Digital Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, like many institutions with important manuscripts, is digitizing their collection; a Preservation and Access grant from the NEH is supporting the creation of images for their Byzantine, Armenian, and Ethiopian holdings.  The Walters Art Museum’s approach, however, is multi-faceted: one can flip through “digital surrogates” of select manuscripts, especially in the Islamic collection, including this copy of the Shahname; or download digital images of others, such as this Syriac Galen, on a different site.  Most innovative, perhaps, is their creation of a Flickr stream with images from their archiving project, which may indeed be an effective way to have these manuscripts reach a broader audience. Continue reading

Digital Roman Forum in Late Antiquity

This ground-breaking project, undertaken between 1997 and 2005 at the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory, under the direction of Bernard Frischer and Diane Favro, still remains the most important visual reference for the Roman Forum, a useful archive of literary and iconographic sources, and a standard for online visualization projects of ancient sites.  The Digital Roman Forum project aims to reconstruct the appearance of the Forum in Late Antiquity (400 CE), on a building-by-building basis.  The reconstruction of each monument is presented as a series of still images from various perspectives, as well as Panorma and Object movies; bibliographic information is included as well. 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

Virtual Reconstruction of Late Antique and Medieval Constantinople (Byzantium 1200)

This site offers a set of 3-d reconstructions with a CAD program of the major monuments of Constantantinople, as they appeared around 1200 (a few years before the city was sacked during the Fourth Crusade).  According to its introduction, Byzantium 1200 is the creation of an independent researcher (for whom no name is given), in collaboration with Albrecht Berger, then of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Istanbul, now Professor of Byzantine Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich.

Each building was reconstructed using a combination of earlier sketches, ancient and medieval reports, and, in some cases, original on-site surveying in Constantinople. 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

Coptica by Pierre Cherix

This is a premier site for Coptic studies, run by Pierre Cherix of the Université de Genève, containing both original research tools and an excellent selection of e-Books, presented for convenient browsing.  Among the former is his “Lexique copte (dialecte sahidique),” which is available for download as a searchable pdf, and lists Coptic words of Greek or Latin origin (noticeably lacking from Crum); I will include a discussion of another tool, his “Index grec-copte,” in a separate post on “Graeco-Coptica.” Continue reading

Last Statues of Antiquity Database

This recently activated site is described as “a searchable database of the published evidence for statuary and inscribed statue bases set up after AD 284, that were new, newly dedicated, or newly reworked.”  The project is directed by R.R.R. Smith and Bryan Ward-Perkins at Oxford University, where the site is hosted; the database was produced by a large international team of contributors, with funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council. Continue reading

Red Monastery Video at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From March 14-July 8, 2012, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a special exhibition, “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition.”  The exhibition has a strong online presence, including an extraordinary video of the Red Monastery, one of the best-preserved examples of Late Antique church architecture, especially noted for its vibrantly colored paintings. Continue reading

Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity

This site, from the (relatively) early days of the web, is the result of an exhibit at the Kelsey Museum of the University of Michigan, curated in 1996 by Gideon Bohak, who has recently published Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (Cambridge, 2008).  Included are “Recipe books,” papyri with instructions for assembling various ingredients as part of the spell; a particularly rich collection of papyri amulets and gems, mostly from Campbell Bonner’s Studies in Magical Amulets: Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian (Ann Arbor, 1950), including the famous cock-headed anguiped “IAO;” Continue reading

Index of Armenian Art

A very important resource for Armenian art, maintained by the Armenian Studies program at California State University Fresno, including an index of Armenian architecture (mostly ecclesiastical), and an index of illuminations in medieval Armenian manuscripts.  The first index features a list of churches by architectural type, for each of which there is an extensive description, usually including a floor plan, picture, and sometimes even a video.  Major Late Antique foundations such as Etchmiadzin figure prominently. Continue reading