Lineamenti per una storia della critica della falsificazione epigrafica
This article offers the first comprehensive investigation of the history of scholarship related to epigraphic forgeries. Fake inscriptions were already produced in Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages, but their number began to rise dramatically from the Renaissance onwards. By the mid-1500s, scholars became attentive of the risks of using fake sources for antiquarian purposes, while in the 17th and 18th centuries they started isolating forged or suspect texts within specific sections of their new epigraphic corpora. Tentative sets of criteria for isolating non-genuine inscriptions were first identified by Scipione Maffei around 1720, but an actual epistemology for epigraphic criticism was only developed by Theodor Mommsen and his collaborators in the mid-1800s. Since then, most corpora and critical editions have, often implicitly, followed their scientific principles. Current scholars should be well aware of them, because they can present both considerable rewards and serious shortcomings.
Keywords: Theodor Mommsen • Classical scholarship • Fake inscriptions • Epigraphic forgeries • Critical editions