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Friday, May 29, 2009

Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar

Onomastics and Name-extraction in Graeco-Egyptian Papyri

Bart Van Beek (Leuven)

Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar, Summer 2009

Friday 5th June at 16:30, in room STB3/6, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Several Leuven based research projects (see below) are currently studying the onomastics and prosopography of the ‘later’ periods of Egyptian history on the basis of the Greek, Latin, Egyptian and other texts collected in the interdisciplinary platform Trismegistos (www.trismegistos.org). All anthroponyms and toponyms mentioned in the texts are collected. Where no electronic full text corpus is available, data entry is manual, but for Greek papyrology the XML-encoded full-text corpus of the Duke Database of Documentary Papyri (DDBDP) has been put at our disposal. In a first stage, which has almost been completed, we have used the corpus to enlarge the list of personal names which we already had as part of the Prosopographia Ptolemaica. The fact that the DDBDP was in Unicode and had capitalized all proper names was of great help for the process of name extraction. We currently have a corpus of 25723 Greek nominative name variants, which are grouped into 16571 names. The link with Duke will be made on the basis of a database of 207070 declined forms of these name variants. The recognized forms will be stored in a relational database of name references, which will in its turn be the basis for a prosopography; the latter involves identifying different occurrences of a name when they relate to a single person. Information relevant for our research will be incorporated automatically through the link with the Trismegistos text database or added manually in the case of data about name typology and history or about the functions of people. A similar process is also underway for the placenames found in Trismegistos texts.

Our collaboration with the DDBDP has already been a great help to enlarge our database of names, and will be essential for the databases with references and prosopographically identified people. The Leuven project may in the future also be of use to the DDBDP corpus as well. Our added metadata could be re-entered in the full-text corpus as xml-tags, which will enhance the possibilities and efficiency of full-text searches. Names that may be either place names of personal names, e.g., can be distinguished easily; or one could do a search for all people with a certain name ‘x’ with a father named ‘y’ and profession ‘z’.

Research projects

Egyptian names from the late pharaonic until the Roman Period. The evolution of onomastic types in a multilingual and multicultural environment (FWO)
Creating Identies in Graeco-Roman Egypt (K.U.Leuven)
Names and identities in Christian Egypt (K.U.Leuven)
An interdisciplinary Database of Proper Names in late pharaonic, Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Egypt (ca. 800 BC – AD 640) (Hercules Foundation, Flemish Government)

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.