Inscriptions from Aphrodisias online (Epigraphy 2)

After writing my previous post on Pergamon (Pergamum), I’ve been thinking that I should make comments regarding online resources for epigraphy and inscriptions (especially from Asia Minor) an ongoing segment of this blog. Although the likes of G.H.R. Horsley’s New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity have thankfully increased the interest in, and use of, inscriptional evidence by scholars of the New Testament and early Christianity, more of this needs to be done. And I believe some scholars of Christian origins remain somewhat hestitant (or even intimidated) by the whole sub-specialty of epigraphy when they don’t need to be.I hope my ongoing comments on epigraphy will help both other scholars (of early Christianity and Judaism) and the interested Joe and Jane to make better sense of inscriptions and the resources (especially online) to study them. Inscriptions provide important glimpses, albeit momentary glimpses, into social and religious realities of life for those living in the world of early Christians and Jews. Inscriptions and the monuments on which they were inscribed often provide an alternative picture of life in the ancient world to that offered by literary evidence produced by the elites.

The supplement to Pergamon inscriptions which I commented on in the previous post required that you know Greek to use it, but there is another resource that will appeal to a broader audience. Some of you may be familiar with the important “God-fearers” inscription (now often dated to the fourth or fifth century) which was discovered at Aphrodisias and revolutionized study of gentiles who were attracted to Judaism in antiquity. But there are many other interesting and important inscriptions which have been discovered in this same city in Asia Minor (Turkey).

Photo of sarcophagi (graves) in the yard of the Aphrodisias Museum (photo by Phil).

The website of the “Inscriptions of Aphrodisias Project” is very promising in providing excellent resources for studying inscriptions. At present, it provides free access to the second (2004) edition of Charlotte Roueché’s Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity: The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions, which includes 250 Greek inscriptions with English translations and extensive commentary. There are plans to continue electronically publishing new finds from Aphrodisias as well. The extensive bibliography section includes links to online articles, including the recent (free access) article by Angelos Chaniotis, “New inscriptions from Aphrodisias (1995-2001),” American Journal of Archaeology 108 (2004), 377-416 (with English translations of the new finds). Also quite interesting are the photographs of notebooks (with documented Greek inscriptions) by early explorers of Aphrodisias, including the notebook of John Gandy Deering (written c. 1811-1813).

If you would like to do a quick photographic tour of the museum at Aphrodisias, including some of its monuments with inscriptions, go to my website here and click on the picture of Apollo at the top-right.

Update: Juan Garcés who is at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College, London, makes several further comments about this entry (see comments), including the fact that the plan is ultimately to have all of the inscriptions from Aphrodisias online. I just realized that this is the same person who reviewed my book for BMCR (he was very generous).

(My apologies for mispelling Angelos Chaniotis’ name, which is now corrected).

One thought on “Inscriptions from Aphrodisias online (Epigraphy 2)

  1. Mike Karoules


    My name is Mike Karoules and I live in Georgia, USA. Would you please be able to tell me what the 2 or 3 best sources of information on Asia Minor Inscriptions (including most of these ancient cities: Heirapolis; Ephesus[especially];Laodicia; Sardis; Pergamum – and just about all those Western Asia Minor cities) would be?

    I am very interested in the inscriptions of Asia Minor mainly from the era of 250 B.C. to about 250 A.D., approximately. Please give me any internet sources that cover this issue, if you can. Basically, in THESE SOURCES I am looking for inscriptions of the Roman Empire era which show the original LANGUAGE and the ENGLISH translation of that language(whichever language the inscription would in) along with photos of the inscription (but the photo would just be a preference of mine).

    Also, I am just curious. I notice almost ALL the examples of inscriptions that you cite and document in your articles are Greek. Is there a reason for that? I am mainly talking about, again, the Asia Minor inscriptions in your articles. Did you just choose one “target language” for inscriptions for any specific reason?

    I have been doing some persoanl research on this matter because I am trying to find out what language(for the most part) most of the inscriptions (of Asia Minor) are in. Would you be able to help me with this?

    Thank you for any advice and information you can pass on to me.


    Mike Karoules

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