Dating the vernacular inscription on the wall of St Mark's Treasury in Venice. A case study in medieval epigraphic philology
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The investigation has three interlinked goals. The first is to resolve a concrete and long-standing problem that has challenged epigraphists and art historians. It involves establishing a plausible date for a five-line inscription in Old Venetian on the Treasury wall of San Marco in Venice. The inscription, often read and sometimes misread, has a lengthy critical history given its sensitive location in the great ceremonial passageway between St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace, the nerve centres of Venetian religious and political power. It is also the focal point of an intriguing sculptural ensemble whose problematic dating is also at stake in the investigation. The critical disarray over the chronology of our public text is such that it has been assigned to various points between the 12th and 15th centuries. I attempt to clarify this chronological issue with detailed evidence drawn in particular from palaeography and linguistics. The second aim is to demonstrate, via a specific case study, the descriptive and predictive value of vernacular epigraphic philology as a critical tool in historical research when its interdisciplinary resources are systematically and conjointly exploited. The third objective is to provide an epigraphic contextualization for the enquiry. In this background survey I review the current state of play in Italian and Venetian medieval inscription studies, highlighting the discipline's recent advances but also its reluctance to draw on the diachronic and comparative analysis of script and language exemplified in our case study.
Ferguson , R 2017 , ' Dating the vernacular inscription on the wall of St Mark's Treasury in Venice. A case study in medieval epigraphic philology ' Italian Studies , vol. 72 , no. 3 , pp. 222-237 . DOI: 10.1080/00751634.2017.1341672
© 2017 The Society for Italian Studies. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00751634.2017.1341672
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