For the third of our four lessons on epigraphy, we will be climbing the steps of the Colosseum’s cavea up to the intermediate gallery located between the second and third tiers of seating.
Our third meeting with Professor Silvia Orlandi revolves around a single color: red. Red like the plaster that covered the walls of the passageway we are exploring tonight and red like the pigment used to make one of the rarest epigraphic documents that one can hope to find: painted letters.
After the raised bronze letters of the inaugural inscription and the characters carved into the spectators’ loca, Professor Orlandi, accompanied by archaeological official Elisa Cella, will illustrate the Colosseum’s tituli picti: commercial inscriptions consisting of numbers, names and even symbols, like a palm and crown, used to give information regarding quarry operations such as the inventorying, storage and transportation of travertine blocks to the amphitheater’s construction site.
Hidden for centuries from the thousands of spectators who unwittingly crossed this gallery to reach their seats on game days, these inscriptions were brought back to light following the 2012-2016 restoration campaigns conducted in this area of the Colosseum.
We will talk about all this on Monday 8 February at 21:00, across our social media channels, to discover the lesser known parts of the Colosseum, where “History becomes word”.