Scratch that: A comparative approach to graffiti in the late Antique Eastern Mediterranean c. 300-700 C.E.

Banes, Rachael Helen (2023). Scratch that: A comparative approach to graffiti in the late Antique Eastern Mediterranean c. 300-700 C.E. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The past two decades have seen an increase in the interest in historic graffiti in general, and late antique
graffiti in specific. Nevertheless, the publication of the graffiti itself has been disparate, and there has
been no attempt to collate and present graffiti from the period of 300-700 CE in one volume. Although
an exhaustive overview of all late antique graffiti is not possible, this thesis presents the first collection
of interregional late antique graffiti carved upon the architecture of public spaces in the eastern
Mediterranean, accompanied by an analysis of these texts and images.

Thematically, this thesis follows two key strands. The first strand approaches graffiti from a personal
standpoint, establishing the commemorative and religious roles graffiti held for the late antique
individual. The second strand examines graffiti from a spatial perspective, physically locating graffiti
within the urban landscape of the eastern Mediterranean, and examining the interplay between
informal inscriptions and their tangible environment. This section also considers graffiti in relation to its
epigraphic environment, and the direct interaction between graffiti and formal visual culture of

This thesis concludes by examining the universalities and distinctions which exist in the late antique
graffiti tradition, with focus on how local practices were informed by broad trends (and vice versa).

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general


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