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Krateros : Squeezes of Greek Inscriptions at the IAS

Krateros : Squeezes of Greek Inscriptions at the IAS

 


Welcome to Krateros, the digital repository for the collections of epigraphic squeezes at the Institute for Advanced Study.

The squeezes, which are three-dimensional, mirror image impressions of inscriptions, were created and donated to the Institute by the Epigraphical Museum in Athens and some of the greatest epigraphers of the twentieth century, including Louis Robert, Charles Edson, Sterling Dow, and David Moore Robinson. Stephen Tracy, Professor Emeritus of the Ohio State University and former Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, has written an introductory primer on the squeeze collection, and Christian Habicht, the late Professor of Ancient History at the Institute, has provided an overview of the Origin and Development of the squeeze collection. The digitization project is funded with generous gifts by Annette Merle-Smith and the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences.

The digitization of these squeezes is a work in progress, and thus new items will regularly be uploaded. The team’s current focus is on squeezes pertaining to Inscriptiones Graecae Volume II, second edition, i.e., IG II(2). These squeezes will be uploaded in more or less ascending order by their IG II(2) number.

Our squeezes are scanned in greyscale on a large-bed WideTEK25 scanner, utilizing its 3D-Lighting feature. In all cases they are scanned twice: once vertically and once after a 90° rotation. The reasons for this are twofold. First, the 3D-Lighting is adept at revealing geometries that are perpendicular to the lightsource, but less so for geometries that are parallel to the lightsource. By providing two rotations, some surface features that may not appear in one image may appear clearly in the other. Second, the two images can be used with the Digital Epigraphy Toolbox created by The Digital Epigraphy and Archaeology Group at the University of Florida to produce a full three-dimensional representation of the squeeze.

The squeezes are subsequently subjected to some minor adjustments in Adobe Photoshop: (1) they are rotated so that their text faces right-side-up; (2) they are unmirrored, so that their text reads in the same direction as the original inscription; (3) their brightness is adjusted down and their contrast up by a uniform amount to improve readability. In cases where a squeeze is larger than the scanner bed, multiple scans are taken and then "Photomerged" together in Photoshop to form a single image, which is then adjusted as usual.

The images provided here are in 300dpi JPEG format. We have 600dpi TIFF images of both adjusted and unadjusted scans for archival purposes; if you are interested in such files, please contact us at krateros@ias.edu. We can also carry out Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) on small (~10cm x 6cm) subject areas in an effort to improve the visibility of minute three-dimensional features. Again, if you think that such an exercise would be of value to your work, please contact us and we will work out arrangements.

Some brief notes on the metadata accompanying the entries will be useful. Entries include a general date (where known), giving the century or centuries in which the inscription is thought to have been produced. The format for this date is the century in Roman numerals, followed by an “a” for dates BCE and a “p” for dates CE; e.g., IVa would refer to the 4th century BCE, while IIIp would refer to the 3rd century CE. If a more specific date is known or has been theorized for the inscription, this specific date is also included in the form given in IG II(2). The location and language(s) of the inscription are also given, as are links to the Packard Humanities Institute's Searchable Greek Inscriptions tool, which includes a published text of the inscription, and to Attic Inscriptions Online which includes an English translation and some notes (but does not exist for all, or even most, inscriptions). Subjects ranging from the general (“Decree”) to the specific (“Grant of Citizenship”) are included for each inscription, and a short description of the contents of the inscription is given in cases where any specifics can be gleaned.

The images of the squeezes are available for use, but please indicate their origin (including the name of the squeeze collection and the Institute for Advanced Study) and their Krateros ID in your publication. Please also send an electronic copy of your publication to krateros@ias.edu.

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