Attic Inscriptions



Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO)

The mission of AIO, launched by Stephen Lambert in 2012, is to translate and offer explanatory notes on them in a fully-searchable, open-access, website; it makes Athenian inscriptions accessible to anyone interested and requires no knowledge of Greek language or prior experience of epigraphy. By the end of 2021, AIO, now edited by Lambert, Polly Low, Peter Liddel and Chris de Lisle, contains translations of more than 2000 inscriptions, with the input of an international team of more than 40 site contributors (from the UK, Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, the US, and Australia).

AIO’s audience is broad and international, but our work highlights the potential of Athenian inscriptions in a pedagogical context, including at pre-18 Level. Both teachers and learners can use AIO in many ways: for those who know what they are looking for, publications of individual inscriptions can be looked up using the browse function. Our emphasis, however, is on empowering teachers and learners to formulate and address historical questions by undertaking their own research on AIO. To this end, inscriptions can be browsed also by date, findspot, inscription type, monument type, original location or current location.

A Guide to the use of AIO for teachers can be found in AIO Papers 10, published on the AIO website; AIO Papers 8, studying the Chalkis decree and Tribute Reassessment decree of Thoudippos, is aimed specifically at teachers of the current A-level specifications.

Attic Inscriptions: Education (AIE)

In June 2021 we launched our Attic Inscriptions: Education (AIE) website. AIE resources illustrate the relevance of ancient Athenian inscriptions, especially those of the classical period (the fifth and fourth centuries BC, c. 500-300 BC), to pre-18 education in the UK and beyond. We aim to support teachers who wish to introduce translated Greek inscriptions into their teaching as a way of captivating their students’ imagination and fostering enthusiasm for the ancient Greek world.

These resources, consisting of teachers’ notes and slides for classes, underline the textual and visual potential of inscriptions for those engaged with learning about ancient Greek history and civilisation. The idea of an inscription being carved and read ‘in real life’ is a way of fostering the curiosity of students about the past. Accordingly, through inscriptions, learners benefit from the bringing to life of the ancient world, perhaps in a way that helps it seem less abstract and more immediately accessible. They are particularly useful for mixed-ability classes: their relative conciseness and free-standing nature makes them accessible to all; on the other hand, the open access availability of AIO means that high performing students have the opportunity to conduct independent research using the website.

The webpages are divided up via Key Stage Level for use in classrooms in England and Wales (they are especially relevant to A-Level and GCSE Classical Studies and Ancient History), and a separate section is dedicated to the Scottish Higher Qualification in Classical Studies.

Our hope is that through the AIE resources, inscriptions can inform and deepen engagement with ancient Greek culture in the teaching of classical subjects in translation at all levels. Teachers might also might find the AIO YouTube channel useful, which contains videos about individual inscriptions or groups of inscriptions, mostly in UK Collections. Its recordings are of varied length and depth, and teachers may find particularly useful our short videos on the inscriptions at the Ashmolean or those on other funerary monuments in UK collections useful as conversation starters for classes.