Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Trismegistos People

Trismegistos People is a tool dealing with personal names of non-royal individuals living in Egypt in documentary texts between BC 800 and AD 800, including all languages and scripts written on any surface. Not included are pharaohs, emperors, and saints; people attested in texts outside Egypt (with the exception of some Prosopographia Ptolemaica entries) or people living outside Egypt (no consuls!); and names from non-documentary texts (again with the exception of some Prosopographia Ptolemaica entries).

Fig. 1: Schematic overview of TM People's databases

TM People consists of a complex set of prosopographical and onomastic databases. At the heart of the structure is the REF database, which lists attestations of people identified by personal names (currently 535,569 records). The PER database of individuals, which at present includes 375,091 person records, forms the prosopographical component. The onomastic structure consists of three tiers, dealing with names (NAM), name variants (NAMVAR), and declined name variants (NAMVARCASE) respectively. The Nam database currently has 36,413 names. Each of these standard names is connected to a set of variants, often in different languages / scripts, in the NamVar database (219,501 variants). For each of these variants, declined forms were created in the NamVarCase database. This last database is the largest, with 1,148,974 entries, and forms the link between REF and NAMVAR & NAM.

Each of these databases has its limitations, set out below in the following sections. REF does not yet cover all Trismegistos Texts and has not yet been checked for completeness or mistakes, while prosopographical identifications in PER are a never-ending and often difficult exercise (read more...); the names in NAM could and often should be grouped otherwise, while some adaptations to the Latin name system may still be needed (read more...); and the transliterated Egyptian variants in NAMVAR, as well as Greek accentuation (in all databases), are not always standardized (read more...).

We hope, however, that even in its current state the tool may prove useful enough to avert nemesis. Also, digital instruments such as TM People have the advantage that they can be updated and improved easily. We would therefore be very grateful if users not only show clemency, but also help us improve the quality: suggestions and mistakes can be reported by clicking on 'Report an error' in the header above.

Online databases tend not to be quoted, or only reluctantly. Often scholars will not document the use of digital tools and point to the (printed version of the) sources directly. Gradually, however, scholarship seems to enter a new phase where online edition is taking over the front position from paper copy. For this purpose, we have developed stable numeric identifiers for each entry in each of the TM People databases. For more information, please consult the 'How to cite' section below.

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