29459 - Greek Epigraphy (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to read, translate, understand Greek epigraphic texts, learning how to define typology and chronology of inscriptions, also written in archaic scripts. The course aims at teaching the ability to set inscriptions in their context (political, economic, social, ...), to evaluate their importance as historical documents and to enhance their significance as part of the historical and documentary heritage. Students will learn how to classify inscriptions and to do textual research using available and digital tools.

Course contents

1. Tools of the epigraphist: epigraphic collections (paper and digital), directories and bibliographic guides (lectures 1-3).

2. Edition of a Greek inscription: principles and structure (lectures 4-15). The individual parts of the edition will be explored through:

a. the reading of some inscriptions in archaic scripts (photograph or drawing supplied);

b. the analysis of some selected inscriptions (reading, translation, dating, palaeographic commentary, historical and typological interpretation);

c. the introduction to digital semantic markup of inscriptions following the EpiDoc standard;

d. two written exercises to be completed during the course: exercise no. 1 - assignment during lecture no. 4 to be completed at lecture no. 8; exercise no. 2 - assignment during lecture no. 12 to be completed at lecture no. 14.

It should be noted that knowledge of the Greek language (understanding a text with the dictionary or at least understanding the correspondence with the translations offered), if not already acquired, must be reached before the oral examination.

First lesson: September 20, 2021; last lesson: October 25, 2021


Attending students.

1. The knowledge of M. Guarducci, L'epigrafia greca dalle origini al tardo impero, Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, Roma 1987, is preparatory and compulsory. Students who never followed a Greek epigraphy course must study it starting when the course begins (paying particular attention to archaic scripts and text typologies).

2. Furthermore students must study selected inscriptions (nos. 3, 25, 26, 31, 41, 45, 51, 72) from C. Antonetti, S. De Vido (a cura di), Iscrizioni greche. Un'antologia, Carocci, Roma 2017 (Greek text, translation, commentary).


Students who will not be able to attend the lectures must talk with the teacher to define specific course contents.

a. If the student possesses previous epigraphic and/or philological knowledge and can carry out written exercises concerning critical edition of texts, those specific course contents may be similar to the programme of attending students.

b. Otherwise the student, in addition to the study text listed above (point 1), will study M. Guarducci, Epigrafia greca, I, Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, Roma 1995, pp. 8-42, 391-505 and selected inscriptions (nos. 2, 3, 8 10, 14, 16, 25, 26, 31, 41, 45, 46, 51, 63, 67, 72) from C. Antonetti, S. De Vido (a cura di), Iscrizioni greche. Un'antologia, Carocci, Roma 2017 (Greek text, translation, commentary).


Bibliographic resources are available at the DiSCi Library of Ancient History (Bologna, via Zamboni 38).

Teaching methods

The course consists mainly of workshops: students will take part in the lectures and practise surveying, reading, copying, and editing inscriptions. During the course, students are required to provide new editions of two Greek inscriptions.

Those who never studied Greek language and alphabet before are strongly recommended to start immediately. The knowledge of Greek will be strengthened through the reading of the inscriptions themselves.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

At the end of the course and at least ten days before oral examination students who attended the lectures (and students who did not and chose a program similar to attending students: cf. Readings/Bibliography, case a) must supply a written paper with the edition (lemma, transcription, translation, and commentary) of an inscription selected by the teacher (digital photographs will be supplied). The oral examination will

- open the debate on this paper and

- test the knowledge of the course contents:

. handbook (cf. Readings/Bibliography, point 1);

. selected inscriptions (cf. Readings/Bibliography, point 2).

For non-attending students with specific programme (cf. Readings/Bibliography, case b), the examination will

- test the knowledge of the course contents:

. handbook (cf. Readings/Bibliography, point 1);

. study text and selected inscriptions (cf. Readings/Bibliography, case b).


The assessment will test:

- the basic knowledge of the discipline;

- the critical approach to ancient inscriptions and modern historiographical interpretations;

- the ability to communicate orally, in particular skills in synthesis and in logical organization of the topics and the mastery of an appropriate vocabulary; 

- the ability to manage epigraphic tools (critical editions and bibliography) and to select information useful for the edition of a Greek inscription, which should be complete and formally accurate, and should display argument skills (for non-attending students with specific programme – cf. Readings/Bibliography, case b –, the advanced knowledge of the discipline concerning the history of Greek epigraphy and the editions of inscriptions).


If the student achieves a complete vision of the topics discussed in class and required for the discipline, provides an effective critical commentary, shows mastery of expression and of the specific language, both written and oral, he obtains very good or excellence in the evaluation (28-30L).

Average marks (satisfactory-good) 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 or contents (22-27).

An incomplete command of contents and/or inappropriate language and terminology, albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the course material, will lead to a 'pass' mark (18-21).

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 (< 18).

Students enrolled in the course as part of an Integrated Course (I.C.) are required to pass the oral examination of the two parts – Greek Epigraphy (1) (LM) and Greek Institutions (1) (LM) – in the same date (the final grade will result from the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two parts).

Teaching tools

Original texts (inscriptions and literary sources) and reference slides will be available online (virtuale.unibo.it).

Office hours

See the website of Alice Bencivenni