Welcome on the MAP Database

Presentation of the MAP Database

Historique et Objectifs

The MAP database (DB MAP) is an outcome of the ERC Advanced Grant Mapping Ancient Polytheisms. Cult Epithets as an Interface between Religious Systems and Human Agency (741182) which took place between October 2017 and June 2023 and will be extended through an international scientific network. The MAP database is available in full open access at the following address: : https://base-map-polytheisms.huma-num.fr/

The DB MAP is a relational database in SQL (Structured Query Language) structured around 3 main tables (Source, Testimony, Element) and a series of secondary tables, following an architecture that responds to the research enquiry into divine onomastics. MAP studies the divine powers of the Greek and Semitic worlds through a collection of their appellations (names, epithets, titles and other qualifications), understood as “onomastic sequences”. The DB MAP collects divine names from the Greek world in its widest extension and from the Western Semitic world (Phoenician, Punic, Aramaic, Hebrew) in a large Mediterranean framework and over a long period of time, from around 1000 BCE to 400 CE. The DB MAP is based on three levels of data recording:

  • Source
  • Testimony
  • Element

Structure de la BDD

The source is the document – epigraphic, glyptic, numismatic, papyrological or from the manuscript tradition – which contains one or more divine onomastic sequences.
The testimony or “divine onomastic sequence” is extracted from a source and constitutes a set of several onomastic elements relating to one or more deities.
The onomastic elementelement is the minimum unit of meaning within the testimony. It is a semantic and not a grammatical category. It may therefore be an adjective, noun, verb or proposition. The DB MAP records testimonies or onomastic sequences including at least 2 elements, except when an adjective alone is used to designate a god (such as Hypsistos).

A source (level 1) therefore contains one or more testimonies (level 2) which contain one or more elements (level 3). Metadata tables are attached to these three levels: location, dating, agents, bibliography, etc.

It is worth stressing the fact that the DB MAP is not an epigraphic database; in fact, it is designed to register papyrological, numismatic and literary data as well as inscriptions. Data relating to material supports, contexts, agents and divine names are extracted from scientific editions of sources (corpora and other publications). As these data are largely heterogeneous, the database uses ontologies and lists of predefined values to record and harmonise them, and to ease the consultation.

Divine names express the multiple functions and modes of action of the gods, as well as their place in various spatial scales. Onomastic sequences play a strategic role in ritual communication, targeting one or more divine interlocutors and enhancing the effectiveness of the ritual. Finally, the attention paid to the agents who construct and mobilise divine onomastic sequences allows to address different aspects of human agency in a wide range of situations of communication with the divine. Through the lens of the naming systems of the divine, the aim of the MAP project is to analyse the relational, contextual and fluid logics that give rise to configurations of deities.


The Home Page displays the three levels of registration, Sources, Testimonies, Elements, together with the number of records registered at that time. Click on Sources, or Testimonies, or Elements to access the corresponding List.
Click on Bibliography to access the List of registered bibliographic references.
Click on Tools to access theNetwork Analysis or Webmapping functions for viewing the data recorded.

From the home page, you can view the Corpus counting state, in the form of a geographically organised list of the references processed and registered in the database. The number displayed corresponds to the number of sources completed and validated. The DMP (Data Management Plan) is available on Opidor (https://dmp.opidor.fr/plans). For more information, see the « Legal Information » section (https://base-map-polytheisms.huma-num.fr/legal).

For further information, please refer to the 3 Guides, available at : https://hal.science/hal-02555965v1.

  • User guide: work in progress
  • Search interface guide
  • Database registration guide
See also the following articles:

To cite the MAP database

Bonnet C. (dir.), ERC Mapping Ancient Polytheisms 741182 (DB MAP), Toulouse 2017-2023 : https://base-map-polytheisms.huma-num.fr (AAAA/MM/JJ).


map.polytheisms@gmail.com or from the Contact page.

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