Annika Ström: Monumental Messages

Scripta maiora 3

Annika Ström, Monumental Messages. Latin Inscriptions on Tombstones and Church Bells in Medieval Sweden (2002, 144 s.). 50 SEK.

Monumental messages are present on several types of artefacts in medieval Sweden. In this book, focus is on the use, purpose and appearance of Latin epigraphy on tombstones and church bells in the provinces of Västergötland, Östergötland, Södermanland and Uppland. The aim of the book is to discuss and analyze these inscriptions – a corpus containing more than 1 000 texts – from different perspectives, for instance the geographical distribution and the choice of using the Latin language. Why did certain churches use Latin, while others did not? Were there certain external factors that influenced the production of inscriptions? Qualitative aspects are also brought forward. The book shows how regional and social variation can be traced in the formulation of the texts and contents. The inscriptional genre is discussed as to contents and development in time and space. Finally, the Latin inscriptions are compared to similar material written in Swedish and to the epigraphic traditions of Europe. To what extent were the Swedish inscriptions influenced by those found in Europe?