Im referring to epigraphic inscriptions. Given
the increasing ephemerality of media, it seems astounding to me
that these objects, through sheer physical durability, have survived
for thousands of years. Not dependent upon compatible operating
systems or the vagaries of laminated plastic disks, their data remains
fully accessible for interpretation. Hardly a scholar, even I am
able to figure out, with the help of a Latin dictionary, the literal
content of, say, a Roman tablet from 50 B.C.
And despite their rarified, museological status, much of the content
of these ancient texts is not so different from spam: FIGHTS WITH
MARCUS HOT BATHS FOR LONG LIFE AND VIRILITY
Or there is the altar or religious commemorative, in which
a Roman citizen would dedicate an inscription to his favorite deity.
It occurs to me that these are less like spam and are more akin to the countless homespun
web sites devoted to a given individuals favorite pop icon.
While it is interesting to know that someone named Titus dedicated
a small inscribed panel to the goddess Diana because he saw her
"in a vision," or that Marcuss baths offered both
fresh and sea water, or that one could watch the gladiatorial fights
at Pompeii under "an awning to keep off the sun," it seems
incredible that this information has survived, given the acres of
content produced in our own time films, print publications,
raw data that is already or may soon be inaccessible in any