Inscriptions from MA.Bos.MFA

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has an extensive and distinguished collection of antiquities, among which are more than two hundred artifacts inscribed in Greek and Latin. The reported inventory comprises eighty-three texts on marble and stone; sixty-five precious and semi-precious gems; nine texts inscribed on gold, six on silver, twenty-three on bronze and twenty-three on other metals; two mosaics; two terracottas; and one wood object--not to mention numerous Greek vases bearing painters' signatures and labels, dozens of pieces of Roman terra sigillata with makers' stamps, and two incised magical amulets (Bonner, SMA nos. 73, 234).

Many of these pieces derive from the fine collection of Greek sculpture acquired for the museum at the end of the nineteenth century through the activities of its agents Edward P. Warren and John Marshall; the inscriptions are mainly on grave reliefs and votives of various kinds. In addition, the Archaeological Institute of America in 1884 presented to the museum its collection of finds from Assos, among which are many inscriptions; these have all been published by R. Merkelbach in Die Inschriften von Assos (Bonn 1976). Individual pieces have from time to time been published in the Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and elsewhere, and most of the major works are included in one or another of a series of catalogues compiled by Cornelius Vermeule with the help of various collaborators. The entire collection is currently being prepared for publication by Annewies van den Hoek and Sarolta Takács. Since the unedited inscriptions have not been reported and the published ones only partially so, the survey below cannot claim to be complete, but it is hoped that none of the major pieces in the collection have been overlooked.

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