The Romans commemorated many different events with inscriptions, and not just carved in stone: they are found also on such materials as bronze, wood, mosaic, glass and pottery. They range from the official and highly formulaic to the ordinary and personal. Lawrence Keppie introduces the non-specialist to the subject of inscriptions and provides clear guidance towards translating the Latin texts. Reading the text is only part of interpretation, however, and this book also gives an account of the other aspects needed for a full understanding of inscriptions. The author covers such subjects as local government; the armies and frontiers; religion; the titles of emperors; business and commerce; as well as the craft of stonecutting, developments in the alphabet and the discovery and publication of material. This is the first comprehensive treatment in English to provide an explanation of not only the language of inscriptions but also the context in whichthey were produced. The numerous illustrations and wide choice of examples help the reader to appreciate this important category of ancient evidence.
Dr Lawrence Keppie is Senior Curator (Archaeology and History) at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Honorary lecturer in Classics at the University in Glasgow, and President of the Glasgow Archaeological Society. He has excavated extensively on the Antonine Wall and at other Roman sites in Scotland. Among his publications is the acclaimed Making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire (Batsford 1984).