara, Bombay,
exhibit the use of Sanskṛit from an early period in the 6th century;
and records of the Pallava kings show it from perhaps a somewhat
earlier time on the other side of India. The records of the Chalukya
kings present Sanskṛit from A.D. 578 onwards. And from this latter
date the language figures freely in the southern records. But some of
the vernaculars, in their older forms, shortly begin to present themselves
alongside of it; and, without entirely superseding Sanskṛit
even to the latest times, the use of them for inscriptional purposes
became rapidly more and more extensive. The vernacular that first
makes its appearance is Kanarese, in a record of the Chalukya king
Maṅgalēśa, of the period A.D. 597 to 608, at Bādāmi in the Bijāpūr
district, Bombay. Tamiḷ appears next, between about A.D. 610 and
675, in records of the Pallava king Mahēndravarman I. at Vallam in
the Chingalpat (Chingleput) district, Madras, and of his great-grandson
Paramēśvaravarman I. from Kūram in the same district.
Telugu appears certainly in A.D. 1011, in a record of the Eastern
Chalukya king Vimalāditya; and it is perhaps given to us in A.D.
843 or 844 by a record of his ancestor Vishṇuvardhana V.; in the
latter case, however, the authenticity of the document is not certain.
Malayālam appears about A.D. 1150, in inscriptions of the rulers of
Kēraḷa from the Travancore state. And on the colossal image of
Gommaṭēśvara at Śravaṇa-Beḷgoḷa, in Mysore, there are two lines of
Marāṭhī, notifying for the benefit of pilgrims from the Marāṭhā
country the names of the persons who caused the image and the
enclosure to be made, which are attributed to the first quarter of the
12th century: this language, however, figures first for certain in a
record of A.D. 1207, of the time of the Dēvagiri-Yādava king Siṅghaṇa,
from Khāndēsh in the north of Bombay.
Bibliography.—The systematic publication of the Indian inscriptions has not gone far. Cunningham inaugurated a Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, by giving us in 1877 the first volume of it, dealing with the records of Aśōka; but the only other volume which has been published is vol. iii., by Fleet, dealing with the records of the Gupta series. The other published materials are mostly to be found here and there in the Journals of the Royal Asiatic Society of London, its Bombay branch, and the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in the Reports of the various Archaeological Surveys, and in the Indian Antiquary, the Epigraphia Indica and the Epigraphia Carnatica; and much work has still to be done in bringing them together according to the periods and dynasties to which they relate, and in revising some of them in the light of new discoveries and the teachings of later research. The authority on Indian palaeography is Bühler’s work, published in 1896 as part 2 of vol. i of the Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde; an English version of it was issued in 1904 as an appendix to the Indian Antiquary, vol. xxxiii.
- (J. F. F.)
III. Greek Inscriptions
Etymologically the term inscription (ἐπιγραφή) would include much more than is commonly meant by it. It would include words engraved on rings, or stamped on coins, vases, lamps, wine-jar handles, &c. But Boeckh was clearly right in excluding this varia supellex from his Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, or only admitting it by way of appendix. Giving the term inscription a somewhat narrower sense, we still include within it a vast store of documents of the greatest value to the student of Greek civilization. It happens, moreover, that Greek inscriptions yield the historian a richer harvest than those of Rome. Partly from fashion, but partly from the greater abundance of the material, the Romans engraved their public documents (treaties, laws, &c.) to a large extent on bronze. These bronze tablets, chiefly set up in the Capitol, were melted in the various conflagrations, or were carried off to feed the mint of the conqueror. In Greece, on the contrary, the mountains everywhere afforded an inexhaustible supply of marble, and made it the natural material for inscriptions. Some Greek inscribed tablets of bronze have come down to us, and many more must have perished in the sack of cities and burning of temples. A number of inscriptions on small thin plates of lead, rolled up, have survived; these are chiefly imprecations on enemies or questions asked of oracles. An early inscription recently discovered (1905) at Ephesus is on a plate of silver. But as a rule the material employed was marble. These marble monuments are often found in situ; and, though more often they were used up as convenient stones for building purposes, yet they have thus survived in a more or less perfect condition.
Inscriptions were usually set up in temples, theatres, at the side of streets and roads, in τεμένη or temple-precincts, and near public buildings generally. At Delphi and Olympia were immense numbers of inscriptions—not only those engraved upon the gifts of victorious kings and cities, but also many of a more public character. At Delphi were inscribed the decrees of the Amphictyonic assembly, at Olympia international documents concerning the Peloponnesian cities; the Parthenon and Acropolis were crowded with treaties, laws and decrees concerning the Athenian confederation; the Heraeum at Samos, the Artemisium at Ephesus, and indeed every important sanctuary, abounded with inscriptions. It is a common thing for decrees (ψηφίσματα) to contain a clause specifying where they are to be set up, and what department of the state is to defray the cost of inscribing and erecting them. Sometimes duplicates are ordered to be set up in various places; and, in cases of treaties, arbitrations and other international documents, copies were always set up by each city concerned. Accordingly documents like the Marmor Ancyranum and the Edict of Diocletian have been restored by a comparison of the various fragments of copies set up in diverse quarters of the empire.
Greek inscribed marbles varied considerably in their external appearance. The usual form was the στήλη, the normal type of which was a plain slab, from 3 to 4 or even 5 ft. high, 3 or 4 in. thick, tapering slightly upwards from about 2 ft. wide at bottom to about 18 in. at the top, where it was either left plain or often had a slight moulding, or still more commonly was adorned with a more or less elaborate pediment; the slab was otherwise usually plain. Another form was the βωμός or altar, sometimes square, oftener circular, and varying widely in size. Tombstones were either στῆλαι (often enriched beneath the pediment with simple groups in relief, commemorative of the deceased), or κίονες, pillars, of different size and design, or sarcophagi plain and ornamental. To these must be added statue-bases of every kind, often inscribed, not only with the names and honours of individuals, but also with decrees and other documents. All these forms were intended to stand by themselves in the open air. But it was also common to inscribe state documents upon the surface of the walls of a temple, or other public building. Thus the antae and external face of the walls of the pronaos of the temple of Athena Polias at Priene were covered with copies of the awards made concerning the lands disputed between Samos and Priene (see Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. iii. § 1); similarly the walls of the Artemisium at Ephesus contained a number of decrees (ibid. iii. § 2), and the proscenium of the Odeum was lined with crustae, or “marble-veneering,” under 1 in. thick, inscribed with copies of letters from Hadrian, Antoninus and other emperors to the Ephesian people (ibid. p. 151). The workmanship and appearance of inscriptions varied considerably according to the period of artistic development. The letters incised with the chisel upon the wall or the στήλη were painted in with red or blue pigment, which is often traceable upon newly unearthed inscriptions. When Thucydides, in quoting the epigram of Peisistratus the younger (vi. 54), says “it may still be read ἀμυδροῖς γράμμασι,” he must refer to the fading of the colour; for the inscription was brought to light in 1877 with the letters as fresh as when they were first chiselled (see Kumanudes in Ἀθήναιον, vi. 149; I.G. suppl. to vol. i. p. 41). The Greeks found no inconvenience, as we should, in the bulkiness of inscriptions as a means of keeping public records. On the contrary they made every temple a muniment room; and while the innumerable στῆλαι, Hermae, bases and altars served to adorn the city, it must also have encouraged and educated the sense of patriotism for the citizen to move continually among the records of the past. The history of a Greek city was literally written upon her stones.
The primary value of an inscription lay in its documentary evidence (so Euripides, Suppl. 1202, fol.). In this way they are continually cited and put in evidence by the orators (e.g. see Demosth. Fals. Leg. 428; Aeschin. In Ctes. § 75). But the Greek historians also were not slow to recognize their importance. Herodotus often cites them (iv. 88, 90, 91, v. 58 sq., vii. 228); and in his account of the victory of Plataea he had his eye upon the tripod-inscription (ix. 81; cf. Thuc. i. 132). Thucydides’s use of inscriptions is illustrated by v. 18 fol., 23, 47, 77, vi. 54, 59. Polybius used them still more. In later Greece, when men’s thoughts were thrown back upon the past, regular collections of inscriptions began to be made by such writers as Philochorus (300 B.C.), Polemon (2nd century B.C., called στηλοκόπας for his devotion to inscriptions), Aristodemus, Craterus of Macedon, and many others.
At the revival of learning, the study of inscriptions revived with the renewed interest in Greek literature. Cyriac of Ancona, early in the 15th century, copied a vast number of inscriptions during his travels in Greece and Asia Minor; his MS. collections were deposited in the Barberini library at Rome, and have been used by other scholars. (See Bull. Corr. Hellén. i.; Larfeld in Müller’s Handbuch 1.², p. 368 f.; Ziebarth, “de ant. Inscript. Syllogis” in Ephem. Epigr. ix.). Succeeding generations of travellers and scholars continued to collect and edit, and Englishmen in both capacities did much for this study.
Thus early in the 19th century the store of known Greek inscriptions had so far accumulated that the time had come for a comprehensive survey of the whole subject. And it was the work of one great scholar, Augustus Boeckh, to raise Greek epigraphy into a science. At the request of the Academy of Berlin he undertook to arrange and edit all the known inscriptions in one systematic work, and vol. i. of the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum was published in 1828, vol. ii. in 1833. He lived to see the work completed, although other scholars were called in to help him to execute his great design; vol. iii., by Franz, appeared in 1853; vol. iv., by Kirchhoff, in 1856. The work is a masterpiece of lucid arrangement and profound learning, of untiring industry and brilliant generalization. Out of the publication of the Corpus there grew up a new school of students, who devoted themselves to discovering and editing new texts, and working up epigraphical results into monographs upon the many-sided history of Greece. In the Corpus Boeckh had settled for ever the methods of Greek epigraphy; and in his Staatshaushaltung der Athener (3rd ed. of vols. i. ii. by Fränkel, 1886; well known to English readers from Sir G. C. Lewis’s translation, The Public Economy of Athens, 2nd ed., 1842) he had given a palmary specimen of the application of epigraphy to historical studies. At the same time Franz drew up a valuable introduction to the study of inscriptions in his Elementa Epigraphices Graecae (1840).
Meanwhile the liberation of Greece and increasing facilities for visiting the Levant combined to encourage the growth of the subject, which has been advanced by the labours of many scholars, and chiefly Ludwig Ross, Leake, Pittakys, Rangabé, Le Bas and later by Meier, Sauppe, Kirchhoff, Kumanudes, Waddington, Köhler, Dittenberger, Homolle, Haussoullier, Wilhelm and others. Together with the development of this school of writers, there has gone on a systematic exploration of some of the most famous sites of antiquity, with the result of exhuming vast numbers of inscriptions. To mention only some of the most important: Cyrene, Rhodes, Cos, Cnidus, Halicarnassus, Miletus, Priene, Ephesus, Magnesia on the Maeander, Pergamum, Delos, Thera, Athens, Eleusis, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi, Dodona, Sparta, have been explored or excavated by the Austrians, English, French, Germans and Greeks. German, French, British, Austrian and American institutes have been established at Athens, to a great extent engaged in the study of inscriptions. From every part of the Greek world copies of inscriptions are brought home by the students of these institutes and by other travellers. And still the work proceeds at a rapid rate. For indeed the yield of inscriptions is practically inexhaustible: each island, every city, was a separate centre of corporate life, and it is significant to note that in the island of Calymnos alone C. T. Newton collected over one hundred inscriptions, many of them of considerable interest.
The result of this has been that Boeckh’s great work, though it never can be superseded, yet has ceased to be what its name implies. The four volumes of the C.I.G. contain about 10,000 inscriptions. But the number of Greek inscriptions now known is probably more than three or four times as great. Many of these are only to be found published in the scattered literature of dissertations, or in Greek, German and other periodicals. But several comprehensive collections have been attempted, among which (omitting those dealing with more limited districts of the Greek world) the following may be named:—Rangabé, Antiquités helléniques (2 vols., 1842-1855); Le Bas-Waddington, Voyage archéologique, inscriptions (3 vols., 1847-1876, incomplete); Newton, Hicks and Hirschfeld, Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum (parts i.-iv.); and above all the Inscriptiones Graecae, a Corpus undertaken by the Berlin Academy (absorbing the Corpus Inscr. Attic. and other similar collections). Of this work six complete volumes and parts of others have appeared (by 1906) representing Attica, Argolis, Megaris, Boeotia, Phocis, Locris, Aetolia, Acarnania, Ionian Islands, Aegean Islands (exc. Delos), Sicily, Italy and western Europe; they are edited by Kirchhoff, Köhler, Dittenberger, Fränkel, Hiller von Gaertringen, Kaibel and others. Of a similar Austrian publication dealing with Asia Minor (Tituli Asiae Minoris) only the first part (Lycian Inscriptions) has appeared. Of general selections of inscriptions on a smaller scale it is necessary to mention: Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graec. (2nd ed., 1898-1901, 3 vols.); the same, Orientis Graeci Inscr. Selectae (2 vols., 1903-1905); Hicks, Greek Historical Inscriptions (1st ed., 1882; 2nd ed., 1901); Michel, Recueil d’inscriptions grecques (1900); Roberts and Gardner, Introd. to Gk. Epigraphy (2 vols., 1887-1905); Röhl, Inscr. gr. antiquissimae (1882), and Imagines Inscriptionum (2nd ed., 1898).
The oldest extant Greek inscriptions appear to date from the middle of the 7th century B.C. During the excavations at Olympia a number of fragments of very ancient inscriptions were found (see Olympia, Textband v.); and Oldest Greek inscriptions. other very early inscriptions from various places, as Thera and Crete, have been published (see Röhl, op. cit.). But what is wanted is a sufficient number of very early inscriptions of fixed date. One such exists upon the leg of a colossal Egyptian statue at Abu-Simbel on the upper Nile, where certain Greek mercenaries in the service of King Psammetichus recorded their names, as having explored the river up to the second cataract (C.I.G. 5126; Röhl, 482; Hicks², 3). Even if Psammetichus II. is meant, the inscription dates between 594 and 589 B.C. Another, but later, instance is to be found in the fragmentary inscriptions on the columns dedicated by Croesus in the Ephesian temple (c. 550 B.C.; Gk. Inscr. in the Brit. Mus. 518). Documents earlier than the Persian War are not very frequent; but after that period the stream of Greek inscriptions goes on, generally increasing in volume, down to late Byzantine times.
Greek inscriptions may most conveniently be classified under the following heads: (1) those which illustrate political history; (2) those connected with religion; (3) those of a private character.
