CARMEN explores Roman verse inscriptions as an important manifestation of communal art in Roman literary and visual culture. Carmina Latina Epigraphica, a corpus of some 4000 inscribed poems and poetic texts, were inscribed on publicly exposed monuments or objects used in public or private contexts. Exposed on lasting material such as stone, these poems accompanied the Roman Empire in its ever-changing configurations from the early third century BCE to Late Antiquity in an unbroken tradition that continues into the early Middle Ages and beyond.

Studying poetry in the epigraphic Roman tradition will help to regain an eminent body of European folk art tradition that could be produced and consumed by everybody, even semi-literates, perhaps even illiterates.

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