The Roman Cult of Mithras by Roger Pearse

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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.

http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/display.php?page=main

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TM Magic

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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.

http://www.trismegistos.org/magic/

 

Prêtres Civiques: A Prosopography of Imperial Cult Officials in Roman Asia Minor

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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.

http://www.pretres-civiques.org/

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/

 

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

Visualizing Statues in Late Antiquity

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

Bibliography on the Roman Imperial Cult

This site, administered by John Paul Adams of Cal State-Northridge, is a bibliography of the Roman Imperial Cult, last updated in May 2004.  It is arranged by subject matter: General; Cult Features; Priests and Officials; Individual Emperors; The City of Rome; Army; and The Provinces. Continue reading