DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI



EPIGRAPHIC PROJECT
INTERACTION BETWEEN THE GREEK AND THE ROMAN WORLD IN ANTIQUITY
THE TARGET


FOCUS AND METHODS

The relationship between the Greek and the Roman world and their mutual impact have for a long time been a focus area in classical scholarship, and important achievements can be recorded both in European and American research in this area. However, several questions require further attention. Our aim is to concentrate our efforts in such areas where we are strong.

The main emphasis is laid on areas in which the senior members have made substantial international contributions, although new approaches are developed as well.

1) The concrete starting point is a new comprehensive analysis of the epigraphic material of the Roman Empire, especially that of Southern Italy (a new edition of CIL X is in preparation in our Department).

2) The first area that has largely benefited from this analysis of inscriptions, is onomastics. All the components of the Roman name (praenomen, gentilicium, cognomen, supernomen), the Roman name system, the mutual impact of Greek and Roman onomastics, as well as the ideological significance of personal names have been examined by the Finnish onomastic school.

3) The inscriptional material and the analysis of personal names have provided the study of the spread of Roman citizenship in the Greek East. A new comprehensive analysis of the presence of the Roman gentile names in Greece and Asia Minor has shown how much work remains to be done.

4) The analysis of the Greek honorific inscriptions of the Roman period has brought to light, among other things, important details of the Roman bureaucratic practices. But a new comprehensive survey of their geographical distribution as well as their ideological content requires further attention.

5) The relationship between the main languages within the Graeco-Roman civilization is one of the major concerns of our team. Not only the mutual impact of Greek and Latin, but also of other languages of Italy, especially Oscan, as well as the Semitic idioms, are studied by several members of the team. The history of languages in certain geographic areas has also attracted the attention of some of the members of the team. A close link with the onomastic research is evident.

6) Another central topic is the spread of the Oriental population and Oriental cults in the Roman West. This aspect is of utmost importance for the formation of Western civilization.

7) The development of the relationship between the two parts, Greek and Latin, of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity after the universal granting of Roman citizenship in AD 212 is studied in the framework of the legal integration of the two parts; this topic has many common points with the topics of other membersinvolved.

8) Different methodological approaches are used. Traditional historico-critical methods are complemented with approaches informed by archeology, general linguistics, religious studies, social sciences and literary insights. Ideological points, also coupled with reception history, are relevant for many of the topics.

9) Concrete collaboration with other researcg groups consists of two kinds:

a) With other researchers of the Department of Classics, above all with other students of epigraphy who are at the moment not members of our group, but with whom we have close ties,
- Doc. Dr. Anne Helttula who with her team studies the inscriptions of Isola Sacra near Ostia;
- Doc. Dr. Ulla Hälvä-Nyberg who deals with the abbreviation systems in the late Roman inscriptions;
- Doc. Dr. Reijo Pitkäranta, leader of a group collecting the Latin inscriptions of Finnish churches;
- Dr. Erkki Sironen, a specialist on late antique inscriptions of Attica and Corinth;
- Lic. Phil. Timo Sironen, a specialist on Italic epigraphy;
- and with the papyrological team in the Department of Classics, led by Prof. Jaakko Frösén.

b) With groups from other disciplines and other Faculties, especially with the "Research unit on Biblical Studies".
The links between this group and our group are relevant e.g. in the study on the spread of the Oriental population and of the Oriental cults in the Roman Empire, of the ideological aspects of the impact of Greek culture on Rome. The collaboration of Dr. Arjava with group numebr 2 of the Biblical Studies unit, led by Doc. Dr. Risto Uro on "Myth and social reality in Gnostic and related documents" can especially pointed out. Another area of collaboration is the bilingualism reflected in the Bible translation (Hebrew - Greek; Greek - Latin).

10) Central to the project's activity is the publication of epigraphic material in the Department, in the first place the ambitious project to publish all the Latin inscriptions of the Tyrrhenian part of Southern Italy in a new edition, which will appear as part X of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. Directly involved in this publishing work of our team are Prof. Solin, Prof. Salomies, Dr. Kajava, K. Korhonen and P. Tuomisto, plus several graduate students. The first fascicle should appear by 2000, but the completion of the work will still require several years. In this connection we would like to point out that our new edition is not only important as a tool for Roman studies in general, but it also forms a significant basis for the concerns of our main topic, as Southern Italy was an old Greek area, and therefore the Latin inscriptions of this region more than those from other parts of Italy reflect old Greek practices.

11) The connections with foreign scholars are especially strong. Several foreign ancient historians, classical philologists and epigraphers have spent longer or shorter periods studying epigraphy and onomastics in our Department, above with Prof. Solin and with Prof. Salomies, and using the epigraphic archive of the project "Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum X, 2nd edition". The stay of these scholars has varied between a month and a year. They come from Germany, United Kingdom, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Rumania, USA, and above all Italy (in the period 1991-1998 15 scholars visited). On the other hand, all the members of our team have spent periods abroad, and H. Solin was Director of the Finnish Institute in Rome 1976-1979, and O. Salomies is at the moment Director of the Finnish Institute at Athens (until 2000). The project "Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum X, 2nd edition) comprises also foreign collaborators: Dr. Manfred Schmidt from the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (the editor of our work), Prof. Gian Luca Gregori (University of Rome La Sapienza) and Prof. Giuseppe Camodeca (University of Naples), who are publishing parts of the edition.

12) Relevance for society: the group deals with sources and areas that lie at the root of Western civilization. It is not unimportant to try to establish the character of the world of late Antiquity that led to the Middle Ages and the birth of Europe. Can we be considered more Greeks or Romans, more Westerners or Orientals? Can our civilization be defined as more Graeco-Roman or Jewish-Christian. Therefore the close collaboration with the Research Unit on Biblical Studies can prove to be very fruitful. The members of the team strive for strengthening the cultural ties between Finland and other countries, especially in the Mediterranean area.


EPIGRAPHIC PROJECT: THE RESEARCH TEAM

EPIGRAPHIC PROJECT: MAIN PUBLICATIONS
 

OTHER PROJECTS
 
 

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