1. Foremost among the inscriptions which illustrate Greek history and politics are the decrees of senate and people (ψηφίσματα βουλῆς, ἐκκλησίας, &c.) upon every subject which could concern the interests of the state. These abound from every part Political inscriptions. of Greece. It is true that a large number of them are honorary, i.e. merely decrees granting to strangers, who have done service to the particular city, public honours (crowns, statues, citizenship and other privileges). One of these privileges was the proxenia, an honour, which entailed on the recipient the burthen of protecting the citizens of the state which granted it when they came to his city. But the importance of an honorary decree depends upon the individual and the services to which it refers. And even the mere headings and datings of the decrees from various states afford curious and valuable information upon the names and titles of the local magistrates, the names of months and other details. On the formulae, see Swoboda, Die gr. Volksbeschlüsse (1890). Droysen in his Hellenismus (1877-1878) has shown how the history of Alexander and his successors is illustrated by contemporary ψηφίσματα. And when the student of Athenian politics of the 5th and 4th centuries turns to the 1st and 2nd volumes of the I.G., he may wonder at the abundance of material before him; it is like turning over the minutes of the Athenian parliament. One example out of many must suffice—No. 17 in I.G. ii. pt. 1 (Hicks², 101) is the famous decree of the archonship of Nausinicus (378 B.C.) concerning the reconstruction of the Athenian confederacy. The terms of admission to the league occupy the face of the marble; at the bottom and on the left edge are inscribed the names of states which had already joined.
Inscribed laws (νόμοι) occur with tolerable frequency. The following are examples:—A citation of a law of Draco’s from the πρῶτος ἄξων of Solon’s laws (I.G. i. 61; cf. Dittenberger, Syll.² 52); the Civil Codes of Gortyna (5th century, Dareste, &c., Inscr. jurid. gr. i. 352 ff.); a reassessment of the tribute payable by the Athenian allies in 425 B.C. (I.G. i. 37; Köhler Urkunden und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des delisch-attischen Bundes, 1870, p. 63; Hicks², 64); a law passed by the Amphictyonic council at Delphi, 380 B.C. (Boeckh, C.I.G. 1688; I.G. ii. 545); law concerning Athenian weights and measures (Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung³, ii. 318; I.G. ii. 476); the futile sumptuary law of Diocletian concerning the maximum prices for all articles sold throughout the empire (Mommsen-Blümner, Der Maximaltarif des Diocletian, 1893). For a collection of such legal documents, see Dareste, Haussoullier and Reinach, Recueil des inscr. juridiques gr. (1891-1898).
Besides the inscribed treaties previously referred to, we may instance the following: Between Athens and Chalcis in Euboea, 446 B.c. (I.G. suppl. to vol. i. 27A); between Athens and Rhegium, 433 B.C. (Hicks², 51); between Athens and Leontini, dated the same day as the preceding (ibid. 52); between Athens and Boeotia, 395 B.C. (ibid. 84); between Athens and Chalcis, 377 B.C. (ibid. 102); between Athens and Sparta, 271 B.C. (I.G. ii. No. 332); between Hermias of Atarneus and the Ionian Erythrae, about 350 B.C. (Hicks² 138); treaties in the local dialect between the Eleans and the Heraeans, 6th century (Olympia Inschr. 9), and between various cities of Crete, 3rd century B.C. (C.I.G. 2554-2556; Griech. Dial. Inschr. 5039-5041, 5075). Egger’s Études historiques sur les traités publics chez les Grecs et chez les Romains (Paris, 1866) embraces a good many of these documents; see also R. von Scala, Die Staatsverträge des Altertums, pt. i. (1898).
The international relation of Greek cities is further illustrated by awards of disputed lands, delivered by a third city called in (ἔκκλητος πόλις) to arbitrate between the contending states, e.g. Rhodian award as between Samos and Priene (Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. 405; Dittenberger, Syll.² 315); Milesian between Messanians and Spartans, discovered at Olympia (ibid. 314; see Tac. Ann. iv. 43); and many others. Akin to these are decrees in honour of judges called in from a neutral city to try suits between citizens which were complicated by political partisanship (see C.I.G. No. 2349B, with Boeckh’s remarks; I.G. xii. 722). On the general subject, E. Sonne, De arbitris extends (1888).
Letters from kings are frequent; as from Darius I. to the satrap Gadates, with reference to the shrine of Apollo at Magnesia (Hicks², 20); from Alexander the Great to the Chians (ibid. 158); from Lysimachus to the Samians (C.I.G. 2254; Hicks¹, 152); from Antigonus I. directing the transfer of the population of Lebedus to Teos (Dittenberger, Syll.² 177); from the same to the Scepsians (Dittenberger, Or. Gr. Inscr. Sel. 5), Letters from Roman emperors are commoner still; such as Dittenberger, Syll.² 350, 356, 373, 384-388, 404.
The internal administration of Greek towns is illustrated by the minute and complete lists of the treasures in the Parthenon of the time of the Peloponnesian War (Boeckh, Staatshaush.³ vol. ii.); public accounts of Athenian expenditure (ibid.); records of the Athenian navy in the 4th century, forming vol. iii. of the 1840 ed. of the same work. To the same category belong the so-called Athenian tribute-lists, which are really lists of the quota (of the tribute paid by the Athenian allies) which was due to the treasury of Athena (ἀπαρχαί τῆ θεῷ μνᾶ ἀπο ταλάντου). Being arranged according to the tributary cities, they throw much light on the constitution of the Athenian empire at the time (I.G. i. 226-272 and suppl. p. 71 f.; Köhler, Urkunden und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. des attisch-delischen Seebundes 1870; Boeckh, Staatshaush.³ ii. 332-498). The management of public lands and mines is specially illustrated from inscriptions (Boeckh, op. cit. vol. i. passim); and the political constitution of different cities often receives light from inscriptions which cannot be gained elsewhere (e.g. see the document from Cyzicus, C.I.G. 3665, and Boeckh’s note, or that from Mytilene, Dittenberger, Or. Gr. Inscr. 2, and the inscriptions from Ephesus, Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. pt. iii. § 2).
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 ritual directions: see Sauppe, Die Mysterieninschrift aus Religious Inscriptions. 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. The excessive devotion of the later Greeks to athletic and Private Inscriptions. 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 course of publication (Collitz and others,Study of Dialects. 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 execution. For the Attic inscriptions the development Date of Inscriptions. 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 mentioned above); the Louvre contains Collections of Marbles.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). (E. L. H.; G. F. H.*)
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 the orators and historians, such as Cicero, Livy, Pliny the elder, and Suetonius among the Latins, and Polybius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Josephus among the Greeks, occasionally mention inscriptions of high historical interest. A few grammarians, as, for example, Varro, Verrius Flaccus and Valerius Probus of Berytus, quote ancient words or formulae from them, or explain the abbreviations used in them. Juridical instruments, laws, constitutions of emperors, senatus consulta and the like appear in the various collections of Roman jurisprudence.
Inscriptions (in the wider sense, as we shall henceforth call them without regard to the distinction which has been drawn) have been found in nearly every centre of ancient Roman life, but, like many other remains of antiquity, only seldom in their original sites. The great mass of them has to be sought for in the large European museums of ancient art, and in the smaller local collections of ancient remains which occur nearly everywhere in the European provinces of the former Roman empire as well as in the north of Africa, and also here and there in Asia Minor.
Only those copies of inscriptions are to be received with full confidence which are furnished by experienced and well-equipped scholars, or which have been made with the help of mechanical methods (casts, photographs, moist and dry rubbings), not always applicable with equal success, but depending on the position and the state of preservation of the monuments. From the first revival of classical learning in the Carolingian age attention was paid anew, by pilgrims to Rome and other places worth visiting, to epigraphic monuments also. In the time of the Renaissance, from the end of the 14th century downwards, some of the leading Italian scholars, like Poggio and Signorili, and the antiquarian traveller Cyriacus of Ancona, collected inscriptions, Greek and Latin. In the 15th century large collections of the inscriptions of all countries, or of limited districts, were made by Giovanni Marcanova, Fra Felice Feliciano, Fra Michele Ferrarino, Fra Giocondo the architect of Verona, Marino Sanudo the Venetian polyhistor, and others. At the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th, the first printed collections can be recorded (Spreti’s for Ravenna, 1489; Peutinger’s for Augsburg, 1508; Huttich’s for Mainz, 1520; Francesco degli Albertini’s for Rome, printed in 1521 by Jacopo Mazochi), while during the same century a long list of epigraphic travellers, like Pighius, Rambertus and Accursius, or antiquarian collectors, like Sigonius, Panvinius, Antonius Augustinus with his collaborators Ursinus and Metellus, and many others, were busy in augmenting the stock of epigraphic monuments. The series of printed epigraphic Corpora begins with that of Apianus (Ingolstadt, 1534), the only one arranged in geographical order, and is continued in those of Smetius (1558, but edited only after the author’s death by Justus Lipsius, 1588), Gruter (with Joseph Scaliger’s Indices, 1603, and re-edited by Graevius, 1707), Gudius (about 1660, edited by Hessel, 1731), Reinesius (1682), Fabretti (1699), Gori (1726), Doni (1731), Muratori (1739), Maffei (1749), Donati (1765–1775). These collections, manuscript and printed, will never altogether lose their value, as great numbers of inscriptions known to the ancient collectors have since been lost or destroyed. But, inasmuch as even towards the beginning of the 15th century, as well as afterwards, especially from the 16th down to a very recent period, all sorts of inaccuracies, interpolations and even downright falsifications, found their way into the Corpora, these can be employed only with the greatest caution. Modern critical research in the field of epigraphy began with the detection of those forgeries (especially of the very extensive and skilful ones of Pirro Ligorio, the architect to the house of Este) by Maffei, Olivieri and Marini. The last-named scholar opens a new era of truly critical and scientific handling of Roman inscriptions (especially in his standard work on the Atti dei fratelli arvali, Rome, 1795); his disciple and successor, Count Bartolomeo Borghesi (who died at San Marino in 1860), may be rightly called the founder of the modern science of Roman epigraphy. Orelli’s handy collection of Roman inscriptions (2 vols., Zurich, 1828) is a first attempt to make accessible to a larger scientific public the results of the researches of Marini and his successors; but it was not completed, (and thoroughly corrected) until nearly thirty years later, by Henzen (Orelli, iii., with the indispensable Indices, Zurich, 1856), who, with Mommsen and De Rossi, carried out the plan of a universal Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum, previously projected by Maffei (1732), by Kellermann and Sarti (1832), with Borghesi’s help, and by Letronne and Egger (1843). After the appearance of Mommsen’s Inscriptiones regni Neapolitani Latinae (Leipzig, 1852) and his Inscriptiones confoederationis Helveticae Latinae (vol. x. of the publications of the Zurich Antiquarian Society, 1854), the publication of the C.I.L., following the similar work of the Greek inscriptions, was undertaken by the Royal Academy of Sciences of Berlin.
This work, in which the previous literature is fully described and utilized, consists of the following parts:—vol. i., Inscriptiones antiquissimae ad C. Caesaris mortem (1863; 2nd ed., part i., 1893); Ritschl’s Priscae Latinitatis monumenta epigraphica (Berlin, 1862, fol.) form the graphic illustration to vol. i., giving all extant monuments of the republican epoch (with five Supplementa, Bonn, 1862–1865; R. Garrucci’s Sylloge inscriptionum Latinarum aevi Romanae reipublicae usque ad C. Iulium Caesarem plenissima, 2 vols., Turin, 1875–1877, must be used with caution); vol. ii., Inscr. Hispaniae (1869; with Supplement, 1892); vol. iii., Inscr. Asiae, provinciarum Europae Graecarum, Illyrici (1873; with Supplements and Index, 1889–1902); vol. iv., Inscr. parietariae Pompeianae Herculanenses Stabianae (the scratched and painted inscriptions chiefly of Pompeii) (1871; with Supplement, part i., 1898; part ii., 1909); vol. v., Inscr. Galliae cisalpinae (1872–1877; with Suppl., Et. Pais, C.I.L. suppl. Italica); vol. vi., Inscr. urbis Romae (1876–1902; with Supplement, 1902); vol. vii., Inscr. Britanniae (1873); vol. viii., Inscr. Africae (1881; with Supplement, 1891–1894, 1904); vol. ix., Inscr. Calabriae, Apuliae, Samnii, Sabinorum, Piceni (1883); vol. x., Inscr. Bruttiorum, Lucaniae, Campaniae, Siciliae, Sardiniae (1883); vol. xi., Inscr. Aemiliae, Umbriae, Etruriae (1888; part ii., 1901 sqq.); vol. xii., Inscr. Galliae Narbonensis (1888); vol. xiii., Inscr. trium Galliarum et duarum Germaniarum (1899 sqq.; part ii., 1905 sqq.); vol. xiv., Inscr. Latii antiqui; vol. xv., Inscr. laterum (1891; part ii., i. [vasa, lucernae, fistulae], 1899). The arrangement observed in the Corpus is the geographical (as in Apianus); within the single towns the order of subjects (tituli sacri, magistratuum, privatorum, &c., as in Smetius) is followed, with some few exceptions, where the monuments are so numerous (as in the forum of Rome and at Pompeii and Lambaesis) that they can be assigned to their original places. Running supplements to the C.I.L. are given in the Ephemeris epigraphica, Corporis inscr. Latinarum supplementum (Berlin, 1872 sqq.); and the new discoveries of each year are recorded in Cagnat’s L’Année épigraphique.
