Public monuments in Roman Greece

Database and Website

Browsing and searching the database

The platform for consulting the database is under development. In the meantime the database can be searched or browsed by following this link. To browse just use the left and right arrows on the top right. To perform a search first click on "Find", enter the criteria you want to search in the boxes (either by typing or, where available, using the drop-down menus) and then click on "Perform Find". You can then browse through the records that match your search criteria by using the left and right arrows. To return to browsing the complete database click on "Show All".

Overview of the database

The database is intended as a fully searchable catalogue of monuments known to have stood in the public spaces of cities in Greece from the time that Rome began to expand its influence into the Greek world (c.200 BC) to the height of the Roman Empire (c.200 AD). Monuments that were set up before that time and which are known to have still been standing are included as are monuments that are attested as being set up during that period. Initially the database will focus on three main case studies – Athens, Messene and Corinth but includes some monuments from outside those cities, which have been encountered while working through the primary and secondary literature. The database is a work in progress. For a summary of what is currently included see below. Feedback on the project as a whole or on individual database entries would be most welcome. Please follow this link to submit a feedback form.

Most of the fields are fairly self-explanatory but notes on some of them maybe useful:

Type – one of the aims of the project is to explore the extent to which the meaning of different types of monument overlapped. For that reason certain conventional modern categories such as “honorific statue”, “votive statue” have been purposefully avoided because they presuppose a certain primary meaning for monuments. Instead, fairly broad categories that are neutral with regards to function have been chosen, such as “portrait statue”, “statue of god”, etc.

Find spot, attestation, found in situ – the database includes monuments that are certainly attested as having stood in a particular public space either through written evidence or in situ archaeological evidence as well as those for which archaeological or epigraphic evidence was found in a particular space but not in situ. Find spot is, of course, no guarantee of original location, which is why it is useful to distinguish between these categories. One aim of the project is to develop an interpretative framework that allows the assessment of the likelihood that monuments found in a particular type of space (e.g. an agora, gymnasium) did indeed originally stand there.

Type of public space – the monument’s location according to category – e.g. agora, gymnasium, street etc.

Spatial setting – the specific name by which that area of public space is known either in ancient sources or modern scholarship – e.g. “The Roman Agora” at Athens, “The Vedius Gymnasium” at Ephesos, etc.

Specific location - information, where available, about where exactly a monument stood within it’s public setting – e.g. “next to the Bouleuterion”, “just inside the west entrance”, etc.

Date erected – Unless a date is explicitly attested in a historic or epigraphic source a range is given here, the distance between the earliest and latest possible dates reflecting the certainty with which the date can be pinpointed. Where the date is unknown, for example, when a Roman period literary source reports seeing an older monument but says nothing of the circumstances behind its erection, this field has been left empty.

Last date attested in situ – for inscriptions found out of situ this is the same as the latest possible date at which they were set up; for attestations in literary sources an approximate date has been given that corresponds roughly to the period in which the author is known to have been active – e.g. 150 AD for Pausanias; where archaeological evidence has been found in situ monuments we can, of course, be sure that the monument in question was at that location from the moment of its erection to the end of the Roman period.

Statue size – an approximate category to distinguish between under-life-size, life-size, over-life-size, and colossal.

Dimensions – the precise height, width, depth of a statue, base or other monument found archaeologically.

Notes – unusual or interesting information pertaining to a monument

Bibliography – secondary literature with no claim to be exhaustive.

Images – only included where permission has been given.

The Case Studies

Three case studies have been chosen as the main focus of the project. These are Athens, Messene and Corinth. For all three there is a great wealth of archaeological and epigraphic material. The very different histories of the three cities make them useful for the purposes of comparison:

Current scope of the database

The database is a work in progress and is still being expanded. At present it includes some 574 entries and consists of public monuments that stood at the following sites and are found in the following ancient authors and modern publications:

Pausanias
- all public monuments mentioned in Book 1 (Athens) - all public monuments mentioned in Book 2 (Corinthia) - all public monuments mentioned in Book 4 (Messenia)

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