Latin Inscriptions for Digital and Extracurricular Learning

SISTE VIATOR. Latin in Stone 2.0.

SISTE VIATOR – This can often be read on gravestones. But what does the inscription mean? Why is it in Latin? What period does it date from? Who commissioned it and why? Who was supposed to read it?

Latin inscriptions, which can be found in large numbers from antiquity to the present day, usually raise many questions for those looking at them today. Language, writing, abbreviations are puzzling, and we lack historical context. Yet we often stop to read what is written there. And whoever had SISTE VIATOR chiselled on a gravestone wanted exactly that: “Stand still, wanderer” commands the inscription. So we are invited to stop, take our time and enter into a conversation with the inscription.

The [LIDAL] project starts precisely here and pursues three goals: (1) Whoever finds a Latin inscription is invited to report it to us (Citizen Science). We collect them in a database according to previously defined criteria. (2) The focus, however, is on pupils from Austria and Germany working with us to prepare a representative selection of these inscriptions for school teaching (text, translation, notes, questions/answers, etc.) and publish them on a web portal. Pupils will therefore help to decide what needs to be explained. The material is presented in such a way that ‘inscription tours’ – real and virtual – can be created, through which information can be obtained and competences deepened while ‘passing by’. This can be a tour of medieval inscriptions in Graz, but tours to consolidate grammar knowledge, to learn vocabulary or to gain new insights into world or local history are also possible – all individually ‘walkable’ on site or virtually. The web portal is to be used as an innovative tool for digital learning across subjects (Latin, history, religion, etc.) and, above all, for individual learning outside the classroom. The pupils will also have the opportunity to present and discuss their results at an international pupils’ congress. Finally (3), scientific research, e.g. on the use of inscriptions in the classroom, on cross-curricular and cross-border learning or on digitalisation, will provide new insights. Additionally, it is planned to design a version of LIDAL with the support of the pupils that runs on mobile phones and can thus also be used for tourism.

(Photocredit © Privat)