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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The study of ancient reading and writing practices must begin with inscriptions. This chapter charts the recent debates about the concept of literacy in the Roman world. Setting out from the archaic period, it shows how inscriptions have a key role to play in any assessment of the difficult question of levels of literacy, while at the same time highlighting some of the methodological problems involved in such enquiries. The chapter concludes with a brief exploration of topics ripe for further study .

Keywords: inscriptions, bilingual inscriptions, literacy, graffiti, “Vulgar Latin, ” archaic Latin, “scribal literacy, ” “craftsman’s literacy, ” “specialist literacy, ” orthography, syntax

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