City of Rome boundary stone found, and limits of imposition

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City of Rome boundary stone found, and limits of imposition

Post by StephenGoranson »

One of several reports on the discovery, in situ, of a city of Rome inscribed boundary stone, a pomerium cippus, is here: ... ll-excited

I selected this report by Candida Moss because of this paragraph:

“One of the distinctive features of the inscription is its use of the digamma, a now obsolete letter that—according to the ancient tabloid writer Suetonius—was Claudius’s own invention. It was one of three letters that Claudius introduced into the Roman alphabet: the antisigma Ↄ or ↃϹ, which resembles a backwards C or back-to-back Cs (yes, like the Chanel logo) ; Ⱶ a half H which seems to have been a short vowel sound; and the digamma Ⅎ a turned F that represented a consonantal U and sounded like a “w.” Suetonius tells us that Claudius even wrote a book to explain the theory behind them. The letters quickly fell into disuse but they were a part both of Claudius’ antiquarian interest in the esoteric and a growing first century CE interest in linguistic symbols and their function. In her excellent book Empire of Letters, MIT associate professor Stephanie Frampton explains that Claudius’ introduction of new letters was seen as part of a tradition whereby language and the alphabet developed over time. Tacitus tells us that it was once Claudius “discovered that not even Greek writing was begun and completed at one time” that he decided to design “some additional Latin characters.” Unlike those devised by other peoples, however, they didn’t catch on. Ironically, even the sizeable power of the emperor could not guarantee that people change the alphabet. It’s only on border stones and similar imperially mandated inscriptions that we can see evidence of Claudius’s failed innovation. His display of power is also a testimony to the limits of his authority.”

A useful reminder against a certain class of conspiracy theories. Even Roman Emperors had limits.
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Secret Alias
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Re: City of Rome boundary stone found, and limits of imposition

Post by Secret Alias »

Doesn't mean they didn't try. Failing is divine, Jesus on the Cross. Even god has his limits. As Nietzsche asked, how can god be tragic? (paraphrase) I think in a Dionysian worldview it was divine even to fail at being divine.
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