« Ctesiphon » is an acronym for Corpus of TExts and Sources about Iran : For a History of the OrieNt in the 6th century
The interoperability of transdisciplinary data: a new model
This project is innovative in its approach. A transdisciplinary team of researchers pooled its expertise to enable the analysis and correlation of sources that are very diverse in terms of origin, type, language and field of study (e.g. sigillography, numismatics, information gleaned from bullae, Pahlavi epigraphy, literary documentation). The sources include texts in Syriac, Greek, Middle Persian and Persian; nearly 2,700 coins; seals and bullae. A sigillographical corpus of around 1,000 objects is also made accessible.
Most of these sources were hitherto unpublished or untapped. Bringing them together has produced results that previous compartmentalisation would have made impossible, and a wealth of new data for the development of a new history of the East in the sixth century. The project’s methodology is also innovative. The corpora are all linked by means of a thesaurus allowing for data queries according to subjects predetermined by specialists involved in the project. Making use of applied methodology that could be a model for others, this project seeks to expand collaboration and generate new scholarly initiatives on other Sasanian periods or other corpora of sources.
Major results of the project
By bringing together previously unpublished or untapped archaeological and literary material on the reign of Khusro I, King of Persia (531-579), for the first time, the transdisciplinary database Ctesiphon has centralised a maximum amount of information about that period, thus creating synergies. As a result, the cartography of the Sasanian Empire has been revised, and our understanding of and approaches to the administrative, religious and political history, territorial divisions, power strategies and interaction among communities in Persia have improved. A symposium helped to lay the groundwork for these historical reconstructions.