The Epigraphical Museum is unique in Greece and the largest of its kind in the world. It safeguards 13,510, mostly Greek, inscriptions, which cover the period from early historical times to the Late Roman period, primarily in Greece.
The museum is housed in the south wing ground floor of the National Archaeological Museum. It comprises an internal and external courtyard (atrium), a lobby, eleven rooms, a large hypostyle Pi-shaped corridor, a gallery, offices, a laboratory for the conservation of inscribed stone monuments and lavatories. Only the courtyards, lobby and four rooms are open to the public; the other premisces are accessible only to researchers and staff.
The purpose of the museum, which is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture, is to safeguard, protect, conserve, display and promote the epigraphical collections that it contains. The museum also aims to comprise photographic and impression archives and a specialized epigraphy library. Moreover, a digital catalogue of the inscriptions is currently under construction, so that the collection can be accessible digitally to future visitors.
The inscriptions in the permanent collection of the Epigraphical Museum are, mostly, Greek and come mainly from Attica. A small number (about 40) of Latin and Hebrew funerary inscriptions of the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries come from Mystra. Most of the inscriptions (98%) are carved on stone or marble, but there are also stamped amphora handles and inscribed clay roof-tiles. Chronologically, the inscriptions range from the eighth century BC to the Late Roman period, with the exception of a few examples which date to the Byzantine and Modern era.
The display in the lobby and in the more recent rooms (9 and 10) follows contemporary museological standards and aesthetic considerations, and has mainly an educational character. In the other rooms, the exhibits were grouped according to the shape and size of the stone blocks, and the type and contents of the inscription. The most important examples on account of their contents (honorary decrees, alliance treaties, lists, economic accounts etc) are displayed in the lobby and in rooms 1 and 2, which are open to the public.
The visitor has at their disposition the information summary provided by the bilingual (Greek and English) exhibit panels and the special volumes containing the ancient texts of those inscriptions displayed in the new rooms (9 and 10). Bibliographical references for the other inscriptions are available on their labels, so that the visitor can look up the relevant publication in the museum's library. The computer in the lobby provides general information on the history of Greek writing.
Author: M. Tsouli, archaeologist
- Address: 1 Tositsa, 10682 Athens
- Admission: Full: €4, Reduced: €2 Special ticket package: Full: €15, Reduced: €8 Valid for National Archaeological Museum, Epigraphic Museum, Numismatic Museum and Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens. Valid for: Byzantine and Christian Museum, Epigraphic Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Numismatic Museum Free admission days 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri) 18 April (International Monuments Day) 18 May (International Museums Day) The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days) 28 October Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
- How to get there: Access to the Museum is possible by all transportation means. Visitors could use the Metro, Line 1 (Kifissia - Piraeus), "Victoria" and "Omonoia" stops and Line 2 "Omonoia" stop.Trolleys (nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 15), "Polytechneio" stop and buses (Α8, Β8, Γ8, 608, 622, 054, 022, 224:Patission str), (Α6, Α7: V. Irakleiou str), (Β5: Ipeirou str). The Museum is closed to the starting point of suburban buses of Attica (Pedion Areos).
- Schedule: Monday: closed. Tuesday - Sunday: 8:00-15:00. Last admission fifteen (15) minutes before closing Closed: 1 January, 25 March, 1 May, Easter Sunday, 25 December, 26 December
- Phone: (+30) 210 8232950, 210 8217637