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Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East$
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Roger Bagnall

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267022

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267022.001.0001

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Informal Writing in a Public Place

Informal Writing in a Public Place

The Graffiti of Smyrna

(p.7) Chapter 1 Informal Writing in a Public Place
Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East

Roger S. Bagnall

University of California Press

This chapter looks at a unique instance of the survival on a large scale of a type of everyday writing usually lost in its entirety, or at best preserved only in isolated places: the informal inscription, or graffito. It reports a remarkable discovery made in the winter of 2003 of a body of writing that stood in a public place and, in a sense, was written on stone, but which has little in common with most monumental epigraphy. The chapter notes that this find is the graffiti of the basement level of the basilica in the agora of Smyrna, modern Izmir. It further reports that the ground level of the basilica and the east and west ends of the basement level were excavated before the Second World War by Selâhattin Kantar, then director of the Izmir Museum, and Fritz Milner of the German Archaeological Institute, and published by Kantar after the war in collaboration with the German archaeologist Rudolf Naumann.

Keywords:   everyday writing, graffito, agora of Smyrna, Izmir, basilica, Selâhattin Kantar, Izmir Museum, Fritz Milner, German Archaeological Institute, Rudolf Naumann

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