I.Sicily is a project to create and make freely available online the complete corpus of inscriptions from ancient Sicily. The project includes texts in all languages (Greek, Latin, Phoenician/Punic, Oscan, Hebrew, and Sikel), from the first inscribed texts of the Archaic period (7th-6th centuries BC) through to those of late Antiquity (up to approximately the 7th century AD). The project began with texts on stone, but is now gradually expanding that coverage. The project uses TEI-XML mark-up, according to the EpiDoc schema.
Sicily is traditionally viewed as the ‘crossroads of the Mediterranean’, a ‘cultural melting pot’, and the epigraphic evidence is particularly important for the study of those cultural interactions and the history of the island. However, the epigraphy of ancient Sicily presents significant challenges for those wishing to study it: the existing major collections of Greek (Inscriptiones Graecae XIV) and Latin (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum X.2) are very antiquated (1890 and 1883), and contain a limited amount of information about the texts which they record; subsequent publication of new and existing material has been extremely uneven and widely scattered. A limited number of museum catalogues (Palermo, Catania, Termini Imerese, Messina) and specialist corpora (e.g. IGDS I-II) have improved the situation, but a unified and up-to-date corpus, across all languages, with translations, images and detailed object records, has long been a desideratum.
I. Sicily aims to address these challenges through the creation of an EpiDoc digital corpus, freely available online. The site also aims to provide a focal point for the study of Sicilian epigraphy in general. The project is currently part of the ERC-funded Crossreads project, and is hosted by the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford.
The project places a strong emphasis upon open access and linked data. All bibliography is maintained in a public Zotero bibliography. All ancient place-names are linked to Pleiades records, meaning that it is also possible to search the I.Sicily data via the Peripleo project. Core categories of epigraphic metadata (such as inscription type and object type) are aligned with the EAGLE vocabularies. All records are aligned with Trismegistos and where possible equivalent records in EDR, PHI and EDCS. The corpus is live at http://sicily.classics.ox.ac.uk and is subject to continuous editing and further development. The existing data files are clearly labelled as ‘unchecked’, ‘draft’ or ‘edited’ and should be used accordingly.
The project aims to undertake full autopsy of every text, wherever possible, in order to generate a complete edition of each text with translation and commentary. The work of autopsy is relies upon collaboration with the Sicilian museums and archaeological sites, and major projects have already begun with both the Museo archeologico regionale Paolo Orsi in Syracuse and the Museo Civico Castello Ursino in Catania.
In order to support this work, and in collaboration with Dr Michael Metcalfe, we are building up a full and accurate picture of the inscriptions currently held or on display in all of the local museum collections across Sicily. A database recording all publicly accessible archaeological collections in Sicily has been constructed, and a webpage (with URI) is maintained for each museum, linked to the epigraphic records, enabling users of the site to see which inscriptions are held in each museum, and to search for and by collections.
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