Vice Director’s Research Project

Vice Director Tuomo Nuorluoto’s research project Emotions in Latin Epigraphy investigates emotions in ancient Latin inscriptions. The central research questions include the following: How were emotions expressed in inscriptions? In what contexts were these methods used? What were the objectives behind them? In the study, Latin epigraphy is linked to the history of emotions, a mainstream theoretical framework of historical research.

Historical actors and experiencers are composed of individuals and groups who feel emotions and whose actions are guided by emotions. In other words, it is impossible to understand why we act the way we do without taking into account emotions. In Nuorluoto’s research, inscriptions are a significant source material not only because they are available in large quantities but also because their authors represent various social classes and geographical areas.

Nuorluoto studies inscriptions to deepen his understanding of the history of emotions and also to better understand the ways in which emotions were expressed in Roman epigraphic culture. Therefore, it is essential in the research to consider both the linguistic content of the inscriptions and their spatial and monumental aspects.

Nuorluoto is particularly interested in inscriptions that contain direct addresses where the reader’s emotions could be appealed to, for example, by using the voice of a deceased person. Other interesting aspects include the gendered nature of emotional expression (e.g. mourning) in antiquity and the creation and maintenance of emotional communities using public inscriptions.

PhD Nuorluoto has a background in classical philology. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Helsinki with a major in Latin language and Roman literature and earned his doctoral degree from Uppsala University with a thesis titled “Roman Female Cognomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women.” His research has primarily focused on Roman nomenclature and inscriptions, and he has taught Latin language, Roman literature, Roman history, mythology and epigraphy, among other subjects. Nuorluoto serves as vice director at the institute until 2026.