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Global patterns of commemoration in Roman epitaphs: a quantitative spatial analysis of the most common formulae

Bennett, Lynne (2020) Global patterns of commemoration in Roman epitaphs: a quantitative spatial analysis of the most common formulae. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:83390)

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This thesis provides a quantitative analysis of common formulae in thousands of Roman epitaphs and maps their geographical distribution to understand spatial variation in patterns of commemoration. Although differences in epitaphic patterns can be inferred from numerous regional studies, this is the first study to analyse and map the epitaphs of each location or region and to set them within the context of patterns across the Roman world.

The study is designed to answer four research questions. Firstly, it seeks to understand the extent of regional variation in the use of common epitaphic formulae by considering where and how frequently they were used. Secondly, how we might measure a 'funerary epigraphic signature' at a regional and local level and what these tell us about variation in commemorative practices. Thirdly, how we might explain this variation, through a discussion of the factors that account for the divergence and convergence in how these expressions were used. And finally, the thesis examines the extent to which Rome and the centre of the empire influenced patterns of commemoration in the provinces.

The study revealed that patterns of commemoration, in regions on the peripheries of the empire, were significantly different to those in Rome and Italy. The results illustrate a centre where the epitaphic culture was characterised by the expression Dis Manibus, a formalised relationship with the deceased, and the size or status of the tomb. This is in direct contrast to the Iberian and African provinces which created epigraphic landscapes distinguished by short abbreviated inscriptions, and expressions focussed on maintaining a connection with the deceased and their remains, rather than the tomb. This thesis presents a Roman world dominated by a conservative core, centred on Rome and Italy, with an innovative periphery in the Iberian and African provinces.

The study demonstrates that Rome's influence was limited, and only extended to neighbouring regions and to its former colonies. The analysis of local epitaphic patterns uncovered evidence for provincial centres of influence, particularly in the Iberian and African provinces, suggesting the existence of a polycentric empire.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Laurence, Ray
Uncontrolled keywords: Roman epitaphs Quantitative epigraphy Spatial analysis Epitaphic formulae Globalisation in the Roman world
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D51 Ancient History
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2023 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bennett, Lynne.

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