One strand of the multidisciplinary approach taken by the Commission de Topographie des Gaules (CTG) was epigraphy, which became a significant line of research and gave rise to unprecedented investigations.
Specialists at the centre of a vast network
In 1859, epigraphic investigations were placed under the responsibility of General Casimir Creuly. Alongside him were Pierre-Charles Robert (1812-1887) and Léon Renier (1809-1885), one of the founding fathers of epigraphy in France. These specialists travelled all over Gaul, in particular visiting regional museums and private collectors. They also made use of the documentation they had amassed during their own research, as well as that of other CTG members from their missions. They particularly benefited from the vast network of local curators and scholars that had been established, including Charles Cournault in Nancy, Paul Tournal in Narbonne and Louis Revon in Annecy.
A considerable amount of documentation
All this work led to the collection of a considerable amount of material, with Casimir Creuly and Pierre-Charles Robert respectively providing 23 and 16 notebooks organised topographically. Together these notebooks contained thousands of inscriptions from all over Gaul. In addition, more than 500 estampages and drawings were sent by regional correspondents and centralised by the CTG. This documentation is remarkable for the size of the geographical area it covers, the whole of Gaul including Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Belgica. When the question arose of the project’s continuation by the Commission de géographie historique de l’Ancienne France, this vast geographic spread was confirmed with the creation of an index of Gallic inscriptions.