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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Since the 1980s scholars have ceased considering Roman inscriptions simply in functional terms—as sources of historical information—and started to treat them as a cultural phenomenon worthy of serious consideration. This change in perspective, as well as the realization that there was a permanent bond between text and monument, represents the most productive shift in approach in recent epigraphic scholarship. This chapter analyzes the “epigraphic habit” in order to explain why people wrote on stone throughout Italy and the provinces, linking its rise to the proliferation of urbanization, literacy, and the desire for self-representation.

Keywords: inscriptions, Principate, “furor epigraphicus, ” “epigraphic habit, ” epitaphs, freedmen, urbanization, Rome, Italy, Roman provinces

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