The inscriptions in the other Italian dialects have been published by Conway, Italic Dialects (Cambridge, 1897); cf. vol. ii. of von Planta, Grammatik der oskisch-umbrischen Dialekte (Strassburg, 1897). A Corpus of the Etruscan inscriptions was begun in 1893 by Pauli and is now nearly complete. The inscriptions of the Veneti, a N. Italian people of the Illyrian stock, will be found in vol. iii. of Pauli, Altitalische Forschungen (Leipzig, 1891). For the Christian inscriptions see De Rossi’s Inscr. Christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, vol. i. (Rome, 1857), vol. ii. (1888); the Inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaule of Le Blant (2 vols., Paris, 1857–1865; new edition, 1892); the Altchristliche Inschriften der Rheinlande of Kraus (1890); the Christliche Inschriften der Schweiz vom IV.-IX. Jahrhundert of Egli (1895); and the Inscr. Hispaniae Christianae and Inscr. Britanniae Christianae of Hübner (Berlin, 1871, 1876). As splendidly illustrated works on the Latin inscriptions of some districts Alphonse de Boissieu’s Inscriptions antiques de Lyon (Lyons, 1846–1854), Ch. Robert’s Épigraphie romaine de la Moselle (Paris, 1875), and J. C. Bruce’s Lapidarium septentrionale (London and Newcastle, 1875) can be recommended. Besides the above-mentioned Orelli-Henzen collection, G. Wilmanns’s Exempla inscriptionum Latinarum (2 vols, Berlin, 1873, with copious indexes), and Dessau’s Inscriptiones Latinae selectae (vol. i., 1892; vol. ii., 1903; ii., 1906) give a general synopsis of the materials. Inscriptions of interest to students of history are collected in Rushforth’s Latin Historical Inscriptions (Oxford, 1893); Leroux, Revue des publications épigraphiques relatives à l’antiquité romaine, records those which bear on antiquities. Of other works may be mentioned Ruggiero, Dizionario epigrafico di antichità romane (1886); Olcott, Thesaurus linguae Latinae epigraphicae (1904 sqq.).
II. Information regarding the forms of letters used on Roman inscriptions will be found under the articles Latin Language, Palaeography and Writing (cf. Hübner, Exempla scripturae epigraphicae Latinae, 1895). The forms of the single letters vary not inconsiderably according to the material of the monuments, their age and their origin. Carefully cut letters, especially when on a large scale, naturally differ from those scratched or painted on walls by non-professional hands, or hewn on rocks by soldiers; and small incised (or dotted) letters on metal or ivory and bone, and those painted on earthenware, or impressed on it or on glass before burning, are also necessarily of a different character. The letters, ordinarily drawn with minium on the monument before being cut (and also often painted, after having been cut, with the same colour), sometimes have been painted with a brush, and thence receive a peculiar form. To save space, on coins first and afterwards in inscriptions also, two or three or even more letters were joined, especially at the end of the lines, to a nexus or a ligatura. This system of compendious writing, very rare in the republican epoch, and slowly extending itself during the 1st century, became rather frequent in the 2nd and 3rd, especially in Spain and Africa. There is no constant system in these nexus litterarum, but generally the rule is observed that no substantial element of a single letter is to be counted for twice (thus e.g. is it or ti, not Titi). Numerals are usually distinguished from letters in the ancient period, down to the end of the republic, by a stroke drawn through them, as in ++VIR, duo(m) vir(om) ++S duo semis (sestertius), 500; it was afterwards put above them, as in ĪĪVIR, XVIR, IĪĪĪĪIVIR, duovir, decemvir, sevir.
The direction of the writing is in the very oldest inscriptions from right to left and from left to right in alternate lines, an arrangement technically called βουστροφηδόν (D. Comparetti, Iscrizione arcaica del Foro Romano, Florence, 1900; H. Jordan, Hermes, vol. xv. p. 5, 1880), and in the Sabellic inscriptions similar arrangements are not infrequent. In all others it is from left to right. Each word is separated from the other by a sign of interpunction, which is not wanted, therefore, at the end of lines or of the whole text. Exceptions to this rule occur only in the later period (from the 2nd century downwards), and sometimes under special conditions, as when abridged words form the end of the line. Here and there even the different syllables of each word are separated by interpunction. The interpunction is formed by a single dot (except in some very ancient inscriptions, such as the recently found Forum inscription of the regal period and those of Pisaurum, where, as in Greek and other Italian monuments, three dots are used). According to the technical skill of the different periods in stone-cutting this dot is in some very ancient inscriptions quadrangular, or similar to an oblique cross (×), or oblong (as a bold stroke), but, as a rule, triangular, and never circular. This triangular dot changes, by ornamentation, into a hook () or a leaf (); the ivy-leaf-shaped dot is especially frequent in inscriptions from about the 2nd century downwards. The dot is always placed at the middle height of the letters, not, as now, at the foot of the line. In large texts of instruments the interpunction is often omitted; in the later period it is often entirely wanting; and in short texts, in the disposition of the lines, in the varying sizes of the letters employed, in the division of words at the end of the lines, &c., certain rules are observed, which cannot be detailed here. In some instances older inscriptions have been cancelled and more recent ones substituted (e.g. on milestones), especially in the case of the damnatio memoriae (in cases of high treason), in consequence of which the names of consuls and emperors are often cancelled; but in modern times also inscriptions have been deliberately destroyed or lost ones restored.
For understanding the texts of the inscriptions an accurate knowledge of the system of abbreviations used in them is necessary (see Cagnat, Cours d’épigraphie latine, 3rd ed., 1898). These are almost invariably litterae singulares; that is to say, the initial letter is employed for the entire word (in all its grammatical forms), or if one initial, as belonging to more than one word, is not sufficiently clear, the first two or even the first three letters are employed; rarely more than three. Abbreviations in the true sense of the word (by dropping some letters at the end) are to be found, in the older period, only at the end of lines, and not frequently. In the later period some instances of them have been observed. The litterae singulares, as Valerius Probus taught, are either generally employed (usus generalis) in all classes of written documents (and so in literature also), as, for instance, those of the individual names (the praenomina), the names of days and feasts (kal. for kalendae), and those of the chief magistrates (cos. for consul) and the like; or they belong chiefly (but not exclusively) to certain classes of documents, such as those used in juridical acts (l. for lex, h. for heres, s. d. m. for sine dolo malo, and so on), in sepulchral inscriptions (h. s. e., hic situs est) or in dedicatory inscriptions (v. s. l. m., votum solvit libens merito), &c.
It may be observed here that the praenomina are, as a rule, always written in the universally known abbreviations (in the few instances where they are written in full it is a consequence of Greek influence or of peculiar circumstances). The gentilicia in -ius are abridged, in the republican period, in -i (in the nominative, perhaps for -is). In the always abbreviated indications of ancestors or patrons (in the case of slaves and freedmen), as C.f., Gai filius, M.l., Marci libertus (s. for servus is not frequent), the feminine gender is sometimes indicated by inversion of the letters. Thus Ɔ . l. (or lib.) or W (an inverted M) l. designates a mulieris libertus; and are used for filia, pupilla. On the tribus and their abbreviations, and on the so-called military tribus (which are names of colonies collocated, for the sake of symmetry, at the place usually occupied, in the nomenclature, by the tribus), and on the other indications of origin used in the designation of individuals, the indexes to the above-named works give sufficient information; on the geographical distribution of the tribus see Grotefend’s Imperium Romanum tributim descriptum (Hanover, 1863). For the abbreviations of official charges, urban and municipal, and, in the imperial period, civil and military (to which, beginning with the 4th century, some Christian designations are to be added), see also the explanations given in the indexes. Among these abbreviations the first instances are to be found of the indication of the plural number by doubling the last letter; thus Augg., Caess., coss., dd. nn. (domini nostri), are used from the 3rd century downwards (see De Rossi’s preface to the Inscriptiones Christ. urbis Romae) to distinguish them from Aug., Caes., as designating the singular. In the later period, a dot or a stroke over the abridged word, like that upon numerals, here and there indicates the abbreviation.
III.—1. Among the inscriptions in the stricter sense (the tituli), perhaps the oldest, and certainly the most frequent, are the sepulchral inscriptions (tituli sepulcrales). Of the different forms of Roman tombs, partly depending upon the difference between burial and cremation, which were in use side by side, a very complete account is given in Marquardt’s Handbuch der römischen Altertümer (vol. vii. part i., Leipzig, 1879, p. 330 seq.). The most ancient examples are those of a sepulcretum at Praeneste (C.I.L. i. 74, 165, 1501 a-d; Ephem. epigr. i. 25-131; Wil. 153); the oldest of these contain nothing but the name of the deceased in the nominative; those of more recent date give it in the genitive. The oldest and simplest form remained always in use down to Christian times; it is that used on the large tectonic monuments of the Augustan age (e.g. that of Caecilia Metella, C.I.L. vi. 1274) and in the mausolea of most of the emperors, and is still frequent in the tituli of the large columbaria of the same age (C.I.L. vi. part ii.). It was early succeeded by the lists of names, given also in the nominative, when more than one individual, either dead or alive, were to be indicated as sharers of a tomb. To distinguish the members still alive, a v (vivit, vivos, vivi) was prefixed to their names (e.g. C.I.L. i. 1020, 1195, 1271); the deceased were sometimes marked by the θῆτα nigrum (C.I.L. i. 1032; Wil. 158; see also C.I.L. vi. 10251 seq.). Only the names in the nominative are shown, too, on the sarcophagi of the Turpleii and Fourii at Tusculum (C.I.L. i. 65-72; Wil. 152), and in the oldest inscriptions on those of the Scipiones, painted with minium (C.I.L. i. 29; Wil. 537), to which were added afterwards the insignia of the magistratus curules (C.I.L. i. 31; Wil. 538) and the poetical elogia. Of a somewhat different kind are the inscriptions scratched without much care on very simple earthen vessels which belonged to a sepulcretum of the lower class, situated outside the porta Capena at Rome, on the Appian road, near the old church of San Cesario (C.I.L. i. 882-1005, 1539, 1539 a-d = C.I.L. vi. 8211-8397; Wil. 176); they can be ascribed to the period of the Gracchi. On these ollae, besides the name of the deceased, also for the most part in the nominative, but on the more recent in the genitive, the date of a day, probably that of the death, is noted; here and there obit (or o.) is added. About the same epoch, at the beginning of the 6th century, along with the growing taste for tectonic ornamentation of the tombs in the Greek style, poetical epigrams were added to the simple sepulchral titulus, especially amongst the half-Greek middle class rapidly increasing in Rome and Italy; Saturnian (C.I.L. i. 1006), iambic (1007-1010) and dactylic (1011) verses become more and more frequent in epitaphs (see Buecheler, Anthologia Latina, ii.). In prose also short designations of the mental qualities of the deceased (homo bonus, misericors, amans pauperum, or uxor frugi, bona, pudica and the like), short dialogues with the passer-by (originally borrowed from Greek poetry), as vale salve, salvus ire, vale et tu, te rogo praeteriens dicas “sit tibi terra levis,” &c. (Wil. 180), then indications of his condition in his lifetime, chiefly among the Greek tradesmen and workmen, e.g. lanius de colle Viminale (C.I.L. i. 1011), margaritarius de sacra via (1027) and the like, and some formulae, such as ossa hic sita sunt, heic cubat, heic situs est (in republican times mostly written in full, not abridged) were added (J. Church “Zur Phraseologie der lat. Grabinschriften” in Arch. lat. Lexikogr. 12. 215 sqq.). The habit of recording the measurement of the sepulchre, on the sepulchral cippus, by such formulae as locus patet in fronte pedes tot, in agro (or in via, or retro) pedes tot, seems not to be older than the Augustan age (C.I.L. i. 1021, with Mommsen’s note; Wil. 188). About the same time also the epitaphs more frequently state how long the deceased lived, which was formerly added only on certain occasions (e.g. in the case of a premature death), and mostly in poetical form. The worship of the dei Manes, though undoubtedly very ancient, is not alluded to in the sepulchral inscriptions themselves until the close of the republic. Here and there, in this period, the tomb is designated as a (locus) deum Maanium (e.g. at Hispellum, C.I.L. i. 1410); or, it is said, as on a cippus from Corduba in Spain (C.I.L. ii. 2255; Wil. 218), C. Sentio Sat(urnino) co(n)s(ule)—that is, in the year 19 B.C.—dei Manes receperunt Abulliam N(umerii) l(ibertam) Nigellam. In the Augustan age the titulus sepulcralis begins to be confounded with the titulus sacer; it adopts the form of a dedication deis Manibus, offered to the dei Manes (or dei inferi Manes, the dei parentum being the Manes of the parents) of the deceased (see Orel. 4351; Wil. 217-228). This formula, afterwards so common, is still very rare at the end of the republic, and is usually written in full, while in later times it is employed, both simply and in many varied forms (as dis manibus sacrum, or d. m. et memoriae, d. m. et genio, or memoriae aeternae, paci et quieti, quieti aeternae, somno aeternali and so on; Wil. 246), in thousands of monuments. By similar degrees the titulus sepulcralis adopts many of the elements of the titulus honorarius (the indication of the cursus honorum, of the military charges, &c., as e.g. in the inscription of Cn. Calpurnius Piso, C.I.L. i. 598 = vi. 1276, Wil. 1105, on the pyramid of Cestius, C.I.L. vi. 1374, and on the monument at Ponte Lucano of Ti. Plautius Silvanus Aelianus, consul A.D. 74, Orel. 750, Wil. 1145 and many others), of the tituli operum publicorum (e.g. monumentum fecit, sibi et suis, &c.), and of the instrumenta. Testaments (like those of Dasumius of the year A.D. 109.—C.I.L. vi. 10229; Wil. 314; and T. Flavius Syntrophus—C.I.L. vi. 10239; Henz. 7321; Wil. 313), or parts of them (like that on the tomb of a Gaul of the tribe of the Lingones, belonging to Vespasian’s time, Wil. 315), funeral orations (as those on Turia—C.I.L. vi. 1527; Notizie degli scavi (1898), p. 412; Hirschfeld, Wiener Studien Bormannheft, p. 283; Fowler, Classical Review, xix. 261; on Murdia—C.I.L. vi. 10230; Orel. 4860; Rudorff, Abhandlungen der Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (1868), p. 217 seq.; and that of Hadrian on the elder Matidia, found at Tivoli—Mommsen in the same Abhandlungen (1863), p. 483 seq; Dehner, Laudatio Matidiae, Neuwied (1891), numerous statements relating to the conservation and the employment of the monuments (C.I.L. vi. 10249; Wil. 287-290), to their remaining within the family of the deceased—from which came the frequent formula “h(oc) m(onumentum) h(eredem) n(on) s(equetur)” and the like (Wil. 280; cf. Hor. Sat. i. 8. 13),—and relating to the annual celebration of parentalia (Wil. 305 seq.), down to the not uncommon prohibition of violation or profanation of the monument noli violare, &c., with many other particulars (on which the index of Wil. p. 678 seq. may be consulted), form the text of the sepulchral inscriptions of the later epoch from Augustus downwards. The thoroughly pagan sentiment non fui non sum non curo, or n. f. n. s. n. c., is common, apparently a translation of the Greek οὐκ ἤμην, ἐγενόμην οὐκ ἔσομαι οὐ μἐλει μοι. Another type of epitaph, much affected by the poorer classes (like our “Affliction sore” &c.), is: noli dolere mater eventum meum, Properavit aetas, hoc voluit fatus (sic) mihi (Lier, “Topica carminum sepulcralium Latinorum” in Philologus, 62. 445 sqq.). To these are to be added many local peculiarities of provinces (as Spain and Africa), districts (as the much-disputed sub ascia dedicare of the stones of Lyons and other parts of Gaul), and towns, of which a full account cannot be given here.
