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!
This site, part of Roger Pearse’s Tertullian.org, serves as both an introduction to the history and iconography of Mithraism suitable for undergraduate instruction and an extensive collection of primary sources useful for original research. In particular, all references to the cult in classical literature have been assembled, when possible in English translation. Even more impressively, the “Catalogue of Monuments and Images,” based on Maarten Vermaseran’s 2 volume work Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithraicae (The Hague, 1956), provides images when available of the diverse material sources for Mithraism, from paintings to architectural plans (some of the photographs are by Pearse). This is supplemented by a list of recent discoveries and sometimes their associated images, including the London Mithraeum uncovered in 2013. Although there is no search functionality, when one knows what to look for, or just feels like browsing, this is an exceptionally useful and convenient site. There is also a fascinating section on Mithras items (in some cases their identity is uncertain) for sale on eBay and elsewhere.
The Ammianus Marcellinus Online Project, led by Jan Willem Drijvers at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is a developing resource on this central historian of Late Antiquity, whose virtues are extolled by authors both ancient and modern. It includes an introductory biography and bibliography on general works, as well as a list of editions, translations, commentaries, and concordances. The schematic representation of the structure of the Res Gestae, based partially on T.D. Barnes work in Ammianus Marcellinus and the Representation of Historical Reality (1988) is also helpful for presenting overviews in, say, graduate seminars or for assessing the scope of the extant work. Finally, there is a collection of original short essays by various contributors. This will be an important site of basic reference, and a useful complement to the ongoing “Dutch commentary” on Ammianus, in which Drijvers is involved.
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!
This very popular Spanish blog, entitled “El Blog de Antonio Piñero,” contains posts by its namesake, a Professor of Greek Philosophy at la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, as well as weekly contributions by Gonzalo Del Cerro and Fernando Bermejo-Rubio. These are helpfully written for a general audience, with an overall focus on the historical Jesus and the New Testament. However, Piñero and Bermejo were both involved in the Spanish translation of the Nag Hammadi Library, and the blog does reflect this broader reach. Bermejo-Rubio in particular has a number of interesting posts on varied topics in Late Antique religions, such as Apollonius of Tyana and Manichaeism.
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.
The LMPG en línea is a digitized version of Luis Muñoz Delgado’s Léxico de magia y religion en los papiros mágicos griegos (2001), volume 5 of the Diccionario Griego-Español. One can brose the particular vocabulary of the Greek magical papyri in alphabetical order (“Lemas”), or in the form of a reverse dictionary (“Inverso”), a wonderful tool for reconstructing lacunose texts. Finally, one can browse through the magical papyri themselves, or at least the selections from them that are quoted in the dictionary; and search for key words in Greek or Spanish (“Búsqueda”). There is also a helpful section on the history of scholarship on magic, as well as the project’s lexicographical methodology, followed by a bibliography. Continue reading