Roman Imperial epigraphic traditions

In the Roman Imperial period commemorative inscriptions became omnipresent in nearly all aspects of social life, and the afterlife. Yet, quite suddenly, during the third century AD, this practice fell into decline. In the regions where the practice survived, it acquired a new face, and the so-called epigraphic cultures of Late Antiquity developed. Inscription took a new form with clumsier and less regular lettering, shaping, and their genres were now less diverse. Despite decades of research, beginning in the early 1980s, the reasons for this great transformation remain to be explained. The answer, however, may lie in the changing face of Roman workshops and how they shaped their clients’ tastes: “There is a pressing need to develop a wholly new approach to the study of cultural impact of the third-fifth century stonecutters’ and mosaicists’ workshops, a study which would encompass the entire Roman world,” said Dr Nowakowski from the Faculty of History, a laureate of the prestigious ERC grant.

Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell'Italia antica, Domena Publiczna
Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell’Italia antica, Domena Publiczna

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Pomerium – new discovery

On 17 July 2021, an important and rare discovery was made during archaeological works carried out near the recently restored Mausoleum of Augustus in the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, just off the Via del Corso in Rome. A sizable travertine block (pomerium cippus) was unearthed, which defined the sacred boundary (pomerium) of Rome extended by Emperor Claudius in 49 AD. Although the discovered block is only partially preserved, with he censorial power of the the ruler (line 6) and a final formula: 

[au]ctis populi R[omani] / finibus, pomerium / ampliavit terminavitque 

(lines 7 – 9) 

linking this inscription to the activities of Claudius and similar cippi is most reasonable.

Why is the recent discovery in Rome so unique and of such a great significance?

Moment odkrycia pomerium © Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
Discovery of the pomerium
© Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

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[INTERVIEW] Rolling in the deep – emerald mines in the desert

Some time ago we wrote about the ancient port of Berenike on the Red Sea coast. This time we had an opportunity to talk with dr Joan Oller Guzmán from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, who in 2020 and 2021 conducted an archaeological survey in the Mons Smaragdus region of the Egyptian Eastern Desert. This region was known in Antiquity as the only source of emeralds within the borders of the Roman Empire! 

We invite you venture further into this article, where dr. Guzmán tells us about exploring underground galleries and what they have found in the dungeons deep.

“Świątynia południowa” w Wadi Sikait, Egipt © J. O. Guzman
“South temple” in Wadi Sikait, Egypt
© J. O. Guzman

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