2. Of the dedicatory inscriptions (or tituli sacri), the oldest known are the short indications painted (along with representations of winged genii, in the latest style of Graeco-Italian vase painting), with white colour on black earthen vessels, by which those vessels (pocula) are declared to be destined for the worship, public or private, of a certain divinity (C.I.L. i. 43-50; Ephem. epigr. i. 5-6; Wil. 2827 a-i); they give the name of the god, as that of the possessor, in the genitive (e.g. Saeturni pocolom, Lavernai pocolom). The proper form of the dedication, the simple dative of the name of a divinity and often nothing else (as Apolenei, Fide, Junone, &c., which are all datives), is shown on the very primitive altars found in a sacred wood near Pisaurum (C.I.L. i. 167-180; Wil. 1-14); but also the name of the dedicants (matrona, matrona Pisaurese, which are nomin. plur.) and the formulae of the offering (dono dedrot or dedro, donu dat, where dono and donu are accus.) are already added to them. This most simple form (the verb in the perfect or in the present) never disappeared entirely; it occurs not infrequently also in the later periods. Nor did the dative alone, without any verb or formula, go entirely out of use (see C.I.L. i. 630; Wil. 36; C.I.L. i. 814 = vi. 96; Orel. 1850; Wil. 32; C.I.L. i. 1153; Henz. 5789; Wil. 1775). But at an early date the verb donum dare and some synonyms (like donum portare, ferre, mancupio dare, parare) were felt to be insufficient to express the dedicator’s good-will and his sense of the justice of the dedication, which accordingly were indicated in the expanded formula dono dedet lub(e)s mereto (C.I.L. i. 183, cf. p. 555; Wil. 21; C.I.L. i. 190; Wil. 22), or, with omission of the verb, dono mere(to) lib(e)s (C.I.L. i. 182). The dative case and this formula, completely or partially employed (for merito alone is also used, as C.I.L. i. 562, cf. Ephem. epigr. ii. 353, Wil. 29), remained in solemn use. To lubens (or libens) was added laetus (so in Catullus 31. 4), and, if a vow preceded the dedication, votum solvit (or voto condemnatus dedit; see C.I.L. i. 1175; Henz. 5733; Wil. 142, and C.I.L. ii. 1044); so, but not before the time of Augustus (see C.I.L. i. 1462 = iii. 1772), the solemn formula of the dedicatory inscriptions of the later period, v. s. l. m. or v. s. l. l. m., arose. To the same effect, and of equally ancient origin with the solemn words dare and donum dare, the word sacrum (or other forms of it, as sacra [ara]), conjoined with the name of a divinity in the dative, indicates a gift to it (e.g. C.I.L. i. 814; Wil. 32; C.I.L. i. 1200-1201; Wil. 33 a b); the same form is to be found also in the later period (e.g. C.I.L. i. 1124; Henz. 5624-5637), and gave the model for the numerous sepulchral inscriptions with dis Manibus sacrum mentioned before. Sacrum combined with a genitive very seldom occurs (Orel. 1824; Wil. 34); ara is found more frequently (as ara Neptuni and ara Ventorum, Orel. 1340). Dedications were frequently the results of vows; so victorious soldiers (such as L. Mummius, the conqueror of Corinth—C.I.L. i. 541 seq.; Orel. 563; Wil. 27), and prosperous merchants (e.g. the brothers Vertuleii—C.I.L. i. 1175; Henz. 5733; Wil. 142) vow a tenth part of their booty (de praedad, as is said on the basis erected by one of the Fourii of Tusculum—C.I.L. i. 63, 64; Henz. 5674; Wil. 18) or gain, and out of this dedicate a gift to Hercules or other divinities (see also C.I.L. i. 1503; Wil. 24; C.I.L. 1113; Wil. 43). Again, what one man had vowed, and had begun to erect, is, by his will, executed after his death by others (as the propylum Cereris et Proserpinae on the Eleusinian temple, which Appius Claudius Pulcher, Cicero’s well-known predecessor in the Cilician proconsulate, began—C.I.L. i. 619 = iii. 347; Wil. 31); or the statue that an aedilis vowed is erected by himself as duovir (C.I.L. iii. 500; Henz. 5684); what slaves had promised they fulfil as freedmen (C.I.L. 1233, servos vovit liber solvit; C.I.L. 816, Wil. 51, “ser(vos) vov(it) leibert(us) solv(it)”), and so on. The different acts into which an offering, according to the circumstantially detailed Roman ritual, is to be divided (the consecratio being fulfilled only by the solemn dedicatio) are also specified on dedicatory inscriptions (see for instance, consacrare or consecrare, Orel. 2503, and Henz. 6124, 6128; for dedicare, C.I.L. i. 1159, Henz. 7024, Wil. 1782, and compare Catullus’s hunc lucum tibi dedico consecroque Priape; for dicare see the aara leege Albana dicata to Vediovis by the genteiles Iuliei, C.I.L. i. 807, Orel. 1287, Wil. 101). Not exactly dedicatory, but only mentioning the origin of the gift, are the inscriptions on the pedestals of offerings (ἀναθήματα, donaria) out of the booty, like those of M. Claudius Marcellus from Enna (C.I.L. i. 530; Wil. 25, “Hinnad cepit”) or of M. Fulvius Nobilior, the friend of the poet Ennius, from Aetolia (C.I.L. i. 534; Orel. 562; Wil. 26 a, and Bullettino dell’ Instituto, 1869, p. 8; C.I.L. vi. 1307; Wil. 26 b, “Aetolia cepit” and “Ambracia cepit”); they contain only the name of the dedicator, not that of the divinity. Of the similar offerings of L. Mummius, already mentioned, two only are preserved in their original poetical form, the Roman in Saturnian verses of a carmen triumphale (C.I.L. i. 541; Orel. 563; Wil. 27 a) and that found at Reate in dactylic hexameters (C.I.L. i. 542; Wil. 27 b); the rest of them contain only the name of the dedicant and the dative of the community to which they were destined (C.I.L. i. and Wil. l.c.). Of a peculiar form is the very ancient inscription on a bronze tablet, now at Munich, probably from Rome, where two aidiles, whose names are given at the beginning as in the other donaria, “vicesma(m) parti(m) or [ex] vicesma parti Apalones (that is, Apollinis) dederi (that is, dedere)” (C.I.L. i. 187; Orel. 1433). Many, but not substantial, varieties arise, when old offerings are restored (e.g. C.I.L. i. 638, 632 = Orel. 2135, and Wil. 48; C.I.L. i. 803; Henz. 5669, 6122); or the source of the offering (e.g. de stipe, C.I.L. i. 1105; Henz. 5633 a; ex reditu pecuniae, ex patrimonio suo, ex ludis, de munere gladiatorio, and so on); or the motive (ex jusso, ex imperio, ex visu, ex oraculo, monitu, viso moniti, somnio admonitus and the like), or the person or object, for which the offering was made (C.I.L. i. 188, pro poplod; Ephem. epigr. ii. 208, pro trebibos, in the British Museum; pro se, pro salute, in honorem domus divinae, &c.), are indicated; or, as in the tituli operum publicorum, the order of a magistrate (de senati sententia, C.I.L. i. 560 = vi. 1306; Orel. 5351; i. 632 = vi. 110; Orel. 2135; Wil. 48; decurionum decreto, &c.), and the magistrates or private persons executing or controlling the work, the place where and the time when it was erected, are added. On all these details the indexes, especially that of Wil. (ii. 675), give further information. The objects themselves which are offered or erected begin to be named only in the later period just as in the tituli operum publicorum (“basim donum dant,” C.I.L. i. 1167; “signum basim,” C.I.L. i. 1154; “aram,” C.I.L. i. 1468; Orel. 1466; Wil. 52; C.I.L. i. 1109; Wil. 54); in the later period this custom becomes more frequent. It is hardly necessary to observe that all kinds of offerings have very frequently also been adorned with poetry; these carmina dedicatoria are given by Buecheler, Anthologia Latina, ii.; cf. Wil. 142-151.
3. Statues to mortals, whether living or after their death (but not on their tombs), with honorary inscriptions (tituli honorarii), were introduced into the Roman republic after the Greek model and only at a comparatively late date. One of the oldest inscriptions of this class comes from Greek soil and is itself Greek in form, with the name in the accusative governed by some (suppressed) verb like “honoured” (C.I.L. i. 533; Wil. 649), “Italicei L. Cornelium Scipionem (i.e. Asiagenum) honoris caussa,” lost and of not quite certain reading, belonging to 561 A.U.C. (193 B.C.); the same form (in the accusative) appears in other (Latin or Latin and Greek) inscriptions from Greece (C.I.L. i. 596 = iii. 532; Wil. 1103; C.I.L. iii. 365, 7240; compare also C.I.L. i. 587, 588; Orel. 3036). The noble house of the Scipios introduced the use of poetical elogia in the ancient form of the carmina triumphalia in Saturnian verses (from the 6th century in elegiac distichs). They were added to the short tituli, painted only with minium on the sarcophagi, giving the name of the deceased (in the nominative) and his curulian offices (exclusively), which were copied perhaps from the well-known imagines preserved in the atrium of the house (C.I.L. i. 29 sq; Orel. 550 sq.; Wil. 537 sq., and elsewhere). They hold, by their contents, an intermediate place between the sepulchral inscriptions, to which they belong properly, and the honorary ones, and therefore are rightly styled elogia. What the Scipios did thus privately for themselves was in other cases done publicly at a period nearly as early. The first instance preserved of such a usage, of which Pliny the elder speaks (Hist. nat. xxxiv. § 17 sq.), is the celebrated columna rostrata of C. Duilius, of which only a copy exists, made in or before the time of the emperor Claudius (C.I.L. i. 195 = vi. 1300; Orel. 549; Wil. 609). Then follow the elogia inscribed at the base of public works like the Arcus Fabianus (C.I.L. i. 606, 607 and 278, elog. i.-iii. = vi. 1303, 1304; Wil. 610), or of statues by their descendants, as those belonging to a sacrarium domus Augustae (C.I.L. i. elog. iv.-vi. = C.I.L. vi. 1310, 1311) and others belonging to men celebrated in politics or in letters, as Scipio, Hortensius, Cicero, &c., and found in Rome either on marble tablets (C.I.L. i. vii.-xii. = C.I.L. vi. 1312, 1279, 1283, 1271, 1273; Wil. 611-613) or on busts (C.I.L. i. xv.-xix. = C.I.L. vi. 1327, 1295, 1320, 1309, 1325, 1326; Wil. 618-621; see also C.I.L. i. 40 = vi. 1280; Wil. 1101; and C.I.L. i. 631 = vi. 1278; i. 640 = vi. 1323, vi. 1321, 1322, where T. Quincti seems to be the nominative), and in divers other places (C.I.L. i. xiii., xiv.; Wil. 614, 615). This custom seems to have been resumed by Augustus (Suet. Aug. 31) with a political and patriotic aim, praised by the poet Horace (Od. iv. 8. 13, “incisa notis marmora publicis, per quae spiritus et vita redit bonis post mortem ducibus”); for he adorned his forum with the statues of celebrated men from Aeneas and Romulus downwards (C.I.L. i. xxiv., xxv., xxvii., xxxii. = C.I.L. vi. 1272, 1308, 1315, 1318; Wil. 625, 626, 627, 632), and other towns followed his example (so Pompeii, C.I.L. i. xx., xxii. = Wil. 622, 623; Lavinium, C.I.L. i. xxi.; Wil. 617; Arretium, C.I.L. i. xxiii., xxviii., xxix., xxx., xxxi., xxxiii., xxxiv. = Wil. 624, 625, 629-633). All these elogia are written in the nominative. In the same way in the colonies statues seem to have been erected to their founders or other eminent men, as in Aquileia (C.I.L. i. 538 = v. 873; Wil. 650; compare also C.I.L. v. 862; Orel. 3827) and Luna (C.I.L. i. 539 = Wil. 651).
