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Full Version: Diploma Engraver\'s "Fingerprints"?
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Ave!

I have a theory about Roman Military Diplomas.

What do we know about them?

We know that they were a pair of bronze tablets with dimensions of approximately 8" x 6" (20 cm x 15.7 cm) and that they were engraved on both sides. We also know that they were created by engravers based in Rome copying from a large original.

Some statements about our abilities.

We have the ability to map DNAs.
We have the ability to match handwriting.
We have the ability to match fingerprints.
We have the ability to match mugshots.
We have the ability to match voices.

During the last world war we could recognise an operator's "fist" when they were tapping out morse code.

Let us take a gigantic imaginative leap at this stage.

What if we could create a programme that could compare diplomas and match the work back to the actual individual engravers.

What if we could create a programme that could compare diploma fragments and match them with complete diplomas.

Not unlike a jigsaw puzzle, we would be able to overlay our virtual fragment over a complete diploma seeking a match.

We could have a database of images with all physical characteristics recorded ie. dimensions, size of letters, engraver's "fingerprint", etc.

Our theorical programme would take a snapshot of each letter and search the entire database seeking a match.

From one word or lettter we could recreate much of the diploma and be able to date it.

We would know who engraved our fragment and many others.

We may even be able to match fragments to a single diploma using these methods.

Does anyone know of a caligraphy programme that could be adapted to perform any of the above?

These engravers were obviously skilled artisans. Were they slaves, freedmen or citizens and was this their sole occupation? Did they work together in teams? If they were freedman or citizens were they paid per diploma or by the hour? Did they belong to a guild? Were they male only or were women engraving diplomas too? Perhaps they were children? What aids did they use? Did they use straight edges or engrave free-hand?

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
Nice idea, but I suspect that we simply lack the number to be able to build up a sufficient database. These certificates were copied by the hundreds, probably in workshops in Rome, so there must have been dozens of people working on them at any one time.
Quote:Nice idea, but I suspect that we simply lack the number to be able to build up a sufficient database. These certificates were copied by the hundreds, probably in workshops in Rome, so there must have been dozens of people working on them at any one time.

Ave Jasper,

I'm sure all that you say is most probably correct.

However, a little search via Google turned up OCR or Optical Character Recognition.

OCR works by comparing a scanned copy document against a database of fonts.

Perhaps this could be adapted to perform the tasks as outlined in my opening post?

What if those fonts were sets of images from diplomas? With each diploma producing it's own unique font?

I know that it's a bit of a stretch, interesting, eh?

What do you think?

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
sounds like a good subject to get a PhD in Ancient history or Computer applications.
Quote:sounds like a good subject to get a PhD in Ancient history or Computer applications.

Ave Caius Fabius,

Wouldn't it be something if I were able to achieve both? Sadly, in my case, probably not a possibility.

I would like to continue expanding on the theme that I began in the opening post.

All Roman Military Diplomas (RMDs) contain upper case characters, a combination of letters used as numbers and letters.

The Roman numbering system consisted of the seven letters I (1), V (5), X (10), L (50), C (100), D (500) and M (1,000).

However, as the numbers used in RMDs were generally lower than 50, the letters I, V and X were the only ones needed.

The Roman alphabet, during the first and second centuries, didn't contain the letters J, U, W or Z, these were discovered and utilised later.

This means that, in RMDs, we are only dealing with 22 characters. The three letter/numbers are included in our total.

The Roman engravers differentiated between numbers and letters, in RMDs, by inscribing a line above each number or group of numbers (see the attached fascimile). I applaud their fore-thought.

The Roman engravers separated words, in RMDs, by inscribing a dot between them (see the attachment), they hadn't gotten around to inventing punctuation yet. Although, fortunately, an English translation will indicate where punctuation marks should be inserted.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

To be continued

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo