Architraval Arrogance? Dedicatory Inscriptions in Greek Architecture of the Classical Period

by Gretchen Umholtz

Hesperia, Volume 71, Issue 3
Page(s): 261-293
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3182028
Year: 2002


Current orthodoxy considers the proliferation of architraval inscriptions naming the donors of architectural dedications in the middle of the 4th century a striking departure from Greek practice of the High Classical period, when modest self-effacement is supposed to have been the rule. I argue, however, that a comprehensive view of the evidence suggests substantial continuity rather than drastic change: that inscribing personal names on the architraves of Greek buildings is not the product of foreign influence or royal arrogance, nor an appropriation by individuals of rights previously exercised only by the state, but rather a natural and predictable manifestation of widespread Greek votive and epigraphical habits of long standing.