But along with this primitive and genuine form of the titulus honorarius another form of it, equivalent to the dedicatory inscription, with the name of the person honoured in the dative, begins to prevail from the age of Sulla onwards. For the oldest examples of this form seem to be the inscriptions on statues dedicated to the dictator at Rome (C.I.L. i. 584 = vi. 1297; Orel. 567; Wil. 1102a) and at other places (Caieta and Clusium, C.I.L. i. 585, 586; Wil. 1102b, c), in which the whole set of honours and offices is not enumerated as in the elogia, but only the honores praesentes; compare also the inscription belonging to about the same date, of a quaestor urbanus (C.I.L. i. 636). Within the Greek provinces also, at the same period, this form is adopted (C.I.L. i. 595 = iii. 531; Henz. 5294; Wil. 1104). Similar dedications were offered to Pompey the Great (at Auximum and Clusium, C.I.L. i. 615, 616; Orel. 574; Wil. 1107) and to his legate L. Afranius (at Bologna, but erected by the citizens of the Spanish colony Valentia, C.I.L. i. 601; Henz. 5127; Wil. 1106). They are succeeded by the statues raised to Caesar (at Bovianum, C.I.L. i. 620; Orel. 582; Wil. 1108), and, after his death, iussu populi Romani, in virtue of a special law, at Rome (C.I.L. i. 626 = vi. 872; Orel. 586; Wil. 877). With him, as is well known, divine honours begin to be paid to the princeps, even during life. In this same form other historical persons of high merit also begin to be honoured by posterity, as, for example, Scipio the elder at Saguntum (C.I.L. ii. 3836; Wil. 653), Marius at Cereatae Marianae, the place which bears his name (C.I.L. x. 5782; Wil. 654). Of statues erected by the community of a municipium to a private person, that of L. Popillius Flaccus at Ferentinum seems to be the oldest example (C.I.L. i. 1164; Wil. 655, and his note). In Rome, Augustus and his successors in this way permitted the erection of statues, especially to triumphatores, in the new fora, including that of Augustus (C.I.L. vi. 1386; Orel. 3187; Wil. 634; C.I.L. vi. 1444; Henz. 5448; Wil. 635) and that of Trajan (C.I.L. vi. 1377; Henz. 5478; Wil. 636; vi. 1549; Henz. 5477; Wil. 639; iv. 1549; Orel. 1386; Wil. 637; C.I.L. 1565, 1566; Wil. 640); and this custom lasted to a late period (C.I.L. vi. 1599; Henz. 3574; Wil. 638), as is shown by the statues of Symmachus the orator (C.I.L. vi. 1698, 1699; Orel. 1186, 1187; Wil. 641), Claudian the poet (C.I.L. vi. 1710; Orel. 1182; Wil. 642), Nicomachus Flavianus (C.I.L. vi. 1782, 1783; Orel. 1188; Henz. 5593; Wil. 645, 645a), and many other eminent men down to Stilicho (C.I.L. vi. 1730, 1731; Orel. 1133, 1134; Wil. 648, 648a), who died in the year 408. In similar forms are conceived the exceedingly numerous dedications to the emperors and their families, in which the names and titles, according to the different historical periods, are exhibited, in the main with the greatest regularity. They are specified in detailed indexes by Henzen and Wilmanns, as well as in each volume of the Corpus. In the provinces, of course, the usages of the capital were speedily imitated. Perhaps the oldest example of a titulus honorarius in the form of an elogium (but in the dative), with the full cursus honorum of the person honoured, is a bilinguis from Athens, of the Augustan age (C.I.L. iii. 551; Henz. 6456a; Wil. 1122); the honours are here enumerated in chronological order, beginning with the lowest; in other instances the highest is placed first, and the others follow in order. In the older examples the formula “honoris causa,” or virtutis ergo (Hermes, vi., 1871, p. 6), is added at the end, as in an inscription of Mytilene belonging to the consul of the year 723 A.U.C., i.e. 31 B.C. (C.I.L. iii. 455; Orel. 4111; Wil. 1104b); the same, abbreviated (h.c.), occurs on an inscription of about the same age from Cirta in Africa (C.I.L. viii. 7099; Wil. 2384). Shortly afterwards the honour of a statue became as common in the Roman municipia as it was in Athens and other Greek cities in the later period. Each province furnishes numerous examples, partly with peculiar formulae, on which the indexes of Wilmanns (pp. 673, 696 sq.) may be consulted. Special mention may be made of the numerous honorary inscriptions belonging to aurigae, histriones and gladiatores; for those found in Rome see C.I.L. vi. 10,044-10,210.
He who erects a temple or a public building, or constructs a road, a bridge, an aqueduct or the like, by inscribing his name on the work, honours himself, and, as permission to do so has to be given by the public authorities, is also honoured by the community. Therefore the tituli operum publicorum, though in form only short official statements (at least in the older period) of the origin of the work, without any further indications as to its character and purpose, partake of the style of the older honorary inscriptions. Of the ancient and almost universally employed method of erecting public buildings by means of the locatio censoria one monument has preserved some traces (Ephem. epigr. ii. 199). The oldest instance of this class is that commemorating the restoration of the temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, begun, after its destruction by fire in the year 671 (83 B.C.), by Sulla and continued five years later by the well-known orator and poet Q. Lutatius Catulus, but completed only about twenty years afterwards. Here, after the name of Catulus in the nominative and the indication of the single parts of the building (as, for example, substructionem et tabularium), follows the solemn formula de s(enati) s(ententia) faciundum coeravit eidemque probavit (C.I.L. i. 592 = vi. 1314; Orel. 31, 3267; Wil. 700). With the same formula the praetor Calpurnius Piso Frugi (of about the same period) dedicated an unknown building (C.I.L. i. 594 = vi. 1275), restored afterwards by Trajan. On a work executed by the collegium tribunorum plebis (C.I.L. i. 593 = vi. 1299; Wil. 787), perhaps the public streets within the town, the sum employed for it is also inscribed. Precisely similar is the oldest inscription of one of the bridges of Rome, the ponte dei quattro capi, still preserved, though partly restored, on its original site, which commemorates its builder, the tribune of the year 692 (62 B.C.), L. Fabricius (C.I.L. i. 600 = vi. 1305; Orel. 50; Wil. 788); it was restored by the consuls of the year 733 (21 B.C.). On privately erected buildings the founder after his name puts a simple fecit (as also on sepulchral inscriptions); so, possibly, did Pompey, when he dedicated his theatre as a temple of Venus Victrix and, on Cicero’s clever advice, as Varro and Tiro had it from Cicero himself, inscribed on it cos. tert (not tertium or tertio) (see Gellius, Noct. Att. x. 1). So Agrippa, when he dedicated his Pantheon in the year 727 (27 B.C.), inscribed on it only the words M. Agrippa, L. f. cos. tertium fecit (C.I.L. vi. 896; Orel. 34; Wil. 731), as all who visit the Eternal City know. Of municipal examples it will be sufficient to name those of the majestic temple of Cora (C.I.L. i. 1149-1150; Wil. 722, 723), of Ferentinum, with the measurements of the foundation (C.I.L. i. 1161-1163; Wil. 708), of the walls and towers at Aeclanum (C.I.L. i. 1230; Orel. 566; Henz. 6583; Wil. 699), of the theatre, amphitheatre, baths and other structures at Pompeii (C.I.L. i. 1246, 1247, 1251, 1252; Orel. 2416, 3294; Henz. 6153; Will. 730, 1899-1901). At Aletrium a munificent citizen gives an enumeration of a number of works executed by him in the period of the Gracchi, in his native town (“haec quae infera scripta sunt de senatu sententia facienda coiravit,” C.I.L. i. 1166; Orel. 3892; Wil. 706); and, more than a century later, the same is done at Cartima, a small Spanish town near Malaga, by a rich woman (C.I.L. ii. 1956; Wil. 746). Military works, executed by soldiers, especially frequent in the Danubian provinces, Africa, Germany and Britain, give, in this way, manifold and circumstantial information as to the military administration of the Romans. On a column found near the bridge over the Minho at Aquae Flaviae, the modern Chaves in northern Portugal, ten communities inscribed their names, probably as contributors to the work, with those of the emperors (Vespasian and his sons), the imperial legate of the province, the legate of the legion stationed in Spain, the imperial procurator, and the name of the legion itself (C.I.L. ii. 2477; Wil. 803); and similarly, with the name of Trajan, on the famous bridge over the Tagus at Alcántara, in Spanish Estremadura, the names of the municipia provinciae Lusitaniae stipe conlata quae opus pontis perfecerunt are inscribed (C.I.L. ii. 759-762; Orel. 161, 162; Wil. 804).
As in some of the already-mentioned inscriptions of public works the measurements of the work to which they refer (especially, as may be supposed, in the case of works of great extent, such as walls of towns or lines of fortification, like the walls of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius in Britain) are indicated, so it early became a custom in the Roman republic to note on milestones the name of the founder of the road and, especially at the extremities of it and near large towns, the distances. So in the val di Diana in Lucania P. Popillius Laenas, the consul of the year 622 (132 B.C.), at the end of a road built by him, set up the miliarium Popilianum (C.I.L. i. 551; Orel. 3308; Wil. 797), which is a general elogium to himself, in which he speaks in the first person (viam fecei ab Regio ad Capuam, &c.). One of the single miliaria set up by him is also preserved (C.I.L. i. 550; Henz. 7174 d; Wil. 808), which contains only his name and the number of miles. In the same brief style are conceived the other not very frequent republican miliaria found in Italy (C.I.L. i. 535-537; Henz. 5348; Wil. 567; C.I.L. i. 540; Henz. 5350, 6226; Wil. 807; C.I.L. i. 558, 559; Henz. 5353; Wil. 808; C.I.L. i. 561; Henz. 5180; Wil. 811; C.I.L. i. 633; Wil. 812) down to the time of Augustus (C.I.L. x. 6895, 6897, 6899; Wil. 813), and also the even more rare specimens from the provinces (from Asia—C.I.L. i. 557 = iii. 479, Wil. 826, C.I.L. i. 622 = iii. 462, Wil. 827; from Spain—C.I.L. i. 1484-1486 = ii. 4920-4925, 4956, Wil. 828, 829). Augustus inscribed on each milestone on his road across Spain “a Baete et Jano Augusto ad Oceanum” (e.g. C.I.L. ii. 4701; Wil. 832), Claudius on those of a road in Upper Italy founded by his father Drusus “viam Claudiam Augustam quam Drusus pater Alpibus bello patefactis derexserat munit ab Altino (or a flumine Pado) ad flumen Danuvium” (C.I.L. v. 8002, 8003; Orel. 648, 708; Henz, 5400; Wil. 818). The later milestones vary greatly in form, but all contain most precious materials for ancient geography and topography; in the volumes of the Corpus they are taken together under the special head viae publicae (and here and there privatae) at the end of each chapter.
A similar character, resulting from the combination of a mere authentic record with the peculiar form of the honorary inscription, belongs to the kindred classes of inscriptions of the aqueducts and of the different boundary-stones. The large dedicatory inscriptions of the celebrated aqueducts of Rome (as the Aquae Marcia, Tepula and Julia, C.I.L. vi. 1244-1246, Orel. 51-53, Wil. 765; the Virgo, C.I.L. vi. 1252, Orel. 703, Wil. 763; the Claudia, &c., C.I.L. vi. 1256-1258. Orel. 54-56, Wil. 764) have quite the character of honorary inscriptions, while the various cippi terminales, which mark the ground belonging to the aqueduct, show the greatest analogy to the milestones (e.g. C.I.L. vi. 1243 a-g; Henz. 6635, 6636; Wil. 775-779). The other Italian and provincial varieties cannot be specified here. Of boundary-stones, or cippi terminales, some very ancient specimens have been preserved. To the age preceding the Second Punic War belong two, found at Venusia and erected by municipal magistrates (C.I.L. i. 185, 186; Orel. 3527, 3528; Wil. 863); they give a short relation of a decree, by which certain localities were declared to be sacred or public (“aut sacrom aut poublicom locom ese”). Then follow the cippi Gracchani, by which Gaius Gracchus and his two colleagues, as tres viri agris iudicandis adsignandis, measured the ager Campanus, for its division among the plebs. They contain the names of the tres viri in the nominative, and in addition, on the top, the lines and angles of the cardo and decumanus, according to the rules of the agrimensores, or the boundary lines between the ager publicus and privatus (C.I.L. i. 552-556; Henz. 6464; Wil. 859-861). From the age of Sulla we still have various boundary-stones giving the line of demarcation between different communities (between Fanum and Pisaurum—C.I.L. i. 583, Orel. 570, Wil. 861; between Ateste, Vicetia and Patavium—C.I.L. i. 547-549, Orel. 3110, Henz. 5114, 5115, Wil. 865, 866). To the town of Rome belong the termini ripae Tiberis (C.I.L. i. 608-614 = vi. 1234 a-l), beginning in the Augustan age, and the termini of the pomoerium of Claudius and Vespasian as censors, and of the collegium augurum under Hadrian (C.I.L. vi. 1231-1233; Orel. 710, 811; Wil. 843, 844), while others, of the consuls of the year A.D. 4 (C.I.L. vi. 1263; Orel. 3260; Wil. 856), of Augustus (C.I.L. vi. 1265; Henz. 6455; Wil. 852), &c., show the boundary between the ager publicus and privatus. With similar objects boundary-stones were erected by the emperors, or, under their authority, by magistrates, mostly military, in the rest of Italy also (as in Capua—C.I.L. x. 3825, Orel. 3683, Wil. 858; at Pompeii—C.I.L. x. 1018, Wil. 864) and in the provinces (as in Syria—C.I.L. iii. 183; and Macedonia—C.I.L. iii. 594; in Dalmatia—C.I.L. iii. 2883; in Africa— C.I.L. viii. 7084-7090, 8211, 8268, 10,803, 10,838, Wil. 869, 870; in Spain—C.I.L. ii. 2349, 2916, Wil. 871—where the pratum of a legion is divided from the territory of a municipium; in Gaul—Wil. 867; in Germany, in the column found at Miltenberg on the Main, Bonner Jahrbücher, vol. lxiv., 1878, p. 46, &c.). Private grounds (pedaturae) were unfrequently marked off by terminal cippi. To this class of tituli must be added also the curious inscriptions incised upon the steps of Roman circuses, theatres and amphitheatres (see Hübner, Annali dell’ Instituto archeologico, vol. xxviii., 1856, p. 52 sq., and vol. xxxi., 1859, p. 122 sq.), as, for instance, upon those of the Coliseo at Rome (C.I.L. vi., 1796, 1-37; compare R. Lanciani, Bullettino archeologico municipale, 1881).
