This database of early Christian inscriptions from Rome and its “suburbs,” from the 3rd to the 8th century, is a founding member of EAGLE, the (eventually) comprehensive European Archive of Greek and Latin Epigraphy. Most inscriptions in the project, which is ongoing with 33,162 currently online, were first published in the venerable Inscriptiones Christianes Urbis Romanae, NS vols. I-X. As is customary for digital epigraphy projects, the entry for each inscription includes a bibliography, as well as other helpful, standardized metadata, such as context (if known), material, and iconographic features (also a feature of the Inscriptions of Israel Palestine). This supplementary information will enable strategies of data analysis which are not possible for electronic corpora of literary texts. Somewhat exceptionally, a digital image of the original is included for most entries, which can be difficult for epigraphic databases because of copyright, loss, or destruction; these images are available by an agreement with the Papal Commission of Sacred Archaeology. Finally, revisions of some inscriptions are planned, part of a trend which will eventually make digital (rather than print) publication the standard source for epigraphic data.
This site offers several substantial resources. First, a list of new publications (online and print) on epigraphic culture of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, last updated in January 2014, and covering the years 2008-2013; second, a list of online only resources appearing during the same period, this time listed according to region: Britain/ASE/Ireland; Gaul/Rheinland; Iberia; Italy; North Africa; and the Balkans. Clearly, these represent mostly Latin inscriptions, although other languages from these regions, including Celtic, Neo-Punic, and Hebrew. The databases in these lists include some of the major projects better known to scholars of the earlier Roman Empire, such as Hispania Epigraphica. There is further information on, e.g., professional organizations, links to digitized reference works, and a few scholarly blog entries. The database Curse Tablets of Roman Britain also caught my eye – stay tuned!
The Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine (IIP) is a premier open-access epigraphic database directed by Professor Michael Satlow of Brown University, begun already in 1996. The goal of the project is to digitize the approximately 15,000 published inscriptions from Israel/Palestine, over a broad temporal range, from the Persian Period to the Islamic Conquest (i.e. 500 BCE – 640 CE); approximately 1,500 inscriptions have already been entered. What distinguishes this site from others of similar scope is the multiple languages included: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. One can search the database in any of these languages, or their English translations (the project’s own); by content (e.g., “synagogue” or “church” for inscriptions in synagogues or churches); or by accompanying figures (e.g. cross). Similarly, one can browse by place, date, inscription genre, physical medium, language (including multiple languages such as Aramaic and Greek), and, finally, religion (Jewish, Christian, Pagan, but currently no Samaritan). This powerful tool allows for tracking various expressions (e.g., “one God”), and more generally, epigraphic practices, across the communities of Israel/Palestine. In short, the site is a major resource for the study of the religions of Late Antiquity.
The International Catacomb Society is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the Roman catacombs & those rare vestiges of history that illustrate the common influences on Jewish, Christian, and Pagan iconography and funerary practices during the time of the Roman Empire.” It features an expanding website with already substantial resources, mostly for Rome.
While the substantial archive of images and bibliography is available only to members (dues support the goals of the organization), a substantial (and growing) number of resources are open-access. The “Vaults of Memory” online exhibit, by the Society’s founder, Estelle Shohet Brettman, contains well over one hundred slides with a rich selection of catacomb art and inscriptions accompanied by explanations; in short, excellent material for an introductory class. There is also a helpful glossary of terms; and interactive maps, which clearly situate the catacombs, along with select other monuments, including the tituli churches. An ongoing series of PDF publications on the catacombs, most by Jessica Dello Russo in the series Roma Subterranean Judaica, are also important resources. The site also includes contact information for arranging visits in Rome itself; one site, the catacombs of Priscilla, were recently renovated, and are now included in Google Earth!
The TM Magic Database, administered by Franziska Naether and Mark Depauw, is the newest addition to Trismegistos, a premier information portal for the ancient world, with a focus on Egypt between 800 BC and AD 800. In its own words, it collects “metadata of somewhat “dubious” nature: all things “religion”, “ritual”, “magic” and “divination” / “mantike”.” There are currently 3712 entries. A quick browse through these records suggests that the initial focus is, broadly speaking, “magic” and “divination,” but material such as Isidorus’s hymns to Isis is also present. Researchers can search in one or more categories: publication, editor, and inventory, as well as language/script (primarily Demotic, Greek, and Coptic), provenance, nome, and type (genre); the results can be viewed in any available Trismegistos-collaborating database. As more entries are added, the site will become an increasingly powerful tool for researchers in ancient Egyptian magic.
This important site by Gabrielle Frija is something of an online companion to her recent study of the Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor, Les Prêtres des empereurs. Le culte impérial civique dans la province romaine d’Asie (Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2012). It consists of an extensive database with thoroughly described personal entries, based on extensive epigraphic remains edited in various publications, accompanied by a bibliography. The database can be browsed by city (which includes an interactive map); title of cultic office (in Greek and Latin); alphabetically by priests’ name; or by publication. One can additionally search the personal entries by keyword. This site is a wonderful research tool and represents a pioneering effort to make a corpus of prosopographic data on Late Antique religion available on the web.
This database of magical gems, named after Campbell-Bonner’s famous collection of 1954, is in fact far more extensive, containing over 1,000 items. These are drawn from over 30 collections, including the British Museum, and the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, which is curating the website with the University of Fribourg, under the direction of an international editorial board. According to the site, the database, which is currently expanding, contains “a fourth of the known corpus of magical gems.” Its search functions allow the user to browse the gems by collection, material, place of discovery (only a few of which are known), iconographical schemes and elements, vocabulary (gem inscriptions in Greek and Latin), names, voces magicae, Logoi, and Characteres. The entries themselves contain this information, when available, along with digital images of the gems; these can even be sent as electronic postcards! There is a small glossary and bibliography, which has the helpful feature of noting the gems referred to in each entry. Clearly this is a major resource, which will become even more important as the site grows.
This fascinating and innovative project seeks to give users the experience of how statues (and their inscribed bases) constituted a collective memory among those who participated in the ritual space of the Late-Antique Roman Forum. The PI of “Visualizing Statues” is Diana Favro of UCLA, with Chris Johanson as CI and Gregor Kalas as Fellow; it was developed in UCLA’s Experiental Technologies Center, with the support of the NEH. The site is a model for a smooth interface between 3-d visualization of ancient monuments in their spatial context; 2-d plans of urban spaces; material culture, including statues bases with inscriptions; a timeline, between 284 and 526 CE; and even literary sources, namely Claudian’s portrait of the emperor Honorius’s Consular Procession in 404 CE, a compelling description of Late-Antique imperial ceremony used as a textual basis for framing the experience of the online audience. Continue reading
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
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