Oinoanda's most famous and, many would say, most precious possession is the massive Greek inscription, which, probably in the first half of the second century AD, was set up by a citizen named Diogenes, who must have been both wealthy and influential. ‘Having reached the sunset of life’, he used the wall of a stoa to advertise the moral benefits of Epicurean philosophy not only to his fellow-citizens, but also to foreign visitors, and not only to his contemporaries, but also to future generations. In fulfilment of his philanthropic mission he expounded Epicurus' teachings on physics, epistemology, and ethics in writings which may have occupied 260m2 of wall-space and contained 25,000 words. The work, as well as being remarkable as an epigraphic colossus, is a valuable source of information about one of the most important philosophies in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Eighty-eight fragments of Diogenes' inscription were found by French and Austrian epigraphists between 1884 and 1895. I took up the search in 1968–73, discovering 38 new fragments and rediscovering most of the 19th-century finds. My work led on to the topographical and epigraphical survey, sponsored by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (BIAA) and directed by the late Alan S Hall in 1974–75–76–77–81–83 — a survey which not only revealed more of Diogenes' work, but also yielded other epigraphical finds and, thanks above all to the work of James J. Coulton, significantly increased our knowledge of Oinoanda's history and buildings.