4. We now come to the last class of tituli, viz. those which in the Corpus are arranged, at the end of each volume, under the head of Instrumentum. By this very comprehensive term are designated objects which vary greatly among themselves, but which are of such a character as not to fall within any of the classes of tituli described before, or the class of the instrumenta in the proper sense of that word,—the laws, &c. The tituli of the instrumentum embrace movable objects, destined for public and private use, and illustrate almost every side of the life of the ancient Romans. As systematic treatment of them is hardly possible, a simple enumeration only of their different classes can be given, without citing special examples. The first species of them is metrological, comprehending the inscriptions on measures and weights. The gold and silver plate used in the best Roman houses was also always marked with a note of its weight,—as is seen, for instance, on the different objects belonging to the Hildesheim find (see Hermes, iii., 1868, p. 469 sq.; Philologus, xxviii., 1869, p. 369), the Corbridge lanx in Northumberland House (C.I.L. vii. 1268) and many others. A second species is formed by the tesserae, tokens or marks, mostly in bronze, bone and ivory, but also earthen, of which the most interesting are the so-called tesserae gladiatoriae, little staves of bone with holes at the top, and with names of slaves or freedmen and consular dates upon them, the relation of which to the munera gladiatoria is by no means certain (see C.I.L. i. 717 sq., and Hermes, xxi. p. 266; Rhein. Mus. xli. p. 517; xlii. p. 122; Berl. phil. Woch., 1888, p. 24). The other circular tesserae (the so-called tesserae theatrales) of ivory or bone, with emblems and short inscriptions, partly Greek and Latin, used to be attributed to the ludi scaenici (see Henzen, Annali dell’ Instituto archeologico, vol. xx., 1848, p. 273 sq., and vol. xxii., 1850, p. 357 sq.) and to other ludi; but this account has been questioned (Huelsen, Bullett. dell’ Instituto, 1896, p. 227). A third species is that of inscriptions carved, inscribed, painted or stamped upon various materials, raw or manufactured, for trade or household use. Such are, to begin with, the most solid and heavy, the inscriptions carved or painted on masses of stone, mostly columns, in the quarries, and preserved either on the rocks themselves in the quarries or on the roughly hewn blocks transported to the Roman emporium on the Tiber bank. Curious specimens of the first kind are preserved in Lebanon, and in the north of England, near Hadrian’s Wall and elsewhere; on the second may be consulted a learned treatise by Padre L. Bruzza (“Iscrizioni dei marmi grezzi,” in the Annali dell’ Instituto archeologico, vol. xlii., 1870, pp. 106-204). Of a kindred character are the inscriptions, mostly stamped or engraved in the mould, of pigs of silver, bronze and lead (and pewter), found in the Roman mines in Spain and England (see Hübner, “Römische Bleigruben in Britannien,” in Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, vol. xi., 1857, p. 347 sq., and C.I.L. vii. 220 sq.; A. Way, Archaeological Journal, vol. xvi., 1859, p. 23, and vol. xxiii., 1866, p. 63). A fourth species of tituli of this class is strictly related to the military institutions of the Roman empire. Many of the weapons are marked with the names of the bearer and of the military corps to which he belonged,—so, for example, the buckles of their shields (see Hübner, “Römische Schildbuckel,” in Archäologisch-epigraphische Mitteilungen aus Österreich, vol. ii., 1878, p. 105 sq.; by far the best extant specimen is the umbo of a legionary soldier of the eighth legion found in the Tyne near South Shields, C.I.L. vii. 495), and sometimes the swords, as that of Tiberius from Mainz (now in the British Museum, see Bonner Winckelmannsprogramm of 1848). The leaden glandes used by the funditores, the slingers, in the Roman army bear curious historical inscriptions (see C.I.L. i. 642 sq., Ephem. epigr. vi. and, on the question of the authenticity of many of them, Zangemeister, C.I.L. ix., 35* sqq.). Special mention must be made also of the leaden seals or marks (bullae), evidently of military origin (perhaps to be borne by the soldiers as a countersign), which have been found in many parts of England (C.I.L. vii. 1269; Ephem. epigr. iii. 144, 318, iv. 209, vii. 346). Of the highest interest are the manifold productions of the Roman tile and brick kilns (C.I.L. xv. Inscriptiones laterum; cf. Descemet in the Bibliothèque des écoles françaises, vol. xv.). Next to the tiles with consular dates made at Veleia (C.I.L. i. 777 sqq.), those signed with the name of legions or other military corps, and employed in the various military buildings of these, are especially worthy of mention; they form an important chapter in every geographical part of the Corpus. But private persons, too, especially the rich landed proprietors, and afterwards the emperors and their kinsmen, kept large figulinae, and their manufactures—tiles of every description and other earthenware—were spread over the Roman empire (Dressel, Untersuchungen über die Chronologie der Ziegelstempel der Gens Domitia, 1888; C.I.L. xv.). The different sorts of earthen vessels and lamps, the fragments of which are found in great quantities wherever Roman settlements occurred, are arranged at the end of each volume of the Corpus and are collected in vol. xv part ii. p. i. On the maker’s marks on earthenware, see Habert, La Poterie antique parlanté (1893); Dragendorf, “Terra Sigillata,” in Bonn. Jahrbüch. xcvi. 18. On Roman lamps and their inscriptions the accurate catalogue of the Vienna collection by Kenner (“Dicantiken Thonlampen des K. K. Münz- und Antiken-Cabinetes und der K. K. Ambraser Sammlung,” in the Archiv für Kunde österreichischer Geschichtsquellen, vol. xx., Vienna, 1858) may be consulted with advantage. The chief deposit of earthenware fragments, the Monte testaccio in Rome, has been explored by Dressel (“Ricerche sul Monte testaccio,” in the Annali dell’ Instituto archeologico, vol. i., 1878, p. 118-192). Inscriptions are found on various classes of vessels, painted (as the consular dates on the large dolia for wine, oil, &c., see Schöne, C.I.L. iv. 171 sq., and Ephem. epigr. i. 160 sq.), stamped on the clay when still wet or in the mould, and scratched in the clay when dry, like those on the walls of ancient buildings in Pompeii, Rome and other places of antiquity. Like the corresponding Greek ware, they contain chiefly names of the makers or the merchants or the owners, and can be treated in a satisfactory manner only when brought together in one large collection (C.I.L. xv. part ii.), inasmuch as, besides being made in many local potteries, they were exported principally from some places in Italy (e.g. Arezzo) and Spain, in nearly every direction throughout northern and western Europe, the countries outside the Roman frontiers not excluded. Vessels and utensils of glass and of metal (gold, silver and especially bronze) were also exported from Italy on a large scale, as is being more and more readily recognized even by those antiquaries who formerly were wont to assume a local origin for all bronze finds made in the north of Europe. These utensils, ornaments and other objects made of precious metals (such as cups, spoons, mirrors, fibulae, rings, gems), not unfrequently bear Latin inscriptions. On the very ancient silver and bronze caskets, for holding valuable articles of the female toilet, which have been found at Praeneste, are inscribed, in addition to the names of the artist and of the donor, occurring once, the names of the persons in the mythical representations engraved upon them (C.I.L. i. 54-60, 1500, 1501; Jordan, Kritische Beiträge zur Geschichte der lateinischen Sprache, Berlin, 1879, p. 3 sq.). In the ancient well of the Aquae Apollinares, near Vicarello in Tuscany, three silver cups have been found with circumstantial itineraries “a Gades (sic) usque Romam” engraved upon them, evidently gifts to the divinity of the bath for recovered health presented by travellers from the remote city named (Henzen 5210). Similar is the Rudge Cup, found in Wiltshire and preserved at Alnwick Castle, which contains, engraved in bronze, an itinerary along some Roman stations in the north of England (C.I.L. vii. 1291). The inscriptions of the Hildesheim silver find and others of a similar character have been already mentioned; and many examples might be enumerated besides. On the ancient glass ware and the inscriptions on it the splendid works of Deville (Histoire de l’art de la verrerie dans l’antiquité, Paris, 1873) and Froehner (La Verrerie antique, description de la collection Charvet, Paris, 1879) may be consulted; on the Christian glasses that of Garrucci (Vetri ornati di figure in oro trovati nei cimiteri dei cristiani primitivi di Roma, Rome, 1858); on the makers’ marks on bronze objects, Mowat, Marques de bronziers sur objets trouvés ou rapportés en France (1884) (extracted from Bulletin épigraphique, 1883-1884). The last species of tituli is formed by the stamps themselves with which the inscriptions on many of the objects already named are produced. They are mostly of bronze, and contain names; but it is not easy to say what sort of objects were marked with them, as scarcely any article stamped with a still existing stamp has been found. Amongst the materials stamped leather also is to be mentioned. One class only of stamps differs widely from the rest,—the oculists’ stamps, engraved mostly on steatite (or similar stones), and containing remedies against diseases of the eyes, to be stamped on the glass bowls in which such remedies were sold, or on the medicaments themselves (see Grotefend, Die Stempel der römischen Augenärzte gesammelt und erklärt (Göttingen, 1867); de Villefosse and Thédenat, Cachets d’oculistes romains (1882); Espérandieu, Recueil des cachets d’oculistes romains (1894).
IV. The other great class of inscriptions above referred to, the instrumenta or leges, the laws, deeds, &c., preserved generally on metal and stone, from the nature of the case have to be considered chiefly with regard to their contents; their form is not regulated by such constant rules as that of the tituli, so far as may be inferred from the state of completeness in which they have been preserved. The rules for each special class therefore, though, generally speaking, maintained—as was to be expected of Roman institutions—with remarkable steadiness from the earliest times down to a late period, must be based upon a comprehensive view of all the examples, including those preserved by ancient writers, and not in the monumental form. These documents are, as a rule, incised on bronze plates (only some private acts are preserved on wood and lead), and therefore have their peculiar form of writing, abbreviation, interpunction, &c., as has been already explained. The older Roman laws are now collected, in trustworthy texts, in the Corpus, vol. i.; of the documents belonging to the later period a very comprehensive sylloge is given in C. G. Bruns’s Fontes juris Romani antiqui.
1. Among the earliest occasions for committing to writing agreements, which may be supposed to have been originally verbal only, must certainly be reckoned international transactions (leges foederis or foedera). At the head of the prose records written in the Latin language we find the treaties of alliance of Tullus Hostilius with the Sabini (Dionysius Halic. iii. 33), of Servius Tullius with the Latini (Dionysius iv. 26; Festus p. 169; this was, partly, at the same time, as will afterwards appear, the oldest document of the sacred class), of the second Tarquinius with Gabii (Dionysius iv. 58; Festus, Epit. p. 56). They are followed, in the oldest republican period, by the celebrated foedera with Carthage; by the pacts of Sp. Cassius Vecellinus with the Latini of the year 261 (493 B.C.), which Cicero seems to have seen still in the forum behind the rostra, written on a bronze column (Pro Balbo, 23, 53; see also Livy ii. 33; Festus p. 166; and Mommsen’s Römische Forschungen, ii. 153 sq.); and by the foedus Ardeatinum of 310 (444 B.C.) mentioned by Livy (iv. 7). Of all these documents nothing has been preserved in an authentic form, save some few words quoted from them by the ancient grammarians. Of one foedus only is there a fragment still in existence, relating to the Oscan civitas libera Bantia (C.I.L. i. 197); it contains the clausula of the foedus, which was written in Latin and in Oscan (see Apulia). On account of this peculiar circumstance, the document gave occasion to Klenze, and afterwards to Mommsen, to resume (for the sake of Roman jurisprudence, in the first instance) inquiry into the Oscan and other Italian dialects. Some other Roman foedera are preserved only in Greek, e.g. that with the Jews of the year 594 (160 B.C.) (Josephus, Ant. xii. 6. 10). Some others, made with the same nation between 610 and 615 (144 and 139 B.C.) (Jos. Ant. xiii. 5. 6 and 7. 8), are mentioned in an abridged form only, or given in that of a senatus consultum, to which they must formally be ascribed. Amongst the foedera may be reckoned also the curious oath, sworn, perhaps, according to a general rule obtaining for all civitates foederatae, by the citizens of a Lusitanian oppidum, Aritium, to Gaius Caesar on his accession to the throne in A.D. 37 (C.I.L. ii. 172; Wil. 2839).
Closely related to the foedera are the pacts between communities and private individuals, respecting patronatus or hospitium (tabulae patronatus et hospitii), also, when in small portable form, tesserae hospitales; cf. Plautus, Poen. 1047, of which many specimens from the end of the republic down to a late period of the empire have been preserved (see Gazzera, Memorie dell’ Academia di Torino, vol. xxxv., 1831, p. 1 sq., and Mommsen, Römische Forschungen, i. 341 sq.). Of the numerous examples scattered through the different volumes of the Corpus may be quoted the tessera Fundana, containing the pact of hospitality between the community of Fundi and a certain Ti. Claudius (who cannot, with certainty, be identified), the oldest hitherto known, in the form of a bronze fish (C.I.L. i. 532; Henz. 7000; Wil. 2849); the tabula of the pagus Gurzensium in Africa, delivering the patronate to L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Nero’s grandfather, in 742 (12 B.C.), in the afterwards solemn form of a tabella fastigata, to be fixed in the atrium of the person honoured (Orel. 3693; Wil. 2850); that of the civitas Pallantina with a peregrinus named Acces Licirni of the year 752 (2 B.C.) (Ephem. epigr. i. 141; Hermes, v., 1871, p. 371 seq.); that of Lacilbula, in Spain, with one Q. Marius Balbus, of A.D. 5 (C.I.L. ii. 1393); that of the Bocchoritani on the island of Majorca, of A.D. 6 (C.I.L. ii. 3695; Wil. 2851); the four relating to C. Silius Aviola, dating from A.D. 27 to 28, all found at Brescia (C.I.L. v. 4919-4922); that of the colonia Julia Aug. legionis vii. Tupusuctu, in Africa, with the imperial legate Q. Julius Secundus, of A.D. 55 (C.I.L. viii. 8837; Wil. 2851); that of two gentilitates, the Desonci and Tridiavi, of the gens of the Zoelae, in Spain, now in the museum of Berlin, which contains an older act of the year 27, and another more recent of the year A.D. 127 (C.I.L. ii. 2633; Orel. 156); that of the respublica Pompelonensis (Pampeluna in Spain) of A.D. 185 (C.I.L. ii. 2960; Wil. 2854); that of the Segisamonenses, in Spain, of A.D. 239, now in the museum at Burgos (Ephem. epigr. ii. 322); that of the fabri subidiani (i.e. subaediani, qui sub aede consistunt) of Cordova, of A.D. 348 (C.I.L. ii. 2211; Wil. 2861); and, in addition to many others, those found together at Rome, on the site of the palace of Q. Aradius Valerius Proculus, and belonging to him and other members of his family, from divers African cities and executed in A.D. 321 and 322 (C.I.L. vi. 1684-1688; Orel. 1079, 3058).
