CHS-AUTH 2018-2019 Fellows | Angelos Boufalis

Local Scripts in Archaic Macedonia

As a CHS-AUTh Fellow in Hellenic Studies, I studied the Local Scripts in Archaic Macedonia. This study sought to cover a void in Lilian H. Jeffery’s Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (1961) by reviewing the epigraphic material from Northern Greece that has been unearthed and published since then, and determining the extent to which alphabetic script was adopted and used in Macedonia. Thus, I reviewed all published inscriptions through ca. 400 BCE, made an inventory of all distinctive letterforms, and produced distribution maps for every letter but also merged ones of particular local scripts appearing throughout Macedonia. Jeffery’s conclusion, on the basis of the early fifth century BCE thraco-macedonian coinage — that no script was developed in Northern Greece until the ionic was adopted — proved to be right, although not thoroughly accurate. Apparently, a few different local scripts, borrowed by neighboring regions, were in use in Macedonia, but only in one specific region one of them was provisionally adopted, while the ionic influence was probably furthered by the Cycladic colonies in the Strymonic region, rather than brought from Ionia by Eastern Greeks.

The support of CHS for this research project was invaluable. Having full access to the vast library and electronic resources of the Center for Hellenic Studies and Harvard University libraries, I was able to supplement those of my home institution. But on top of that, the Fellowship gave me the opportunity to work with the academic support of leading classicists, while presenting and disseminating the results of my research through CHS gave me a wider audience to draw feedback from.

Especially important was the 10-days visit to the CHS campus in Washington D.C. There I found myself in an ideally structured atmosphere fostering an all-round academic, social and cultural experience among fellows and visiting scholars, as well as the library and administrative staff. Presenting my research to such an audience of different academic backgrounds and receiving their critique was particularly constructive towards its completion and future publication (a preliminary version features on FirstDrafts@Classics@, and a comprehensive report in CHS Research Bulletin 7). Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to use the Research Library of another Harvard University institute, Dumbarton Oaks, where I was able to cover much more bibliographical ground. On a final note, the visit to Washington D.C. gave me not only another perspective on academic matters, but also an opportunity to acquaint myself with modern North American history and culture.

Overall, the CHS-AUTh Fellowship brought me into an academic environment that not only supported in manifold ways my research but offered me also a unique opportunity to be part of the small but diverse and far-reaching community of CHS that was by itself a fully rewarding experience.

Angelos Boufalis

Angelos Boufalis received his BA in Archaeology and History of Art from the University of Crete, Greece, and his MA in The Classical Mediterranean from the University of Leicester, UK. He is now a PhD student at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where he is also a member of the Epigraphy and Papyrology Laboratory, working on his thesis on The Inscriptions of the Archaic and Classical Period in Macedonia. He has previously worked as a contract archaeologist and as a research assistant in archaeological and interdisciplinary research projects. His research interests include Greek epigraphy, archaic and classical archaeology and history, ancient literacy, the ancient timber trade, as well as modern place-names and ethnography.