Inscribing moral communities in late-antique Burgundy: old values, multivalent meanings, and new avenues of research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The textual content of late-antique Gallic inscriptions has often been overlooked in favour of their ‘factual’ content. This chapter argues for the benefits of studying these epitaphs as texts, with visual and literary strategies. To do so, it focuses on one aspect: moral language. First, it addresses the use of formula books in late-antique Gallic epigraphy. It argues that, while evidence for their existence is limited, patterns in the distribution of moral epithets suggest an actively maintained set of standards. This indicates the importance of the correct moral language, rather than apathy and illiteracy. Second, it considers how the same moral value, caritas, was positioned differently on different epitaphs to emphasise different valences. By altering the material and syntactic placement of the word, and by using different cognates, inscribers used communal values to tell different stories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeath and the societies of late antiquity
Subtitle of host publicationnew methods, new questions?
EditorsGaëlle Granier, Charlotte Boyer, Élisabeth Anstett
Place of PublicationAix-en-Provence
PublisherPresses universitaires de Provence
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9791032004708
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2023
EventDeath and the societies of late antiquity: new methods, new questions? - Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme, Aix-en-Provence, France
Duration: 3 Nov 20215 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameArchéologies méditerranéennes


ConferenceDeath and the societies of late antiquity
Internet address


  • Late antiquity
  • Late Roman Empire
  • Merovingian period
  • Kingdom of Burgundy
  • Epitaph
  • Funerary epigraphy
  • Funerary inscription
  • Virtue


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