2. Hardly inferior in antiquity, and of superior value, are the remains of laws in the stricter sense of the word (leges and plebiscita), preserved to us in the originals, although unfortunately only in fragments more or less extensive. Of those laws the oldest and most important are the lex Acilia (for so it is in all probability to be styled) repetundarum of the year 631 (C.I.L. i. 198), which is incised on a bronze table about 2 metres broad, in 90 lines of about 200 to 240 letters each, and therefore extremely inconvenient to read, and the lex agraria of 643 (111 B.C.), written on the reverse of the table of the Acilia, abrogated shortly afterwards (C.I.L. i. 200); this is the third of the celebrated laws of C. Gracchus bearing upon the division of public lands. Then follow the lex Cornelia de viginti quaestoribus, a fragment of Sulla’s legislation, the eighth table only, of the whole set, being preserved (C.I.L. i. 202); the plebiscitum de Thermensibus, on the autonomy of Termessus in Pisidia, proposed by the tribuni plebis, in 682 (72 B.C.), one of four or five large bronze plates (C.I.L. i. 204); the lex Rubria de civitate Galliae cisalpinae of 705 (49 B.C.), written in a new and more convenient form (belonging as it does to Caesar’s legislation), in two columns, with numbered divisions, being the fourth out of an unknown number of plates (C.I.L. i. 205); the lex Julia municipalis, or, from the place where it was found, the tabulae Heracleenses of 709 (45 B.C.), written on the reverse of the much older Greek law of that community, preserved partly at Naples, partly in the British Museum (C.I.L. i. 206), also a fragment of Caesar’s general municipal institutions; it contains a curious passage relating to the public promulgation of laws (v. 15). These are the laws of the Roman republic preserved in important fragments; some minor ones (brought together in C.I.L. i. 207-211) may be left out of account here. In the imperial age, laws in general were replaced by senatus consulta or by imperial decrees. It was also in the form of a senatus consultum that the leges de imperio, on the accession of the emperors, seem to have been promulgated. An example of such a law, preserved in part on a bronze tablet found at Rome, is the lex de imperio Vespasiani (C.I.L. vi. 930; Orel. i. 567). There is, besides, one special category of imperial constitutions which continued to be named leges, viz. the constitutions given by the emperors to the divers classes of civitates, based upon the ancient traditional rules of government applied to Rome itself as well as to the coloniae and municipia. Of this sort of leges some very valuable specimens have come from Spanish soil, viz. the lex coloniae Juliae Genetivae Urbanorum sive Ursonis (now Osuna), given to that colony by Caesar in 710 (44 B.C.), but incised, with some alterations, in the time of Vespasian, of which three bronze tables out of a much larger number remain (Hübner and Mommsen, Ephem. epigr. ii. 150 sq. and 221 sq.); the lex Salpensana and the lex Malacitana, given to these two municipia by Domitian, between A.D. 81 and 84, each on a large bronze plate, written respectively in two and in five columns, with the single chapters numbered and rubricated (C.I.L. ii. 1963, 1964; compare Mommsen, “Die Stadtrechte der lateinischen Gemeinden Salpensa und Malacca in der Provinz Baetica,” in the Abhandlungen der sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, philol.-histor. Classe, vol. iii., 1857, p. 363 sq.); the lex metalli Vipascensis, given, with all probability, by one of the three Flavii, as a constitution to a mining district of southern Portugal, one bronze plate numbered iii.—three or more, therefore, being lost (see Hübner, Ephem. epigr. iii. 165 sq. and, for a popular account, the Deutsche Rundschau, August 1877, p. 196 sq.). The so-called military diplomas, although in certain respects nearly related to the leges of the later period, are better placed along with the imperial decrees.
3. A third species of official documents is formed by decrees of the senate of Rome, of the analogous corporations in the coloniae and municipia, and of the divers collegia and sodalicia, constituted, as a rule, after a similar fashion and debating in nearly the same way as the Roman and the municipal senates. The oldest Roman senatus consulta are those translated into the Greek language and containing treaties of alliance, as already mentioned. They are preserved either on monuments or by ancient authors, as Josephus: e.g. the fragment found at Delphi, from the year 568 (186 B.C.), and the senatus consultum Thisbaeum, from Thisbe in Boeotia, 584 (170 B.C.) (Ephem. epigr. i. 278 sq., ii. 102, and Joh. Schmidt, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung, vol. iii., 1881), those of 616, 619, 621, 649 (138-105 B.C.) (C. I. Graec. 2905, 2908, ii. 2485, 2737; Le Bas and Waddington iii. 195-198; Annali dell’ Instituto, vol. xix. 1847, p. 113; Ephem. epigr. iv. 213 sq.), and those relating to the Jews, dating from 615, 621 and 710 (139, 133 and 44 B.C.) (Josephus, Ant. xiii. 9. 2, xiv. 8. 5 and 10. 9). The two oldest senatus consulta written in Latin are also preserved in a more or less complete form only by ancient authors; they are the sc. de philosophis et rhetoribus of 593 (161 B.C.) (Gellius, Noct. Att. xv. 11. 1) and that de hastis Martiis of 655 (99 B.C.) (Gellius iv. 6. 2). The only one belonging to the oldest period preserved in the original Latin form, of which only a part exists, together with the Greek translation, is the sc. Lutatianum, relating to Asclepiades of Clazomenae and his companions, dating from 676 (77 B.C.) (C.I.L. i. 203). The rest, belonging to the later epoch from Cicero downwards, about twenty in number, are mostly preserved only in an abridged form by ancient writers,—such as Cicero, Frontinus, Macrobius,—or in Justinian’s Digesta (see Hübner, De senatus populique Romani actis, Leipzig, 1859, p. 66 sq.); a few exist, however, in a monumental form, complete or in fragments—as the two sc. on the ludi saeculares, dating from 17 B.C. and A.D. 47, preserved on a marble slab found at Rome (C.I.L. vi. 877); the fragments of two sc. in honour of Germanicus and the younger Drusus, from Rome, on bronze tablets (C.I.L. vi. 911-912; Henz. 5381-5282); the two sc. Hosidianum and Volusianum, containing regulations for the demolition and rebuilding of houses in Rome, incised on the same bronze plate, found at Herculaneum, dating from Nero’s time, between A.D. 41 and 46 and from 56 (Orel. 3115; Mommsen, Berichte der sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, philol.-histor. Classe, 1852, p. 272 sq.); and, of a later period, the sc. Cassianum or Nonianum of A.D. 138, containing a market regulation for the saltus Beguensis in Africa, where it has been found preserved in two examples on stone slabs (Ephem. epigr. ii. 271 sq., not complete in Wil. 2838), and the fragment of that for Cyzicus, belonging to the reign of Antoninus Pius (Ephem. epigr. iii. 156 sq.). There exists, besides, a chapter of a sc., relating to the collegia, inserted in the decree of a collegium at Lanuvium, to be mentioned below. Of the municipal decrees, of which a greater number is preserved (see Hübner, De sen. populique Rom. actis, p. 71 sq.), only a few of the more important may be mentioned here: the lex Puteolana de parieti faciundo of 649 (105 B.C.) (C.I.L. i. 577; Orel. 3697; Wil. 697); the two decreta (or so-called cenotaphia) Pisana in honour of Lucius and Gaius Caesar, the grandsons of Augustus, of A.D. 3 (C.I.L. xi. 1420, 1421; Orel. 642, 643; Wil. 883); the decretum Lanuvinum of A.D. 133, containing the regulations of a collegium funeraticium, styled collegium salutare Dianae et Antinoi (Orel. 6086; Wil. 319); and the decretum Tergestinum, belonging to the time of Antoninus Pius (C.I.L. v. 532; Henz. 7167; Wil. 693). There are, however, more than thirty others preserved, some of them, such as those from Naples, written in the Greek language. Of the third speciality, the decreta collegiorum, only the lex collegii aquae of the 1st century (Marini, Atti de’ fratelli arvali, p. 70; Rudorff and Mommsen, Zeitschrift für Rechtsgeschichte, vol. xv., 1850, pp. 203, 345 sq.), and the lex collegii Aesculapii et Hygiae, of 153 (C.I.L. vi. 10,234; Orel. 2417; Wil. 320) need be mentioned here; many more exist. One of them, the lex collegii Jovis Cerneni, dating from A.D. 167, found at Alburnus major in Dacia, is preserved on the original tabella cerata on which it was written (C.I.L. iii. 924; Henz. 6087; Wil. 321).
4. The fourth species of instrumenta are the decrees, sometimes in the form of letters, of Roman and municipal magistrates, and of the emperors and their functionaries, incised, as a rule, on bronze tablets. The oldest decree in the Latin language which has been preserved is that of L. Aemilius Paulus, when praetor in Hispania Baetica, dating from 189 B.C., for the Turris Lascutana in southern Spain (C.I.L. ii. 5041; Wil. 2837); of the same date is a Greek one of Cn. Manlius, consul of the year 565, for the Heracleenses Cariae (Le Bas and Waddington n. 588). Then follow the famous epistula consulum (falsely styled senatus consultum) ad Teuranos de bacchanalibus, dated 568 (186 B.C.) (C.I.L. i. 196); the sentence of the two Minucii, the delegates of the senate, on a dispute concerning the boundaries between the Genuates and Viturii, 117 B.C. (C.I.L. i. 199; Orel. 3121; Wil. 872); and the epistula of the praetor L. Cornelius (perhaps Sisenna), the praetor of 676 (78 B.C.) ad Tiburtes (C.I.L. i. 201). These belong to the republican age. From the imperial period a great many more have come down to us of varying quality. Some of them are decrees or constitutions of the emperors themselves. Such are the decree of Augustus on the aqueduct of Venafrum (C.I.L. x. 4842; Henz. 6428; Wil. 784); that of Claudius, found in the Val di Nona, belonging to A.D. 46 (C.I.L. v. 5050; Wil. 2842); of Vespasian for Sabora in Spain (C.I.L. ii. 1423), and for the Vanacini in Corsica (Orel. 4031); of Domitian for Falerii (Orel. 3118); the epistles of Hadrian relating to Aezani in Phrygia, added to a Greek decree of Avidius Quietus (C.I.L. iii. 355; Henz. 6955), and relating to Smyrna, in Greek, with a short one of Antoninus Pius, in Latin (C.I.L. iii. 411; Orel. 3119); the decrees of Commodus relating to the saltus Burunitanus in Africa (C.I.L. viii. 10,570; cf. Eph. epigr. v. 471); of Severus and Caracalla for Tyra (Akkerman in Moesia), Latin and Greek (C.I.L. iii. 781; Henz. 6429); of Valerian and Gallienus for Smyrna, also Latin and Greek (C.I.L. iii. 412); of Diocletian de pretiis rerum venalium, containing a long list of prices for all kinds of merchandise, preserved in divers copies more or less complete, in Latin and Greek (C.I.L. iii. 801 sq.; compare Ephem. epigr. iv. 180, and, as similar monuments, the lex portus of Cirta, of A.D. 202 Wil. 2738, and the fragment of a regulation for the importation of wines into Rome, Henz. 5089, Wil. 2739); and some of the age of Constantine, as that relating to Hispellum in Umbria (Henz. 5580; Wil. 2843), that of Julian found at Amorgos (C.I.L. iii. 459; Henz. 6431), and some others, of which copies exist also in the juridical collections. Of two imperial rescripts of a still later age A.D. 413, fragments of the originals, written on papyri, have been found in Egypt (see Mommsen and Jaffé, Jahrbüch des gemeinen deutschen Rechts, vol. vi., 1861, p. 398; Hänel, Corpus legum, p. 281). Imperial decrees, granting divers privileges to soldiers, are the diplomata militaria also, mentioned above, incised on two combined bronze tablets in the form of diptycha (L. Renier, “Recueil de diplômes militaires”; C.I.L. iii. 842 sqq., 1955 sqq.; Wil. 2862-2869), belonging to nearly all emperors from Claudius down to Diocletian. Though not a decree, yet as a publication going back directly to the emperor, and as being preserved in the monumental form, the speech of the emperor Claudius, delivered in the senate, relating to the Roman citizenship of the Gauls, of which Tacitus gives an abstract (Ann. xi. 23), ought also to be mentioned here; it was engraved on large bronze slabs by the public authority of Lugudunum (Lyons), where a large fragment of it is still preserved (Boissieu, Inscriptions antiques de Lyon, p. 132 sq.). Another sort of decrees, relating to a great variety of subjects, has to be mentioned, emanating, not directly from the emperors, but from their functionaries. Such are the decree of the proconsul L. Helvius Agrippa, of the year A.D. 68, on the boundaries of some tribes on the island of Sardinia (C.I.L. x. 7852; Wil. 872 a); that of the prefect of Egypt, Tiberius Julius Alexander, written in Greek, the same year (C. I. Graec. 4957); that of C. Helvidius Priscus, on a similar question relating to Histonium, belonging perhaps to the end of the 1st century (Wil. 873); that of the legate of Trajan, C. Avidius Nigrinus, found at Delphi, in Greek and Latin (C.I.L. iii. 567; Orel. 3671; Wil. 874); a rescript of Claudius Quartinus, perhaps the imperial legate of the Tarraconensis, of the year A.D. 119, found at Pampluna (C.I.L. ii. 2959; Orel. 4032); the epistle of the praefecti praetorio to the magistrates of Saepinum, of about A.D. 166-169 (C.I.L. ix. 2438; Wil. 2841); the decree of L. Novius Rufus, another legate of the Tarraconensis, who ex tilia recitavit, of A.D. 193 (C.I.L. ii. 4125; Orel. 897; Wil. 876); the sentence of Alfenius Senecio, then subprefect of the classis praetoria Misenensis, belonging to the beginning of the 3rd century, formerly existing at Naples (C.I.L. x. 3334); and some others of the 4th and 5th centuries, not requiring specific mention here. Quite a collection of epistles of high Roman functionaries is found in the celebrated inscription of Thorigny (Mommsen, Berichte der sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 1852, p. 235 sq.). The letter of a provincial functionary, a priest of Gallia Narbonensis, to the fabri subaediani of Narbonne, of the year 149, may also be mentioned (Henz. 7215; Wil. 696 a). To these must be added the tabulae alimentariae, relating to the well-known provision made by Trajan for the relief of distress among his subjects, such as that of the Ligures Baebiani (C.I.L. ix. 1455; Wil. 2844) and that of Veleia near Parma (Wil. 2845); while evidence of similar institutions is furnished by inscriptions at Tarracina, at Sicca in Africa, and at Hispalis in Spain (Wil. 2846-2848; C.I.L. ii. 1174). At the close of this long list of official documents may be mentioned the libellus of the procurator operum publicorum a columna divi Marci of the year 193 (C.I.L. vi. 1585; Orel. 39; Wil. 2840) and the interlocutiones of the praefecti vigilum on a lawsuit of the fullones of Rome, of A.D. 244, inscribed on an altar of Hercules (C.I.L. vi. 266; Wil. 100). These documents form a most instructive class of instrumenta.
