2016 Annual meeting of the American School of Oriental Research
San Antonio (TX, USA), November 16th-19th 2016
The 2016 ASOR Annual Meeting will be held in San Antonio, TX from November 16th to 19th at the La Cantera Resort and Spa. The Annual Meeting brings together ASOR’s vibrant academic community to present their current findings and discuss their research. The conference attracts over 1,000 scholars and enthusiasts of archaeology, linguistics, geography, epigraphy, anthropology, and other fields related to the study of the ancient Near East.
Emilia Mataix Ferrándiz, on behalf of the ERC project Rome’s Mediterranean Ports will give a paper the saturday 19th within the session Materiality of communication
Rethinking the Roman Epigraphy of Merchandise: A Metapragmatic Approach
by Emilia Mataix Ferrándiz
Inscriptions held on commercial objects (amphorae, barrels, etc.) refer to the products and to the parties involved in their production, commercialization, and distribution, and need to be studied in relation to the legal schemes applicable in commerce. This investigation allows them to be associated to broad categories, such as property, liability, or obligation. However, they appear shortened, or written in a careless way, thus being recognizable only by people working in the commercial context. This lexicon facilitated a remote dialogue between producers, intermediaries, and consumers, as well as established a communication code understandable inside the commercial world where these objects were employed. The relation among these inscriptions, which concern different data, such as weight, the name of the seller, controlling marks, and so forth, hides behind the phenomena of a political economy, monopolies, ownership, or liability coming from the agreements held among parties. One of the elements that speaks most strongly to a relatively high level of integration of the Roman Empire is the commerce performed along different shorelines. Long distances and cultural differences point to the fact that there might have been some common practices involved in developing such commercial networks. Some of these common practices are reflected on these commercial inscriptions on objects. Consequently, a metapragmatic revision of what these inscriptions mean in their particular context helps us understand many traits of trade, because they describe these actions of exchange in the writings.