Until the turn of the sixth century, the Parthenon was a protected place of worship, largely free from the devotional or commemorative graffiti scratched by passing pilgrims in other religious spaces.1 The transformation of the Parthenon into a church dedicated to the Theotokos in the fifth or sixth century2 marks the beginning of the Christian epigraphic practice in the temple. Christian inscriptions in the Parthenon, engraved mainly on the western columns, constitute by far the largest corpus of epigraphic finds in Greece; they span six centuries and are dated according to the era of creation – the oldest known example being a funerary inscription of Andreas, bishop of Athens, who died in 6202 (693 AD). These inscriptions, however, are poorly studied and published in outdated editions.3 This explains why their importance as epigraphic records has not been investigated until now. My own investigation of the inscriptions in situ between 2013 and 2018 allowed me both to revise the readings of known inscriptions and to identify about seventy unpublished inscriptions, often unique in epigraphy. Today, there are 295 documented Parthenon inscriptions. This study is part of my research project at the École française d’Athènes, which will result in the publication of a ‘Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes de l’Attique (vie/viie – xiie siècles)’.4 This long research project has led me to map new territories in the study of social realities and usages of epigraphy. The inscriptions found in Attica, especially those of the Parthenon, constitute an excellent laboratory for the study of script, formulas, culture, onomastics, titles, occupations, and administration. They provide a wealth of information on the local society, its concerns with the public written word, and its connection with the divine. These observations contradict Cyril Mango’s thesis of a decisive break in epigraphic communication in the seventh century, due not only to the disappearance of a certain type of civic life, but also to the fact that literary culture was increasingly confined to a small circle and that the majority of the public no longer had access to written communication.5 This thesis, which falls within the wider argument of the cultural, economic, and social rupture of the ‘dark ages’ (a term now largely called into question)6 needs to be nuanced.7 Furthermore, a palaeographic study of the Parthenon inscriptions underscores their exceptional importance in our 212understanding of the evolution of script and epigraphic practices during the seventh and eighth centuries – a period poorly represented in the epigraphy of the Empire, with the exception of Constantinople.