5. Many documents, as may be supposed, were connected with religious worship, public and private. The oldest lex templi, which continued in force until a comparatively late period, was the regulation given by Servius Tullius to the temple of Diana on the Aventine, after the conclusion of the federal pact with the Latini, noticed above. Mention is made of this ancient law as still in force in two later documents of a similar character, viz. the dedication of an altar to Augustus by the plebs of Narbo in southern France, of A.D. 764, but existing only, at Narbonne, in a copy, made perhaps in the 2nd century (C.I.L. xii. 4333; Orel. 2489; Wil. 104), and that of an altar of Jupiter, dedicated at Salonae in Dalmatia in A.D. 137, still existing in part at Padua (C.I.L. iii. 1933; Orel. 2490; Wil. 163). Another lex fani still existing is that of a temple of Jupiter Liber at Furfo, a vicus of southern Italy, of the year 696 (58 B.C.), but copied, in vernacular language, from an older original (C.I.L. i. 603; Orel. 2488; Wil. 105; compare Jordan in Hermes, vol. vii., 1872, pp. 201 sq.). The lists of objects belonging to some sanctuaries or to the ornaments of statues are curious, such as those of the Diana Nemorensis at Nemi (Henz. Hermes, vol. vi., 1871, pp. 8 sq.), and of a statue of Isis in Spain (Hübner, Hermes, vol. i., 1866, pp. 345 sq.; compare C.I.L. ii. 2060, 3386, Orel. 2510, Wil. 210), and two synopses from a temple at Cirta in Africa (Wil. 2736, 2737). The sortes given by divinities may also be mentioned (see C.I.L. i. 267 sq.; Wil. 2822). To a temple also, though in itself of a secular character, belonged a monument of the highest historical importance, viz. the Index rerum a se gestarum, incised on bronze slabs, copies of which Augustus ordered to be placed, in Latin and Greek, where required, in the numerous Augustea erected to himself in company with the Dea Roma. This is known as the Monumentum Ancyranum, because it is at Angora in Asia Minor that the best preserved copy of it, in Greek and Latin, exists; but fragments remain of other copies from other localities (see C.I.L. iii. 779 sq., and the special editions of Mommsen, Berlin, 1865, and Bergk, Göttingen, 1873). Among the inscriptions relating to sacred buildings must also be reckoned the numerous fragments of Roman calendars, or fasti anni Juliani, found at Rome and other places, which have been arranged and fully explained by Mommsen (C.I.L. i., 2nd ed., part ii.; compare for those found in Rome, C.I.L. vi. 2294-2306). Local, provincial or municipal calendaria have likewise been found (as the feriale Cumanum, C.I.L. i. part ii. p. 229, and the Capuanum, C.I.L. x. 3792). Many other large monumental inscriptions bear some relation, more or less strict, to sacred or public buildings. Along with the official calendar exhibited on the walls of the residence of the pontifex maximus, the list of the eponymous magistrates, inscribed by the order of Augustus on large marble slabs, was publicly shown—the fasti consulares, the reconstruction and illustration of which formed the life-work of Borghesi. These have been collected, down to the death of Augustus, by Henzen, and compared with the additional written testimonies, by Mommsen, in the Corpus (vol. i., 2nd ed., part ii.), along with the acta triumphorum and other minor fragments of fasti found in various Italian communities, while the fasti sacerdotum publicorum populi Romani, together with the tabula feriarum Latinarum, are given in the volume devoted exclusively to the monuments of Rome (vol. vi. 441 sq.; compare Hermes, vol. v., 1870, p. 379, and Ephem. epigr. ii. 93, iii. 74, 205 sq.). Documents of the same kind, as, for example, the album ordinis Thamugadensis from Africa (C.I.L. viii. 2403, 17903), and a considerable mass of military lists (latercula, of which those belonging to the garrison of the metropolis are brought together in C.I.L. vi. 651 sq.), are given on many dedicatory and honorary monuments, chiefly from Lambaesis in Africa (C.I.L. viii.). As those documents, though having only a partial claim to be ranked with the sacred ones, derive, like many other dedicatory monuments, their origin and form from that class, so also the protocols (acta), which, from Augustus downwards, seem to have been preserved in the case of all important collegia magistratuum, now survive only from one of the largest and most distinguished collegia sacerdotum, in the acta collegii fratrum Arvalium, to which Marini first drew the attention of epigraphists; they form one of the most important masses of epigraphic monuments preserved to us in the Latin language (see C.I.L. vi. 459 sq., Ephem. epigr. ii. 211 sq., and Henzen’s Acta fratrum Arvalium, Berlin, 1874).
6. Another species of instruments is formed by private documents. They have been incidentally preserved (inserted, for instance, into sepulchral and honorary inscriptions), in the later period not unfrequently in monumental form, as the testaments, given partly or in full, mentioned above (viz. that of Dasumius and the Gaul, C.I.L. vi. 10229, Wil. 314, 315, and some capita testamentorum or codicilli, as that of M. Meconius Leo found at Poetelia—C.I.L. x. 113, 114; Orel. 3677, 3678; Wil. 696), and the donations, such as those of T. Flavius Syntrophus (C.I.L. vi. 10239; Wil. 313), of T. Flavius Artemidorus (Wil. 310), of Statia Irene and Julia Monime (C.I.L. vi. 10231, 10247; Wil. 311, 318). Of a peculiar description is the pactum fiduciae, found in Spain, engraved on a bronze tablet, and belonging, in all probability, to the 1st century (C.I.L. ii. 5042), which seems to be a formulary. Other documents relating to private affairs exist in their original form, written on tabellae ceratae. Those found together in a mining district of Dacia have been arranged and explained by Mommsen and Zangemeister (C.I.L. iii. 291 sq., with facsimiles); those found at Pompeii in 1875, containing receipts of the banker L. Caecilius Jucundus, have been published in C.I.L. iv. (suppl.). These documents are written in cursive letters; and so mostly, too, are some other curious private monuments, belonging partly to the sacred inscriptions—the defixiones (cf. Tac. Ann. ii. 69), imprecations directed against persons suspected of theft or other offences, who, according to a very ancient superstition, were in this way believed to be delivered to punishment through the god to whom the defixio was directed. The numerous Greek and Latin (and even Oscan) examples of this usage have been brought together by Audollent, Defixionum tabellae quotquot innotuerunt tam in Graecis Orientis quam in totius Occidentis partibus praeter Atticas (Paris, 1904); compare C.I.L. i. 818-820, C.I.L. vii. 140). Only a few of them are incised on stone (as that to the Dea Ataecina from Spain, C.I.L. ii. 462); for the most part they are written, in cursive letters, or in very debased capitals, on small bronze or lead tablets (so C.I.L. i. 818, 819; Henz. 6114, 6115; Wil. 2747, 2748), to be laid in the tombs of the “defixi,” or deposited in the sanctuaries of some divinity.
7. Many of the private documents just alluded to have not a monumental character similar to that of the other inscriptions in the wider sense of the word, as they are written on materials not very durable, such as wood and lead—in the majority of cases, in cursive characters; but, nevertheless, they cannot be classed as literature. As a last species, therefore, of instrumenta, there remain some documents, public and private, which similarly lack the strict monumental character, but still are to be reckoned among inscriptions. These are the inscriptions painted or scratched (graffiti) on the walls of the buildings of ancient towns, like Pompeii, where, as was to be expected, most of them have been preserved, those from other ancient cities buried by the eruptions of Vesuvius and from Rome being very small in number. All the various classes of these inscriptions—public and private advertisements, citations for the municipal elections, and private scribblings of the most diverse (and sometimes most indecent) character, one partly collected by Chr. Wordsworth (Inscriptiones Pompeianae, &c., London, 1837, 1846)—are now arranged by Zangemeister in the Corpus, vol. iv. with supplement (some specimens in Wil. 1951 sq.), whence their peculiar palaeographic and epigraphic rules may be learned. And, lastly, as related to some of these advertisements, though widely differing from them in age and character, may be mentioned the so-called diptycha consularia, monuments, in the first instance, of the still very respectable skill in this branch of sculpture to be found at this late period. They are carved-ivory tablets, in the form of pugillaria, and seem to have been invitations to the solemnities connected with the accession of high magistrates, especially to the spectacles of the circus and amphitheatre; for they contain, along with representations of such spectacles, the names, and often the portraits, of high functionaries, mostly of the 5th and 6th centuries. Since Gori’s well-known work on this class of monuments (Thesaurus veterum diptychorum, &c., 3 vols., Florence, 1759) no comprehensive collection of them has been published, but a full list is given by H. de Villefosse in the Gazette Archéologique of 1884; as specimens see C.I.L. ii. 2699, and v. 8120, 1–9.
Bibliography.—As a “Textbook” of Roman epigraphy R. Cagnat, Cours d’épigraphie latine (3rd ed., Paris, 1898, with supplement, 1904) can be heartily recommended. But students must be warned against Zell’s Handbuch der römischen Epigraphik (2 vols., Heidelberg, 1850–1852), an unsatisfactory work which is open to serious criticism. J. C. Egbert’s Introduction to the Study of Latin Inscriptions (1896) is designed for American and English students. For Christian inscriptions Le Blant’s Manuel d’épigraphie chrétienne d’après les marbres de la Gaule (Paris, 1869) may still be consulted with advantage. (E. Hü.; W. M. L.)
- See Winckler in Schrader’s Keilinschr. Bibl. v. (Berlin, &c., 1896).
- A nearly complete text has been made from these with the help of a squeeze taken before its destruction. See the handbooks mentioned below.
- Published with other fragments in the Jew. Quart. Review, xvi. 1.
- Zeitsch. f. Aegypt. Spr. (1879). These were the first specimens found. See also Erman and Krebs, Aus den Papyrus d. kgl. Mus. p. 290 (Berlin, 1899).
- Mittheilungen . . . Rainer, i. 38 (Wien, 1886).
- Those in France were collected by Schwab in Nouvelles archives, xii. 3. See also Chwolson, Corpus Inscr. Hebr. (St Petersburg, 1882).
- These have been collected by J. H. Stevenson, Babyl. and Assyr. Contracts (New York, 1902). A more complete collection has been prepared by Professor A. T. Clay.
- For the literature see Kalinka, Tituli Lyciae, No. 152 (Vienna, 1901).
- Répertoire d’épigr. sém., No. 438.
- So Bacher in J. Q. R. xix. 441.
- In Mém. Acad. inscr. 1re sér. xi. 297. See also Rép. d’épigr. sém., for some smaller fragments, Nos. 244-248.
- Sayce and Cowley, Aramaic Papyri (London, 1906).
- Sachau, “Drei aram. Papyrusurkunden” Abh. d. kgl. Preuss. Akad. (Berlin, 1907).
- See P.S.B.A. (1907), p. 260.
- See Lidzbarski, Ephemeris, ii. 247.
- J.Q.R. xvi. 7.
- ed. E. O. Winstedt (Cambr. 1909), p. 154.
- A view revived by C. Forster, even after Beer, in The Israelitish Authorship of the Sinaitic Inscriptions (London, 1856) and other works.
- The cross and other Christian symbols often found with the inscriptions have been added later by pilgrims.—C.I.S. ii. 1, p. 352.
- Reise in Syrien (Leipzig, 1883).
- Inscriptions sém. de la Syrie, &c. i. (Paris, 1907).
- J. H. Mordtmann, “Beitr. zur Minäischen Epigraphik,” in Semitistische Studien, 12 (Weimar, 1897).
- In Bent’s Sacred City of the Ethiopians (London, 1893).
- Revue sémitique (1901).
- Journ. As. x., xvii., xix.
- Zur Entzifferung d. Safā-Inschr. (Leipzig, 1901).
- It may be remarked that there are about twelve different views regarding the date of Kaṇishka and the origin of the Vikrama era. Some writers hold that Kaṇishka began to reign in A.D. 78: one writer would place his initial date about A.D. 123: others would place it in A.D. 278. The view maintained by the present writer was held at one time by Sir A. Cunningham; and, as some others have already begun to recognize, evidence is now steadily accumulating in support of the correctness of it.
- The legends on coins form part of numismatics, though closely connected with inscriptions.
- The amphorae which conveyed the wine and other products of various localities have imprinted on their handles the name of the magistrate and other marks of the place and date. Large collections have been made of them, and they repay inquiry. See Dumont, Inscriptions céramiques (1872); Paul Becker, Henkelinschriften (Leipzig, pt. i. 1862, pt. ii. 1863); Hiller v. Gaertringen, I.G. xii. 1065-1441.
- e.g. Treaty between Elis and the Heraeans, about 550-500 B.C., from Olympia (Boeckh, C.I.G. 11, Hicks, 29, and others in Dittenberger-Purgold, Inschr. v. Olympia, 1-43); a similar bronze treaty from the Locri Ozolae (Dittenberger, I.G. ix. 334); bronze plate from Dodona, recording the victory of Athens over the Lacedaemonians in a sea-fight, probably 429 B.C. (Dittenberger, Syll. 2. 30).
- See Wünsch I.G. iii., App.; Audollent, Defixionum Tabellae (1904).
- See Karapanos, Dodone et ses ruines; Hoffman, Gr. Dial. Inschr. 1558-1598.
- What was done by Themistocles under stress of public necessity (Thucyd. i. 93) was done by others with less justification elsewhere; and from Byzantine times onward Greek temples and inscriptions were found convenient quarries.
- It appears from Cicero, De Legibus, ii. 26, 27, that the size of Athenian gravestones was limited by law.
- An index to the four volumes was long wanting; it was at length completed and appeared in 1877.
- See E. Hübner, Über mechanische Copieen von Inschriften (Berlin, 1881).
- Compare De Rossi, Bullettino dell’ instituto archeologico (1871), p. 1 sq.
- His works have been published by the French government in several volumes 4to (Paris, 1862 sqq.).
- For other details of numerical notation, fractions, &c., see the manuals of metrology.
- On the system of Roman nomenclature and the abbreviations employed in it see Cagnat’s textbook, and for more detail Mommsen in Römische Forschungen, i. 1 seq., and in Hermes, iii. (1869), p. 70, W. Schulze, Zur Geschichte lateinischen Eigennamen (Berlin, 1904); on the cognomina (but only those occurring in ancient literature), Ellendt, De cognomine et agnomine Romano (Königsberg, 1853), and on the local cognomina of the Roman patriciate, Mommsen, Röm. Forsch, ii. 290 seq.; on the nomina gentilicia, Hübner (Ephem. epigr. ii. 25 seq.). The indexes to Orelli, Wilmanns, and the volumes of the Corpus may also be consulted.
- This observation, applied to a large number of monuments, gave rise to many of the splendid epigraphical labours of Borghesi (see e.g. his dissertation upon the inscription of the consul L. Burbuleius, Œuvres, iv. 103 sq.).
- The character of an elogium is assumed in a special way by the inscriptions on triumphal arches, such as that of Augustus on the arch of Susa in Piedmont, dating from the year 745 (9 B.C.) (C.I.L. v. 7231; Orel. 626), and the similar one on the tropaea Augusti (la Turbia) (C.I.L. v. 7817) of the year 747 (7 B.C.), which Pliny also (Hist. Nat. iii. § 136) records, and those of the other emperors at Rome, of which only that of Claudius, the conqueror of Britain (C.I.L. vi. 920, 921; Orel. 715; Wil. 899), with the statues of himself and his family, need be mentioned.
- See the important work of R. Lanciani, Commentari di Frontino intorno le acque e gli acquedotti, &c. (Rome, 1880).