Trismegistos [TM], called after the famous epithet of Hermes - Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom and writing who also played a major role in Greek religion and philosophy, is a platform aiming to surmount barriers of language and discipline in the study of texts from the ancient world, particularly late period Egypt and the Nile valley (roughly BC 800 - 800 AD).
The core component of TM is Trismegistos Texts, currently counting 677830 entries. When the database was created in 2005, it focused on providing information (metadata) on published papyrological documents from Graeco-Roman Egypt. Chronological boundaries are always artificial, and the nature of the sources soon suggested that BC 800 and AD 800 were more suited. Since egyptology does not know a disciplinary boundary between papyri and inscriptions, TM also decided to expand by adding all epigraphic material as well. Papyrology on the other hand includes also writing tablets from outside Egypt, which led us to widen our geographical scope to the entire ancient world. Finally, since the distinction between published and unpublished is increasingly less productive in a digital environment, we now no longer discriminate in that respect either. In principle, however, we still provide only metadata.
This means that Trismegistos increasingly wants to be a platform where information can be found about all texts from antiquity, thus facilitating cross-cultural and cross-linguistic research. This will of course only be possible through cooperation with all players in the field, since our aim is to lead people to the partner websites, where more information, often including also photographs, transliterations and translations of the texts, can be found.
Several aspects of the Texts database have been elaborated in the course of successive projects (see History) and have become separate databases linked with the core Trismegistos Texts database.
- The Collections database, built on the Leuven Homepage of Papyrus Collections, is a set of currently 3754 modern institutional and private collections of texts and their 217372 inventory numbers. It is searchable both separately and in the Texts database.
- The Archives database, built on the Leuven Homepage of Papyrus Archives, is a set of currently 501 collections of texts in antiquity, mainly in Egypt, and the 17633 texts that are part of these archives. It is searchable separately, leading to the texts themselves.
- The People database, building on the Prosopographia Ptolemaica, is a complex set of prosopographical and onomastic databases. It currently contains 494241 attestations of personal names of non-royal individuals living in Egypt between BC 800 and AD 800, including all languages and scripts and written on any surface.
- The Places database, expanding the geographic database of the Fayum project, is a set of currently 50138 places in Egypt and increasingly also outside (in view of the expansion of TM to the ancient world in general). It contains the currently 210295 attestations of toponyms in texts from Egypt (BC 800 – AD 800), but is also linked to the provenance field in Trismegistos Texts.
- Finally, because abbreviations are often different in the various disciplines, we have also started creating a Bibliography which resolves many of the short references we use in Trismegistos. The other way round it also wants to facilitate the search for all texts in a specific publication. Its coverage is patchy except for the publications dealing with Demotic and Abnormal Hieratic, where the Demotistische Literaturübersicht provides a much higher standard of bibliographic information.
We hope you enjoy using Trismegistos and would be happy with your support, in whatever way.