Pergamon Resurrected: Reviving Ancient Epigraphy in a Digital Typeface

December 8, 2023

Book, EDJuryMember, Turkey, Typeface

The Pergamon typeface project was developed by Onur Yazıcıgil during his participation in the Gate 27 Ayvalık Artist Residency Program. This digital typeface endeavor focuses on documenting Pergamon’s intricate epigraphic cultural heritage and translating it into a contemporary digital typeface design. The primary aim is to breathe new life into the ancient carved stone inscriptions of Pergamon, dating back approximately 2200 years, by digitizing them and adapting them for modern use. Beyond its practical applications, the project serves as a valuable resource for contemporary designers working with Greek script typography, offering insights into the origins of these letters and enabling the creation of new typographic contexts.
Furthermore, the Pergamon typeface project functions as an educational tool, contributing to the epigraphic and linguistic training of archaeology students. It provides an opportunity for students to study these ancient letterforms in detail. On a personal level, Yazıcıgil was intrigued by the visual journey of these letters and sought to trace the craftsmanship of individuals from two millennia ago. The book accompanying the project includes photographs of the inscriptions, the digital typeface design derived from them, and the visual representation of jewelry created using this typeface as a three-dimensional object. The book also provides brief explanations regarding the design decisions made during the digitization process.
The Anatolian continent, also known as Asia Minor, has been a cultural crossroads for millennia. Pergamon, situated in the Bergama district of Izmir province today, stands as a culturally rich Hellenistic capital and a metropolis during the Roman period in the Mysia region. The twenty-four-letter Greek alphabet, with distinct visual features in various city-states, finds significance in Pergamon, particularly through unique “inscriptions of honour” carved on stone to pay tribute to its rulers. This book showcases a Greek script typeface revivalism project centered on the detailed documentation of Pergamon’s elaborate epigraphic cultural heritage.