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Le iscrizioni sepolcrali della provincia “Apulia et Calabria” in età tardoantica (IV–VII s. d.C.)
Abstract The aim of this paper is to survey the funerary epigraphic landscape of Apulia et Calabria in Late Antiquity (here a ‘long’ Late Antiquity) until the middle of 7th c. AD. As in the other Eastern and Western provinces, the quantity of attested inscriptions drastically decreased compared to the 1st and 2nd c. AD. In addition, the Late Antique epigraphic documentation in Apulia et Calabria appears to be concentrated only in some cities of the middle and central area of the provincia (especially Luceria, Canusium and Venusia), while in rural areas it seems to be totally absent. Most of the Late Antique funerary inscriptions collected in Apulia et Calabria are Jewish, and were found in the important Venosa catacombs; but there are also a lot of epitaphs by Christians. In the paper some aspects of these inscriptions are considered: distribution, chronology, epigraphic supports, formulae, language and associated funerary contexts. The use of the epigraphic medium in the funerary habit appears to be related only to the local élites – both Christian and Jewish – that were able to equip their tombs with epitaphs. The qualitative level, however, is not always high: a lot of inscriptions are carved into local stone slabs, rather than – only in very rare cases – on marble. Tituli picti constitute the most numerous category within the epigraphic documentation.
Keywords Funerary inscriptions, Late Antique cemeteries, provincia Apulia et Calabria, Christian and Jewish communities, hypogaea.