Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

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Available

http://tiresias.haifa.ac.il/

Authors

Moshe Blidstein
Daphne Raban

Description

Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database provides access to references to ancient texts according to topic, mostly on religion, c. -800 BCE to 800 CE in the Mediterranean area. In some cases, direct access to full text is also available. Topic tagging is based on existing subject indices from scholarly books, allowing highly detailed topic resolution. The site is in development, and as of August 2020 includes 4,729,588 keyed to 53,361 subjects.

The construction of the database is based on the following method. Many research volumes in ancient history are published with two indices: one for subjects, topics or terms, and one for ancient text references (the latter is also known as an index locorum). Using these indices, each page of the indexed book can be identified as relating to specific subjects as well as specific ancient texts, indicating with a certain probability that these text references can be tagged as related to these subjects. In order to bring this probability closer to 100%, we assess the overlap from a number of books of this connection between text reference and subject. These tags are combined to create a general database of subjects of ancient texts. The database is thus based on existing expert-made indices, unified and assisted by digital means.

The results for each search are divided into three: highly validated results, where the reference is tagged with the subject in more than one book; validated results, where the reference is tagged with the subject only in one book, but more than once; and non-validated results, where the reference is tagged with the subject only once, in one book.

The database includes general subjects, ideas, names and places, almost all in English; the subjects are the same you would find in a good subject index of a book.