The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive (VMBA) and Prosopography

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The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive is a collaborative environment for the publication of magic bowls in the Moussaieff, Dehays, and Barakat collections.  It is housed at the University of Southampton, under the direction of Dr. Dan Levene, with a number of other prominent collaborators in Europe, Israel, and North America.  While the archive, which includes photographs and transcriptions, currently has restricted access, The VMBA site contains several useful resources and descriptions of ongoing projects.  These include the Aramaic Magical Texts from Late Antiquity (AMTLA), a BIRAX project conducted by Dr. Dan Levene and Prof. Gideon Bohak, part of which is the valuable prosopography of the Babylonian Magic Bowls, compiled by Dr. Ortal-Paz Saar of Tel Aviv University Continue reading

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The Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art

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1977 was not only the year of Star Wars, it also heralded the Age of Spirituality!  As a follow up to the recent post on Byzantium and Islam, a special exhibit from 2012 with a permanent web presence, I note here that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made available for download a true monument of scholarship on early Christianity and Late Antiquity, produced in conjunction with one of the most important special exhibits ever (“hailed as one of the most important didactic exhibitions ever assembled by an art museum”), The Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century (Nov. 19, 1977-Feb. 12 1978). Continue reading

Byzantium and Islam: A Special/Web Exhibit at the Met

Museums large and small are not only digitizing their inventories; many now also create permanent websites for special exhibitions.  An excellent example of the latter is “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition,” at the Met between March 14 and July 8 2012, one of the best presentations of the material culture of later Late Antiquity, which brought the now widespread academic trend of viewing early Islam within its historical context to a wider audience; Continue reading

Late Antique Inscriptions from Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias, a major site in Turkey where NYU has undertaken substantial excavations since 1961, now also has extensive online documentation for the period of Late Antiquity.  In 2004, Charlotte Roueché published the website “Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity,” an early example of the growing number of internet corpora of Greek and Latin inscriptions; this indeed represented a new stage in digital epigraphy, as it was the (exclusively online) second edition of her print book, Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity: The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions (SPRS, 1989).  While still available on the web, this site has been superseded by “Inscriptions of Aphrodisias” since 2007, an edition of all inscriptions discovered between 1961 and 1994, including a substantial number which were previously unpublished. Continue reading

A Bibliography on Christianity in Palestine/Eretz-Israel

This large bibliographical database covers all periods from the Roman Empire to the present.  Late Antiquity, with the development of the Christian Holy Land, is well represented.  Like the Comprehensive Bibliography on Syriac Christianity, it is hosted at Jerusalem’s Center for the Study of Early Christianity.  The bibliography can be browsed alphabetically by author, year, era (Roman Palestine, Byzantine Palestine, Islamic Period, Crusaders, Mamluk Period, Ottoman Period, and Modernity), or according to a very large number of keywords based on tags for each entry, a feature that offers significant searching power. Continue reading

Islamic Stories and Tombs of Biblical Prophets

The personal website of Brannon Wheeler includes a number of interesting resources for early and medieval Islam.  There is a collection of pages on the biblical prophets, with a resume of Islamic traditions concerning them, abridged from his study of the Qisas al-anbiya, Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis (Continuum, 2002).  Manuscript illuminations are provided for each prophet, though they are not cited – my guess is that they are Persian and Ottoman.  An additional section contains pages on the tombs and shrines of prophets, accompanied by photographs of the contemporary site.  There is a growing field (though one with an extended and highly contested pedigree) on interconnections between early Islamic, Jewish, and Christian tradition, as evidenced, for example, by the recently announced Society for Qur’anic Studies, the organization of which is to be coordinated initially by the SBL. Continue reading

A Hellenistic Bibliography (Eudocia, Nonnus, Orphica, et alia)

This site is compiled and maintained by Martine Cuypers at Trinity College Dublin, with the support of the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek initially and now of the School of Histories and Humanities at TCD.  It is an evolving bibliography (last updated in August 2011), organized into 6 major categories, including Hellenistic Poets, Epigrammatists, and Imperial Greek Poets.  The latter features a number of Late-Antique authors, including Eudocia, Nonnus, and the Orphic Poems, Continue reading