Epigraphic Database Heidelberg

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  • Christian Witschel


The Epigraphische Datenbank Heidelberg or Epigraphic Database Heidelberg (EDH) is a searchable resource that provides texts, bibliographic citations, descriptive data and images for Latin and Greek inscriptions of the Roman Empire. EDH forms an essential component of the Electronic Archive of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (EAGLE), functioning as the primary repository for inscriptions from the Roman provinces. It is directed by Christian Witschel, who took over in 2007 from the project’s founder, Géza Alföldy. Witschel is assisted by a research team at Heidelberg, and a growing number of external collaborators worldwide. The project was founded in 1986, and put its first data online in 1997.

As of December 2019, EDH contained texts for over 80,000 inscriptions from 30,000 findspots, together with full records for over 16,000 bibliographic items and over 38,000 images. Many of the texts in EDH are revised or corrected from previous print publications on the basis of autopsy, or with reference to a squeeze or photograph. An increasing number of print-oriented epigraphic projects are simultaneously providing EDH with electronic copies of newly edited inscriptions that will appear in their publications. The EDH site is available in both German and English, and the interface permits both Simple and Advanced Search, which enables users to discover content by searching a combination of the many descriptive, bibliographic and full-text fields in the three databases that house the project’s data: the Epigraphic Text Database, the Epigraphic Bibliography and the Photographic Database.

EDH hosts an Open Data Repository in which it makes available several datasets under a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence, including the inscriptions and their metadata in EpiDoc XML, photo metadata in CIDOC-CRM XML, bibliography in BibTeX, inscriptions including prosopography in RDF, and geographical information in GeoJSON. Its images are made available via an IIIF API. Canonical URLs have been established for all inscriptions, images, bibliographical and geographical records. EDH also provides a detailed description of EDH's databases and an overview of options for data reuse in Frank Grieshaber's article Epigraphic Database Heidelberg - Data Reuse Options.

See also