A New Edition of the Corpus of the Personal Names in the Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Syria and Lebanon
The Near East, and particularly the region corresponding to modern Syria, is very rich in Greek inscriptions dating from the Roman to the Byzantine age (approx. 1st century BC – 7th century AD), with a lower but significant number of inscriptions dated to the Hellenistic period (3rd-1st BC), and to Umayyad (661-750) and Abbasid caliphates (750-1258 AD). These inscriptions have been partially collected in the series Inscriptions grecques et latines de Syrie (IGLS, recently restarted after a long interruption), even if many of them still remain published only in journals or excavation reports. There are also many parchments and papyri, both in Greek and Latin, coming essentially from Dura Europos and the Middle Euphrates. They bear a rich variety of proper names, which have never been properly studied and collected.
The aim of the present project is to provide a full reassessment of the personal names recorded in Greek and Latin texts from Syria and Lebanon, and also from other regions of the Roman Empire, if borne by emigrants of demonstrable Syrian/Lebanese origin.
The inscriptions to be included are not only the epigraphs (which in any case constitute the majority of the corpus), but also the parchments, the papyri, the inscriptions on mosaics and the ostraka, that is every (non-literary) Greek and Latin text containing proper names, thus gathering for the first time all the anthroponomastic evidence from this regions. According to modern studies on onomastics, attention will be paid to geographical, historical, and socio-cultural elements, such as provenience, religion, family, profession of the bearers of the name. Moreover, philological analysis will be devoted to Semitic anthroponyms, giving information about etymology (roots, theonyms) and name structure.
These data will be entered in a database collecting all the personal names recorded in the texts. At the end of the project, the collected data will be analyzed in a monograph, and the database will be made accessible to the public.
The collected data will thus provide useful information for the scientific community, increasingly aware of the importance of onomastics and name-giving in philological, historical, cultural and religious studies. Moreover, the use of an open-access database will encourage scholars of different fields to discuss and implement data even after the end of the project, thus giving new impulses both to the study of Semitic anthroponymy, and to the research about the linguistic, cultural, and religious interactions in the Ancient World. The database, a real innovation in the study of Semitic proper names, may be seen as the first step in view of a richer collection of Semitic anthroponymy.
Dr. Giulia Francesca Grassi
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gregor Kratz