LCL 359: vi-vii
Object and scope of this book. The archaic period.
My main object in this fourth volume of Remains of Old Latin is to present and to translate a number of the older Latin inscriptions as being an important part of early Latin remnants; this book has, however, a wider scope, because it also introduces readers to the general subject of Latin epigraphy and, in a narrow sense, to the study of Roman numismatics. Epigraphy, which is a branch of palaeography or the study of ancient writing, deals with the lettering, language and subject-matter of inscriptions written on hard and durable material such as stone and metal; it includes inscriptions on coins, though this part of the subject is usually separated under the title of numismatics, and inscriptions on gems, which likewise are usually studied separately.
I have set the year 80 b.c. as the latest limit of the archaic period; but it must be noted at once that archaisms in the Latin language and spelling occur to a much later date, especially in official documents. In fact there are large records of a date later than 80 b.c. which in spelling1 present an appearance just
- 1It should be noted however that the predominant surviving archaism or quasi-archaism is the spelling ei for i (for which see below). Cf. for example the Lex Antonia of 71 b.c. (C.I.L., I, 2, 204); the so-called Lex lulia Municipalis of 45 b.c. (C.I.L., I, 2, 206); and the inscription on the arch of Augustus at Ariminum, of 27 b.c. (C.I.L., XI, 365).