This section provides an overview of the series of case studies presented in lectures focusing on the study of ancient Greek and Roman literature. It observes that our thinking about the place occupied in ancient societies by the technology of writing and its products has undergone an analogous change, no less dramatic than these if perhaps less remarked. The section notes that given the fundamental place which words and writing have always occupied in classical philology, the results of challenges to the naturalness of the written word in the last two centuries are in many respects central to contemporary conceptions of the discipline. It presents a clear distinction between “everyday writing” and “public writing,” and seeks to explore methods of inquiry and significant bodies of material. The section reflects on both epigraphical and papyrological fieldwork over the past decade, and on the increased availability of digital images to which this fieldwork has referred.
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