Scholars of the ancient world are often frustrated in their endeavors by the vast amount of material which has been lost due to the passage of time. One area of ancient scholarship in which the amount of available sources continues to increase is in the field of epigraphy, or the study of inscriptions. For this and other reasons, epigraphic analysis is proving to be of increasing value in the study of virtually all aspects of the ancient world, including social issues, religious aspects, political and economic decision-making, and social connections between groups or individuals.
Greek epigraphy is generally defined as the study of writings in the Greek alphabet which are inscribed upon durable artifacts. The materials on which the inscriptions are placed include not only stone (although the majority of epigraphic documents are indeed inscribed on stone) but also bronze, pottery, and other objects. Inscriptions may be movable, such as those on pottery, gems,...
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