- The Commission de Topographie des Gaules
- An epigraphic investigation
- Epigraphists at the centre of scientific networks
The epigraphic project found itself at the centre of the scientific networks of its time, thanks to its instigators and, more generally, the Commission de Topographie des Gaules (CTG). The project can be considered to have been at the heart of a cluster of projects and publications which marked the birth of epigraphy as a scientific discipline in the 19th century.
A network of correspondence and scientific collaboration
The CTG members responsible for the epigraphic project were at the centre of a dynamic network of correspondence and scientific collaboration. They benefited from the CTG network, but also brought with them their own scientific renown: even before his nomination to the commission, General Creuly had been known for the scientific nature of his work and had his own network of collaborators. In particular, he had contributed to the founding of the Société archéologique de Constantine and he regularly published articles in the Revue archéologique. In the notebooks that have been conserved, the earliest copies of inscriptions date from long before the creation of the CTG. The commission also became a central part of this scientific network and was regularly consulted for its expertise on newly-discovered inscriptions.
Léon Renier and the Recueil des inscriptions de Gaule
Within these scientific networks, one figure stands out: Léon Renier, who participated in the CTG’s epigraphic project from 1861. From 1854, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, he led the project Recueil des inscriptions de Gaule, in collaboration with François-Ferdinand de Guilhermy and Edmont Le Blant. The latter was entrusted with the medieval part of the project. This collection of Gallic inscriptions was never published, and in 1867, a part of the preparatory works was integrated into the Prussian project, the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.