Mapping the Jewish communities of the Byzantine Empire

This project, funded by the European Research Council 2010-2013, is hosted by the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Study at the University of Cambridge.

mapping byzantine

The aim of the project was to assemble for the first time all the data on the presence of Jewish communities in the territories of the Byzantine Empire (the Southern Balkans, Aegean islands and Anatolia), and to generate interactive online maps using GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The data in question came mainly from inscriptions and archaeological investigations, and from a broad range of documentary and literary sources in Greek, Hebrew and other languages. Much of this data had never before been published or collected.

The maps, as well as related tables, graphs, etc., are readily accessible to scholars and the general public alike. The project makes significant contributions to both Jewish history (in which the Byzantine region has largely been overlooked) and Byzantine history (where the study of minorities is a neglected area which is only now starting to be studied in earnest). The innovative use of GIS was also intended as a pilot that will generate further applications of this important new technology for historical study and similar fields.

HUMlab held overall responsibility for the design, implementation and testing of an explorative interface; a combined research and public web interface for the mapping of Jewish communities of the Byzantine Empire. HUMlab also acted in an advisory role so as to ensure the quality of data modelling, information integration, data consistency and long-term preservation by means of regular contact, meetings, workshops and knowledge exchange.

Principal investigator: Nicholas de Lange, Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Cambridge.

To try out the application, go to:

Contact person at HUMlab: Fredrik Palm: