Islamic Stories and Tombs of Biblical Prophets

The personal website of Brannon Wheeler includes a number of interesting resources for early and medieval Islam.  There is a collection of pages on the biblical prophets, with a resume of Islamic traditions concerning them, abridged from his study of the Qisas al-anbiya, Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis (Continuum, 2002).  Manuscript illuminations are provided for each prophet, though they are not cited – my guess is that they are Persian and Ottoman.  An additional section contains pages on the tombs and shrines of prophets, accompanied by photographs of the contemporary site.  There is a growing field (though one with an extended and highly contested pedigree) on interconnections between early Islamic, Jewish, and Christian tradition, as evidenced, for example, by the recently announced Society for Qur’anic Studies, the organization of which is to be coordinated initially by the SBL. Continue reading

Last Statues of Antiquity Database

This recently activated site is described as “a searchable database of the published evidence for statuary and inscribed statue bases set up after AD 284, that were new, newly dedicated, or newly reworked.”  The project is directed by R.R.R. Smith and Bryan Ward-Perkins at Oxford University, where the site is hosted; the database was produced by a large international team of contributors, with funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council. 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

Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity

This site, from the (relatively) early days of the web, is the result of an exhibit at the Kelsey Museum of the University of Michigan, curated in 1996 by Gideon Bohak, who has recently published Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (Cambridge, 2008).  Included are “Recipe books,” papyri with instructions for assembling various ingredients as part of the spell; a particularly rich collection of papyri amulets and gems, mostly from Campbell Bonner’s Studies in Magical Amulets: Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian (Ann Arbor, 1950), including the famous cock-headed anguiped “IAO;” Continue reading

Index of Armenian Art

A very important resource for Armenian art, maintained by the Armenian Studies program at California State University Fresno, including an index of Armenian architecture (mostly ecclesiastical), and an index of illuminations in medieval Armenian manuscripts.  The first index features a list of churches by architectural type, for each of which there is an extensive description, usually including a floor plan, picture, and sometimes even a video.  Major Late Antique foundations such as Etchmiadzin figure prominently. Continue reading

Database of Coptic Textiles

The Department of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences offers this unique site has short introductions (with images) to Coptic weaving techniques and textiles, and a searchable photographic database of all 81 Coptic textiles in its Rietz collection; to my knowledge, no online resource of similar scope exists for this important form of Late Antique art. Continue reading