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The Cambridge Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy

Ida Toth, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, Summer Fellow 2011/12

The seven weeks of sustained research work at the Dumbarton Oaks Library have enabled me to study a wide spectrum of primary sources and to select the most suitable illustrative material for the Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy, a practical guide through the main corpora and collections of extant epigraphic material and the main issues of reading and studying Byzantine inscriptions.

During my term as a summer fellow, I have been able to examine thousands of images from the Epigraphy Database and the Byzantine Photographs and Fieldwork Collections, and to choose nearly two hundred most representative samples, which will serve to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of the Byzantine epigraphic habit as well as filling gaps in the general understanding of some more idiosyncratic epigraphic practices.

In addition to focusing on broader epigraphic issues, I have also created a database of 11th-century inscriptions, which I intend to use for my contribution to the panel "Towards a Corpus of Byzantine Inscriptions" at the forthcoming 22nd Congress of Byzantine Studies in Sofia, and, in an extended version, as part of the chapter on middle Byzantine epigraphy. The historical information yielded by this material will also be incorporated into the database of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (further details regarding this collaboration remain to be confirmed at the meeting with the project director in October 2011).

Access to the DO Archive and Collections has given me far greater and more in-depth coverage of inscriptional material than I would be able to find in any other academic resource or institution. I have also enormously benefited from many stimulating conversations with resident specialists in related fields, who have always been generous with their advice and prompt to share their insights and expertise. As a result, I have strengthened my knowledge of the issues raised by the great variety of epigraphic material that I have been able to consult, and now leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of its significance and ramifications.

 

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Byzantine Studies Fellows, 2011/12