Friday, February 09, 2018

More on the new Caesarea inscription

EPIGRAPHY: Rare Greek inscription and colorful 1,800-year-old mosaic uncovered at Caesarea. Discovered during excavations under a commercial structure from the Byzantine period, the finding is hailed for its exceptionally high quality (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel). I noted the announcement of the discovery of the mosaic and inscription yesterday, also noting that it gave almost no information about the inscription. This article today tells us some more, although nothing is yet available about what the inscription says.
Of potentially even more interest than the beautifully formed images is a long inscription in ancient Greek. It was unfortunately damaged by the Byzantine building constructed on top of it, but is being studied now by epigrapher Dr. Leah Di Segni from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.


“Sadly, the inscription is very harmed [by the construction],” said Gendelman. While the team is still awaiting Di Segni’s expertise to decipher the ancient Greek text, he said that there are several visible letters of what appears to be a very long, multiword inscription.

Di Segni told The Times of Israel that she has sent a tentative reading to the excavators, but needs more information before making public any hypothetical reading.

“It is very hard to read the inscription, for lots of letters are missing and many of those that are not, are unclear,” said Di Segni.
Many years ago Carol Newsom suggested (humorously) in an article that there was an angel whose job it was to damage the really interesting readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls. She named the angel Lacunael. It looks like Lacunael has been at work here.

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