Not all Greek in Italy came directly from Greece, as we would think of country nowadays. A case in point is the Apotheosis or Deification of Homer, a marble relief dated to the end of third century BCE and thought to have been made at Alexandria (the one ‘near’ Egypt) before it was brought to Italy and its findspot of Bovillae.
A cast of this relief can be seen, and read, in the Faculty of Classics’ own Museum of Classical Archaeology and the artefact itself is not so far away at the British Museum. (Livius.org has some discussion.). The subject of the relief was taken up by Ingres for the ceiling of the first room in the Musée Charles X in the Louvre.
The presence of a cast so close to home is the occasion not only for this blogpost, but also for sharing a resource relating to the Greek inscriptions in (and around) the Museum of Classical Archaeology.
About this time last year, as the first years were about to sit their exams, I prepared a different kind of supervision in anticipation of such a request as ‘Sir, can we have a fun lesson, please, now that we’ve done our exams?’. Of course, I would say, ‘All my supervisions are fun!’.
The plan was to tour the Cast Gallery of the Museum of Classical Archaeology and to discuss its Greek inscriptions, which range from the end of the seventh century BCE to the Hellenistic period. As such, they illustrate some of the array of local alphabets that were in use until the emergence ‘the Greek alphabet’ as we might think of it: an Ionic script of twenty-four letters that was officially adopted at Athens in 403/402 BCE and taken as far as the Indus River by Alexander.
To prepare myself, I compiled a spreadsheet of links to the Cast Gallery’s records, the Packhard Humanities Searchable Greek Inscriptions, Poinikastas, and other online resources, as well as a comparatio to the epigraphic corpora and handbooks on the Greek dialects.
There is no need to compile such a spreadsheet for the inscriptions of the Fitzwilliam Museum. As a collection of originals, not casts, there is an entry in Trismegistos.