Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Research on the Historical Geography of the Byzantine Empire at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna is conducted by the Tabula Imperii Byzantini (TIB). This renowned project was accepted by the Union Académique Internationale in Brussels in 2015 (Project 87), and at the same time included into the scheme of Long-Term-Projects at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, based on independent excellent international evaluations. The TIB carries out systematic research in the historical geography of the Byzantine Empire, from the beginning of the 4th century to the mid-15th century. The aim of the project is to create a historical atlas of the Byzantine space from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern period.

Individual regions are represented on maps on a scale of 1 : 800,000. A separate accompanying volume provides the results of further research in each region. Each volume contains detailed introductory chapters on geography and climate, borders and territorial designations, history, administrative history, church history and monasticism, traffic routes, economy and demographic trends. The main part of each volume consists of an alphabetical catalogue of all toponyms, hydronyms etc. that were known in Byzantine times. Also included are the historical places, whose historical names are unknown, but for whose existence there is (or there was) archaeological evidence. Written sources (from Late Antiquity to Early Modern Times) and archaeological materials elucidate the history of individual places, along with brief descriptions of monuments, both those that are known to have existed and those that are still preserved. The aforesaid results are enriched by systematic field research in order to verify, modify or complete the information of the sources.

Since 1986 new methods have been included into the scholarly work of the TIB, namely: studies of Palaeo-climate and settlement theories (for example the modified "Central Place Theory"), as well as the regular use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) during field missions and surveys. Digital Humanities, e.g. in the form of Historical Geographical Information Systems (HGIS), further contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the research data.

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