Ancient Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Upper Macedonia, Aegean Thrace and Achaia … and more

The humanities components of the National Hellenic Research Foundation have released Pandektis: Digital Thesaurus of Primary Sources for Greek History and Culture.

Readers of CurEp will be particularly interested in the collection entitled “Ancient Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Upper Macedonia, Aegean Thrace and Achaia,” an online and updated publication of three of the corpora of inscriptions the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity (KERA) has produced over the years, namely:

  • EAM = A. Rizakis and J. Touratsoglou, Επιγραφές άνω Μακεδονίας (Ελίμεια, Εορδαία, Νότια Λυγκηστίς, Ορεστίς) (Inscriptions of Upper Macedonia), Athens: Ταμείο Αρχαιολογικών Πόρων και Απαλλοτριώσεων, 1985-)
  • IThrAeg = L. Loukopoulou et al., Επιγραφές της Θράκης του Αιγαίου : μεταξύ των ποταμών Νέστου και Έβρου, Νομοί Ξάνθης, Ροδόπης και Έβρου (Inscriptions of Aegean Thrace), Athens: Κέντρον Ελληνικής και Ρωμαϊκής Αρχαιότητος, Εθνικό ‘Ιδρυμα Ερευνών; ΙΘ΄ Εφορεία Προΐστορικών και Κλασσικών Αρχαιοτήτων, 2005
  • Achaïe II = A. Rizakis, Achaïe II: la cité de Patras, épigraphie et histoire (Inscriptions of Patras), Athens: Κέντρον Ελληνικής και Ρωμαϊκής Αρχαιότητος, Εθνικόν Ίδρυμα Ερευνών, 1998

The website provides further description:

This collection of epigraphic texts represents part of the epigraphic archives of the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity (KERA), which were progressively constituted since 1980 with permission and in collaboration with the corresponding Department of Antiquities of the direction of Antiquities of the Greek Ministry of Culture, to promote the systematic study and scientific exploitation of epigraphic texts as primary sources for the history, institutions, language, religion and culture of specific Greek regions in Greek and Roman Antiquity.

The collection comprises three sets of published ancient inscriptions on stone ([1058 records;] the lower limit being the 7th century AD) … Supplements to the collection of inscriptions from Upper Macedonia, its bibliographical update, the creation of all digital entries, as well as partial additions and corrections throughout the collection have been undertaken by the Institute’s collaborator K. Lembidaki, with the assistance of K. Ananiadis, A. Vourgali, M. Stavrou, D. Stathaki and V. Psilakakou, under the supervision of P. Paschidis.

Records for individual inscriptions include (e.g., IThrAeg E088):

  • A black-and-white image of a stone or squeeze, served through a client-side java application that permits panning and zooming within a small window; resolutions observed by this reviewer were not very high, but sufficient to read unproblematic letters; original photographs appear to have been quite good, with appropriate light control and contrast.
  • Greek and English titles (which incorporate references to the source publication, e.g., IThrAeg E047)
  • Date
  • Identifiers (e.g., museum inventory numbers)
  • Epigraph file (see below)
  • Spatial (i.e., region and place name, presumably findspot)
  • Subjects (e.g., “funerary inscription”)
  • Rights statement (reproduction of photographs is prohibited absent permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture; copyright on the rest of the data is asserted by the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity of the National Hellenic Research Foundation, but “data may be used freely, provided that there is explicit reference to their provenance.”)

The “epigraph file” for each inscription is a separate HTML document, entirely in the Greek language, providing additional information (e.g., IRThrAeg E088 Epigraph File):

  • Παρούσα θέση (present location)
  • Συνθήκες ευρέσεως (conditions of finding)
  • Περιγραφή (description)
  • Χρονολόγηση (date)
  • Βιβλιογραφία (bibliography); entries here link to a bibliographic list, evidently generated from an XML dataset.
  • Κείμενο (text)
  • Κριτικό Υπόμνημα (critical apparatus)
  • Σχόλια (notes)
  • Εικόνες (images)

It is my understanding that the data in the “epigraph files” have been authored in EpiDoc, and transformed to HTML for the purpose of inclusion in the Pandektis system (a customized DSpace repository). There is no obvious mechanism whereby researchers may obtain copies of the source XML files.

This reviewer did not test searching for this collection; however, see comments below.

Epigraphists and archaeologists working with older modern publications may also find another of the Pandektis collections to be useful: Name Changes of Settlements in Greece. Description:

The Institute of Neohellenic Research, recognizing the importance of study of toponyms (place names) in Greek history, has included in its research activities the study of names of settlements and lesser place names, in the framework of its Research Program ‘Historical study of settlements in Greece (15th-20th centuries)’.
A product of the above program is the current database, ‘Name Changes of Settlements in Greece’, which aims at recording the name changes effected through official administrative acts.

For the time being, the database covers the acts recorded between 1913-1962, a period during which the practice of changing the names of settlements and communities became more frequent, due to the admission of new territories into the Greek state, and to administrative rearrangements at the local level.

4.075 instances of renaming have been recorded so far, distributed geographically as follows: Macedonia 1.759, Peloponnese 750, Sterea Hellas 474, Thessaly 443, Ipeiros 390, Thrace 92, Crete 77, Aegean Islands 58, Ionian Islands 32. In separate fields of the database are recorded the prefecture, the province, the municipality or the community to which the settlement belongs, the code of the settlement, its name at the time of its renaming and the new name that it received, any variations of the old or the new name, the date of the official renaming act and the Official Journal in which it was published.

Leonidas Kallivretakis is the Research Director of the Program, Dimitris Dimitropoulos had the scientific oversight of the current project, while Katerina Dede assured the systematic documentation, organization, verification and updating of the material, as well as the final editing of the database. Eleni Kyramargiou collaborated also in the final stages of the project.

The bilingual (Greek/English) record for each name change cataloged in this database includes:

  • Prefecture
  • Province
  • Community/Municipality Name
  • Settlement code (authority not specified, at least at the record level)
  • Old name
  • Date of renaming
  • Official journal
  • New name

This reviewer was unable to access records by searching for toponyms in Greek or English transliteration … a serious limitation. Inspection of the “advanced search” interface seems to indicate that the only searchable fields are the standard DSpace metadata fields (e.g., author, title, subject). Absent any mechanism for downloading the entire content of the database for local use, browsing via the alphabetic list of “titles” is the only mechanism for exploring the content. Geographic coordinates are not included in the dataset, nor is there any mapping function in evidence.

Thanks to Chuck Jones for the tip.

About Tom Elliott

Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
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