Inscriptions from Syria and Sinope

I’ve been translating inscriptions lately, and that has gotten me interested in finding older publications of inscriptions available on Google books. There has to be a ton of this kind of thing, but I don’t know that they have been collected anywhere. Here are a few items that caught my eye, with snippets to give an impression of the kind of material to be found in each.

William Kelly Prentice, Greek and Latin Inscriptions. Part III of the Publications of an American Archaeological Expedition to Syria, 1899-1900. New York: The Century Co., 1908.

“May Odedon the teacher live, may he live!” Prentice believes that this inscription came from a tomb, “perhaps written … by some pupil who wished his master well enough, after he was dead.”

D.M. Robinson, Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Sinope and Environs. American School of Classical Studies at Athens (American Journal of Archaeology, second series, Journal of the Archaeological institute of America, v. IX (1905) no. 3.)

From an Armenian village: “Manius Fulvius Pacatus, age 60, Fulvius Praetorenus, his son, age 20, lie here. Licinia Caesellia lies here, age 50.” Evidently Greek-speaking Romans of some means, to judge by the elegant lettering.

James C. Egbert, Introduction to the Study of Latin Inscriptions. New York: American Book Co., 1896.

Lippitudo or conjunctivitis was a scourge of Roman times, and the eye doctors have many terms for different varieties of it. It was often caused by smoke coming from braziers used indoors. The second of these documents seems to prescribe egg-white to be daubed on with a sponge (penecillus). For this latter vulgar Latin term is unknown in print in this particular sense until the middle ages. See See Rabanus Maurus, De Universo (ca. AD 842) 8.5 (PL 111.239C): mollissimum genus earum [sc. spongiarum] penecilli vocantur eo quod aptae sint ad oculorum tumores, et ad extergendas lippitudines utiles.

–Chris Francese

2 thoughts on “Inscriptions from Syria and Sinope

  1. Really cool stuff. Did not know lippitudo was often caused by indoor smoke! I’ll make sure my windows are open when I cook in the house now…

  2. “A disproportionately great part of Greek and Roman medical literature concerns eye diseases, in particular remedies for eye infections. Galen recorded more than one hundred eye diseases, and they feature prominently, too, in Greek medical papyri from Roman Egypt.” R.P.J. Jackson, “Eye Medicine in the Roman Empire,” ANRW II.37.2, p. 2229.

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