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A Portuguese Contribution to 16th Century Roman Antiquarianism: The Case of Aquiles Estaço (1524–1581)

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Chapter Summary

One of the central features in Modern European Culture was the study of Classical Antiquity, in particular the material remains of the past: places, buildings and objects attracted the attention of scholars and erudite men, the so-called 'antiquarians'. Furthermore, Roman epigraphy - texts worked in stone, bronze and other materials - was particularly attractive; an inscription was a text, a materialized message, it was evidence of the past and meant somehow the 'living word of the Romans'. For that reason, many humanists analysed, assessed and copied Roman epigraphy and nowadays we conserve many compilations of inscriptions - syllogai - written by humanists from almost every part of Europe. One of these first 'epigraphers' was Aquiles Estaço, Achilles Statius Lusitanus, a learned Portuguese scholar who contributed an important chapter to Portuguese intellectual history and embodies the phenomenon of antiquarian research in 16th century Rome.

Keywords:16th century; antiquarianism; Aquiles Estaço; epigraphy; modern European culture; Portuguese; Rome



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