New frontiers in epigraphy and a host of new technological developments in that field is the topic that opens the first English-language issue of our magazine. Forma Urbis was founded in 1995, with the purpose of sharing knowledge about Rome and the entire ancient world with our readers. We have explored the rediscovery of underground Roman sites and monuments, presented essays on ancient history, on archaeology (from protohistory to the Middle Ages), numismatics, culture and folk traditions, as well as articles about new archaeological discoveries – which we are often the first to describe.
The journal’s primary aim – especially since its union with the Fondazione Dià Cultura, which has been in charge of its content and art direction since 2012 – is to offer an ideal blend of scientific journal (as is clear from our content, which is always provided by professional archaeologists) and magazine for the general public (as can be seen from our widespread dissemination both on newsstands and online). In other words, ours is a high-quality and authoritative publication, accessible to an audience that comprises even occasional readers.
This first international issue discusses epigraphy, the science that deals with inscriptions (tituli in Latin). It is a discipline that is difficult to define, a task made even more complicated by epigraphy’s relationship with sciences such as papyrology and numismatics – the studies of documents written on papyrus and of coins, respectively – which circumscribe its area of competence and, occasionally, become ‘entangled’ with it. The word’s literal meaning, from the Greek epigraphein, meaning “to write on”, corresponds perfectly to the Latin inscribere. Epigraphy therefore encompasses all written material handed down to us directly from antiquity as opposed to being passed down through the mediation of Medieval copyists. Inscriptions are a priceless legacy...
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