The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

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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.

http://www2.szepmuveszeti.hu/talismans/

 

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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

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

Hmmlorientalia by Adam McCollum

This rich blog by Adam McCollum features posts connected to his work as lead cataloguer of Eastern Christian Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, Minnesota.  There are a number of interesting entries about manuscripts which he has examined, including observations about the field of Eastern Christian studies more generally (especially Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Syriac), which is literally centuries behind Classics with respect to cataloguing and editing. Continue reading

Syriac Studies Reference Library

The Syriac Studies Reference Library is a joint project of Brigham Young University and the Catholic University of America, through which a number of foundational scholarly works from the 18th to early 20th century have been scanned from CUA’s own collection and made available online; most are unavailable in Google Books or the Internet Archive.  One can browse by ancient authors, such as Nestorius, and topics, such as hagiography and historiography; or search by keyword.  Textual editions and translations, studies, and research tools are all well represented. 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