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Bill Thayer

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Latin inscriptions in the church of Sant' Ambrogio


[image ALT: Part of an old brick wall with several dozen fragmentary Roman inscriptions embedded in it. It is a wall of the forecourt or atrium of the church of S. Ambrogio in Milan, Italy.]

The walls of the forecourt of St. Ambrose's church in Milan,
like those of many Italian churches, are a sort of epigraphical museum.


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The inscription recording the career of Pliny the Younger or a fragment of it anyway. Pliny was a local official in Como, about 60 km from Milan. What are the holes? What's this inscription doing here??


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The inscription on this tombstone, presumably of a Roman Jew, opens with a menorah. And if the technique used to incise the letters is any guide, the stonecutter may not have known how to write; at any rate, the spelling mistakes may tell us something about the pronunciation of Latin in the third century.


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Page updated: 17 Apr 98