44132 - Roman Epigraphy and Institutions

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will know how to apply the basic knowledges for the use of the epigraphic sources in the historical analysis of the ancient world. He will also know the digital tools for the study of epigraphy, for the classification and the enhancement of epigraphic documents. The student will know how to critically read, comment and use the epigraphic sources, he will also know the communication problems in the Roman society and the meaning of the epigraphic heritage. He will know at a basic level the private and pubblic institutions of the Roman world and the institutional working principles of the Roman society and political system. Furthermore, the student will know how to critically use the sources that allow the reconstruction and study of this ancient world. He will discuss about the main themes of the course by using specific terminology.

Course contents

The course consists  in two parts.

In order to attend this course the student is required to have a basic knowledge of the Latin language.

Who need to recover this type of knowledge, can consult the Course of Letters website and check the offer for the recovery of OFA credits in Latin.

I part (Roman Epigraphy)


Monday-Wednesday-Thursday, 3-5 pm, aula Celio, via Zamboni 38.

Topics treated during the course

-Characteristics and taxonomy of Latin inscriptions (three lectures).

-Major corpora of Latin inscriptions (paper and online version)(one lecture).

-How to read Latin inscriptions (three lectures).

-The onomastic system and its social and legal value (two lessons).

-The Latin inscription as a document for the ancient society study.

In particular, examples will be taken from various centers of the octava regio augustea relating to the world of work (four lectures).

-Practical exercises in class and interpretation of inscriptions and use of the main epigraphic databases (two lectures).


II part (Roman institutions)


Monday-Wednesday-Thursday, 1-3 pm

aula Celio, via Zamboni 38, Bologna.

Topics treated during the course

Roman society institutions.

-titolatura imperiale (two lectures);

-It will be analyzed the origin and evolution of:

-the most important government bodies (senatus and comitia) (four lectures);

-senatorial, equestrian and municipal careers: their birth and development from the Republican age to the Late Antiquity (six lectures);

Practical exercises will be carried out in the classroom for reading and interpreting inscriptions relevant to the Roman institutions (three lectures).

Students not attending lessons, must contact the professor (daniela.rigato@unibo.it)


The students who will have to take the 6 CFU exams of Roman Epigraphy or Roman Institutions will have to prepare respectively on the first part or the second part of the program indicated here.

The students who will have to take the exam from 6 CFU of Epigraphy and Roman institutions refer to the first part of the program.


For the 1.st section (Roman Epigraphy):

1) Lessons Notes.
2) Read the book: 

A. Buonopane, Manuale di epigrafia latina, Carocci 2009.


For the 2.st section (Roman Institution):

G.Poma, Le istituzioni politiche del mondo romano, Il mulino, 2009

Students not attending lessons, must contact the professor (daniela.rigato@unibo.it)


Students not attending lectures will have to read the subsequent books:

A. Buonopane, Manuale di epigrafia latina, Carocci 2009;

G. Poma, Le istituzioni politiche del mondo romano, Il mulino 2009, seconda edizione.

Choise 15 inscriptions from:

Epigrafia latina. Ostia: cento iscrizioni in contesto, a cura di Mireille Cébeillac Gervasoni, Maria Letizia Caldelli, Fausto Zevi, Roma, Quasar, 2010.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be of oral type.

Students are required to actively participate with personal opinions during the analysis of the epigraphic and literary documents.

There will take place an organised tour to the Museo Civico Archeologico in Bologna, where students will have the possibility to better and closely know the epigraphic material.

Assessment methods

The exam will take the form of an oral discussion and the student will be assessed according to the knowledge he has acquired, his ability to provide a clear summary of the topics covered and his critical handling of the material. He will be expected to refer to both the exam bibliography and the inscriptions and discussed during the lectures.

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.
Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.
A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

The student will have to answer for questions concerning:

-the handbooks,

-the items discussed during the lectures,

-the inscriptions analyzed during the  lectures.

Teaching tools

Hand-outs of examined inscriptions and analyzed literary sources will be given;  ppt concerning the different studied topics.


Office hours

See the website of Daniela Rigato