Lecture
Understanding Roman inscriptions

Thursday 30 March 2017,
13.30–14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181
Ticket Desk in Great Court

Recommend this event

Deciphering Latin inscriptions is fun and rewarding and does not always require a prior knowledge of the language.

Most are easy to puzzle out because they are extremely formulaic, using a standardised system of abbreviations that ensured Romans from all areas of the empire could understand them.

Drawing on examples from the British Museum’s wide collection, curator Dirk Booms will explain the conventions, demystify the grammar and introduce the key vocabulary, taking you step by step through each inscription. Letters and symbols reveal the achievements of emperors, the career path of officials, the comradeship of soldiers, the devastation at the death of a loved one – Roman lives, minds and hearts.


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Marble tombstone for Titus Aurelius Saturninus, a cavalry bodyguard of the emperor, and a native of Pannonia, in eastern Europe.