UMR 5189

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Laboratoire HISOMA

Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques

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Who are we?

The Research Center HiSoMA (Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques, History and Sources of the Ancient Worlds,  UMR 5189 of the CNRS) is one of the constituent units of the Research Federation « Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée ». It unites about 80 tenured academics, postdocs, research support staff and administrators from one of its five founding institutions (CNRS, Université Lyon 2, Université Lyon 3, Université de Saint-Etienne, ENS de Lyon), 90 doctoral students and about 40 associated researchers.
Current research projects concern the ancient worlds, studied through specialist disciplines of Sciences of Antiquity (such as archaeology, history, literary studies, philology, epigraphy, numismatics, iconography) over a very long period which stretches from the ancient Pharaonic empire to the end of late Antiquity, and within a coherent geographic context that corresponds basically to the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean.

 The importance of the Center’s research has broad recognition abroad, and in some cases the Center takes the lead in international research networks.  These activities are in the first place undertaken in the field, in connection with archaeological surveys and excavations, essentially in the eastern Mediterranean basin, but also in the West. Its members are in charge of excavations in mainland Greece (Thessaly, Boeotia, Delphi) and on Greek islands (Delos), in Albania, on Cyprus, and in various countries of the Near and Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria). Faithful to a long tradition of the Maison de l’Orient, research scholars also investigate contacts that existed in Antiquity with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. These projects rely on collaborations and partnerships with numerous research institutions and universities in France or in host countries (in particular with the French Schools and Research Insitutes abroad: EfA, EfR, IFAO, IFPO, EfEO), which allow researchers to do first-hand research at a great number of archaeological sites, and places them at the very basis of the renewal of knowledge of in many crucial field of research on Antiquity.

The Research Center’s scholars also work on different types of textual sources: Greek and Latin works of all periods of Antiquity belonging to all literary genres, but with a special attention for poetic texts and works dealing with ancient medicine and grammar; works of Church Fathers in Greek and Latin but also in other languages of the Near East (Syriac, Arab, Armenian), from the earliest period to the Middle Ages; epigraphical documents engraved in Greek, Latin, Etruscan and other ancients languages of Italy, or also in Semitic languages (Palmyrene, Aramaic), in Sanskrit or hieroglyphic characters. Building simultaneously on texts as well as archaeological documentation, the Research Center produces historical studies that contribute to a better knowledge of diverse aspects, notably religious and institutional, of the Mediterranean past, from the end of the Bronze Age to the 7th century CE.

Several publication series are edited by members of the Research Center, among them the collection of the Sources Chrétiennes, the Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, as well as the electronic journals Erudition Antiqua, Aitia, Interferens, Syntaktika. Its dedication to the publication of ancient sources, whether they be epigraphic corpora or literary manuscripts, has led the Research Center HiSoMA to explore new digital pathways, based on an epistemological and dialectical reflection confronting the history of editorial practices and the modalities of contemporary publication. In developing interfaces for editing and data management specifically adapted to the treatment of ancient sources, HiSoMA is building up capacity in Digital Humanities as applied to Antiquity.


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