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.
The Talmud blog, edited by Shai Secunda and Yitz Landes, with regular contributors Amit Gvaryahu, Ophir Münz-Manor, and Ron Naiweld, has a wide variety of posts on Talmudic culture. The topics range from musings on the Israeli movie “The Footnote” (a fascinating drama involving Rabbinics scholarship) to the inscriptions of the Sasanian mage Kerdīr; indeed, a significant number concern Judaism in Late Antiquity, in both the Roman and Sasanian Empires. Conference updates, book reviews, and even surveys of recent dissertations are also included. The toolbox collects a number of useful resources, such as a blogroll and web resources for rabbinic studies; links to digitized books, including e-texts; and a wonderful collection of links to images and transcriptions of Talmudic manuscripts.
Dickinson College Commentaries, created by Professor Chris Francese with a grant from the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies, currently consists of electronic editions of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War, Sulpicius Severus’s Life of Martin, and Ovid’s Amores Book 1. The texts are a combination of previous editions and do not reflect additional manuscript work; rather, the focus is pedagogical, as I can attest from my own use of the site in a Late-Antique Latin seminar I offered this spring. Audio files of the entire text are available for download, and words not in the site’s core vocabulary lists of Greek or Latin (themselves invaluable resources) are glossed; a substantial number of grammatical notes are also provided by Francese. Dickinson College Commentaries is now accepting submissions for electronic editions of additional Latin texts, to be reviewed by the editorial committee, and thus represents a unique, valuable opportunity for publishing digital editions of Greek and Latin texts to be used especially in the classroom.
The Mandaeans are a contemporary religion with communities in Iraq and Iran, as well as an expanding Diaspora in Europe, North America, and Australia; their heritage reaches back to Late-Antique Mesopotamia. Most scholars of religion in Late Antiquity have ignored them, especially after earlier attempts to interpret key Gospel passages through Mandaean literature fell sharply, and deservedly, out of favor. In more recent scholarship, their importance for understanding pre-Islamic religion in Sasanian Iran is slowly being recognized. Yet major texts, such as the Mandaic Book of John, are not available in English translation. Professors Charles Häberl of Rutgers University and James McGrath of Butler University are producing a translation of this Book of John; their work-in-progress is helpfully posted on the project blog. Continue reading
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.
American avant-garde composer Morton Feldman’s “Turfan Fragments” (1980), a piece on the famous (East) Berlin collection now largely available online, can be listened to on YouTube, as performed by the Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, with conductor Petr Kotik:
As a connoisseur of fragmentary ancient texts, I found this agitated work unexpected and inspirational!
Elsewhere on YouTube, there is a documentary on Turfan (“A Heat Wave Called Turfan”), part of a 12-episode series on the Silk Road in English, with joint Japanese and Chinese production.
The Iranian texts discovered at the beginning of the 20th-century during the German excavations of the Turfan oasis constitute a major source for modern scholarship on Manichaeism; like the Nag Hammadi Library, they provide an important corrective to the exclusively polemical accounts that had survived the manuscript transmission. The numerous textual fragments have been patiently published over the past century by a number of scholars, and this critical project is still ongoing.
The Turfanforschung group at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften has published to the web the Digitales Turfan-Archiv, which includes a variety of literature from the Turfan oasis, including “Texte in Manichäischer Schrift,” in the Parthian and Middle Persian languages, as well as some in Old Turkic. This section contains high-resolution images of basically the entire run of texts in Manichaean script, more than 9,200 fragments, catalogued according to the more recent “M” categorization cited in contemporary scholarship (from Mary Boyce’s A Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean Script in the German Turfan Collection [Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1960]); the glass plates show the former “T” categorization:
The Middle Persian and Parthian eTexts for many of these documents is available from TITUS at the University of Frankfurt:
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
Significant portions of two magisterial series of critical editions for Christian texts from Late Antiquity can be easily downloaded from enumerated lists linked to archive.org and Google Books: Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller (GCS), available at Roger Pearse and Patrologia Latina, Graeca, & Orientalis (PLGO; through Scribd); and Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL), also available at Roger Pearse and the PLGO. While all of the texts from the series Sources Chrétiennes, founded in 1942, are still under copyright, useful information on the many volumes can be found on the Institute’s website. Similarly, Brepols Corpus Christianorum, and its various subseries, are under copyright; the Series Latina is available by subscription in the Library of Latin Texts.
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