chapter  1
25 Pages

Introduction

BySean V. Leatherbury

While inscriptions have increasingly been analyzed for their visual and material components and contexts, the Greek, Latin, and other texts painted, carved, and written in mosaic into the churches, synagogues, and mosques of the late antique Mediterranean have largely been overlooked. This chapter sets out the main aims of the book: to put the texts back into their architectural contexts; to investigate the similarities and differences between inscriptions in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic houses of worship, as well as their relationship to their Roman predecessors; and to focus on the visual properties of the texts. After providing a summary of the book’s contents, the chapter investigates the general epigraphic developments that occurred between the Roman and late antique period, and the issue of literacy, which should be viewed as a flexible spectrum.