About


Aim
Project Persia & Babylonia
What is prosopography?
The text corpus
Archives
Development and coverage
Team
Contact
Acknowledgements
Copyright and citation
Technical information
Links

Aim
Prosobab is an open access prosopography of Babylonia in the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods (c. 620-330 BCE). Its aim is to provide students and researchers with an accessible tool to study the rich cuneiform text corpus surviving from this period and to support new research initiatives on Babylonia during its imperial period and under Persian rule. In view of the open-ended nature of the Neo-Babylonian text corpus, we offer our prosopography as an online resource that can easily respond to new developments in scholarship. No print editions are envisioned.

Project Persia & Babylonia
Prosobab is part of a larger research project that is currently carried out at Leiden University, funded by the European Research Council under its Consolidator Grant scheme (Project ID 683341). The aim of this project is to understand how the Persian Empire worked in society. In doing so, it seeks to nuance long-standing fascinations with the Persian Empire as a top-down mechanism of control. As we aim to write a social history of Persia in its Babylonian context, the appearance in a cuneiform source of a named individual constitutes our smallest data molecule. A prosopography, identifying unique persons from this material, is a basic step in assembling our data. Besides serving its project-internal goals, our prosopography is offered as a free online research tool for the larger community of students and scholars. More information about the research project Persia & Babylonia can be found on the project website.

What is prosopography?
Different definitions of prosopography exist. We follow David Pelteret's definition as “the study of identifiable persons and their connections with others for the purpose of enabling the modern student to discern patterns of relationships” (Pelteret 2000, p. 13). A crucial distinction between a name list and a prosopography is that the latter makes the important analytical step of identifying unique historical individuals from the name material. Our research methodology reflects this two-step approach, from attestation to individual. In the first phase of our work we collect attestations. In the second phase we merge attestations belonging to the same individual and create person files. See the guide for more information about our research methodology.

The text corpus
The research value of the Neo-Babylonian text corpus has long been recognised. Its exceptional quality lies in its size, varied contents, density and long chronological sweep, from the end of the Assyrian period to the Hellenistic period. Within this time range, the period between c. 620 and 484 BCE is the best documented. This period is known as the long sixth century in scholarship. Prosobab takes this material as its core corpus but extends its coverage both before 620 BCE and after 484 BCE. The earliest text dates to 678 BCE and the latest to 325 BCE. Our focus is on person data, but we also collect information on the texts and the archives in which the individuals are recorded. The database is profitably used in tandem with NaBuCCo, a text corpus project hosted by Leuven University, which offers summarized translations of many of the same texts.

Archives
Prosobab draws its data mostly from legal documents recording transactions between individuals. These materials have come down to us in archives, either excavated or reconstructed. The archival connections between texts are retained in the structure of our database. Moreover, they inform the organization of our work. Apart from the practical advantages of entering data archive by archive, the archival unit is paramount when making the second analytical step from attestation to individual.

Development and coverage
Prosobab is continuous work in progress. Our first aim is to incorporate records originating from Babylonian private family archives. From an estimated total of 9,000 records originating from these archives, Prosobab is able to access about 5,000-6,000 (published and unpublished) records. We are currently entering tablet data and the attestation data of these records and engaged in identifying unique historical individuals on the basis of this data. The data (of tablets, attestations, and individuals) is publicly released in batches. In June 2019 the first batch of tablets has been released to the public. After our third release (July 2021), data from 5,127 texts is publicly available.

Team
The Prosobab team consists of directors Caroline Waerzeggers and Melanie Groß, and research assistants Julia Giessler, Ivo Martins, Lidewij van de Peut, Maarja Seire, Rieneke Sonnevelt, and Evelien Vanderstraeten. Together, our research interests cover the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian period in Mesopotamia. Guido Suurmeijer is senior advisor on the design and implementation of the database. The database was designed by Wouter Olivier and further developed by Van Stein & Groentjes B.V.. The website was designed by Nicky van de Beek with artwork by Uzume Wijnsma.

Contact
Prosobab is a resource that is continuously being expanded and improved. Do you have a question? Did you find a mistake? Or do you want to become a contributor? Please contact: persiababylonia@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Many hands make light work!

Acknowledgements
The Prosobab team wishes to acknowledge the generous funding from the European Research Council which makes this publication possible. We are indebted to Leiden University’s Institute for Area Studies where our work is implemented. In Leiden, we receive advice and technical support from Rob Goedemans (database), Vincent Dobbe (finance), Ine Goedegebuur and Pia Teeuw (finance and support), and Michelle van den Berk (licensing). Laura Dees and Alba de Ridder developed the onomastic data of Prosobab thanks to a research traineeship funded by the Faculty of Humanities (Leiden). We are grateful to the NaBuCCo project – established by Kathleen Abraham (Leuven), Shai Gordin (Tel Aviv/Ariel), and Michael Jursa (Vienna) – for exchanging data, procedures and best practices. We cordially thank Paola Corò (Venice) for giving advice on video recording and making tutorials. Also a big thanks to Reinhard Pirngruber (Vienna) who did enter the Iššar-tarībi archive from Sippar recently published by him and to Ludovica Cecilia (Amsterdam) for helping us with the Ilia A+B and Ilia D archives (identification and some data entry). Matthias Adelhofer (Vienna) and Olga Popova (Paris) kindly supplied us with their unpublished manuscripts on the Sîn-naṣir and Atû archives from Uruk and on the Gallabu archive from Ur. We also wish to acknowledge the Achemenet team in Paris, in particular Damien Agut and Francis Joannès, for their support.

Copyright and citation
Prosobab is a publicly available resource. All academic content on this site is provided free of charge for individual, non-commercial use, provided that Prosobab is acknowledged. Guidance is given below on how this acknowledgment should be cited. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The full bibliographic description is:
C. Waerzeggers, M. Groß, et al., Prosobab: Prosopography of Babylonia (c. 620-330 BCE) (Leiden University, 2019), available at https://prosobab.leidenuniv.nl.

Users are encouraged to cite the permalinks provided for each tablet, attestation, and individual, e.g. https://prosobab.leidenuniv.nl/attestation/1525 for the attestation of Bel-ušallim on the tablet FLP 1288 which has the Attestation ID 1525.

Technical information
Engine: InnoDB
Database: 10.2.8-MariaDB
Programming languages:
PHP, version 7.0, working for 5.6+
JavaScript with jQery
Server on Linux: Apache/2.4.34 (Red Hat)

Links
Achemenet
Berkeley Prosopography Services
British Museum collection online
CDLI - Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative
LaBaSi - Late Babylonian Signs
NaBuCCo
Oracc - Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus
CTIJ - Cuneiform Texts Mentioning Israelites, Judeans, and Related Population Groups
RIBO - The Royal Inscriptions of Babylonia online Project
Trismegistos



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