Graffiti and Dipinti

by Mabel Lang

Athenian Agora XXI
126 pp, 62 pls
9" x 12"
Cloth, ISBN: 978-0-87661-221-7
Publication Date: Nov 1976
Status: Out of Print


Over 3,000 informal inscriptions scratched or painted on pottery, lamps, or other clay fragments have been found in the excavations of the Athenian Agora. In this volume, 859 of these graffiti and dipinti (representing those with sufficient content to be meaningful) are presented in catalogue and drawings. The texts consist of messages and lists, love names and curses, rough calculations, dedications, commercial and tax notations; in short, all manner of fascinating, all-too-human trivia. An introduction to each category defines the type, indicates special characteristics and suggests parallels, purpose, etc. Each example is illustrated in a line drawing with the exception of the tax notations (dipinti); in this case photographs seemed preferable owing to the fugitive medium and the run-on cursive forms. This skillful presentation of an important body of material contributes significantly to the study of informal Greek, especially in regard to letter forms and spelling, as well as to an understanding of the varying commercial practices in ancient Athens.

About the Author: Mabel Lang (1917-2010) was the Katharine E. McBride Professor Emeritus and Paul Shorey Professor Emeritus of Greek at Bryn Mawr College. She authored or coauthored nine books published by the ASCSA.