FOR 2064 STRATA Hylem Database - Project details (FOR 2064 STRATA)

Stratification Analyses of Mythic Plots and Texts in Ancient Cultures

‘The research group ‘Stratification Analyses of Mythic Plots and Texts in Ancient Cultures’ aims to develop a framework theory for the systematic and comparative re-examination of ancient myths. The work of the interdisciplinary research network is based on the finding that myths do not comprise a single text with a single narrative intention, but that the narrative materials, which are thousands of years old, are ‘layered stories’. Inhomogeneities, incompatibilities and inconsistencies indicate the complex process of passing on a myth, changed again and again over time due to different interests, circumstances and interpretations. The individual layers of the narrative material, called strata, will be made tangible in their complexity for the first time through stratification analysis.’ (From the press release of the DFG No. 50, 1 October 2015)

While the research of ancient myths to date has focused mainly on Greek and Roman sources, the research group STRATA broadens the scope of time, region, topics and genre by incorporating the earliest Middle Eastern as well as the later Jewish-Christian ancient worlds. Practical use is technically supported by a scientific database, which was built in a cooperation of the research group with the Göttingen State and University Library software development team.

The scientific work of the research group starts from the smallest plot-bearing elements of myths, which are called hylems (e. g. hylem: ‘X does Y’). This means that texts are broken down into chains of these elements. On this basis, different texts from different cultures in different languages are then compared. The aim is to find similarities at different levels.

In close cooperation with the research group, the Göttingen State and University Library has created a database with which the hylems identified in the sources can be recorded as sequences. This database forms the basis for the analyses and evaluations of the research group.

In the first grant period, the research group worked primarily with textual sources; in the second phase, iconographic sources will also be included. The practical procedure of the hylem-based stratification analysis of mythical materials and texts of antiquity is supported technically as well as organisationally by the research database. The research database serves as a central research platform to support the work of the research group, with eight sub-projects and up to 100 researchers in the fields of data acquisition, processing, analysis and visualisation as well as data and information exchange. To this end, Göttingen State and University Library has developed a modular web-based client-server solution that enables the evaluation of myths and hylems / essays / motifs, visual location in space and time, and the identification of mythic materials and their versions. The research database supports location-distributed collaborative work on text and image data as well as connections to repositories via interfaces.



Project board at the SUB Göttingen

Project staff at the SUB Göttingen

SUB Göttingen departments / units involved in the project

Former project staff of the SUB Göttingen

Manikanth Dindigala, Marcus Hellmann, Dr. Maike Tech