Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR 2015.04.41 on the BMCR blog

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.04.41

Victor Cojocaru, Bibliographia classica orae septentrionalis Ponti Euxini. Vol. 1: Epigraphica, numismatica, onomastica et prosopograhica. Pontica et Mediterranea, 2.   Cluj-Napoca:  Editura Mega, 2014.  Pp. 560, 1 CD ROM.  ISBN 9786065434752.  150 lei.  

Reviewed by Georgy Kantor, St John’s College, University of Oxford (

An up-to-date bibliographic guide to studies in the ancient history of the Northern Black Sea shore has long been a desideratum, particularly for Western scholars, as coverage of epigraphic publications from that part of the world in SEG and Bulletin épigraphique has often been patchy, and the latest detailed numismatic bibliography appeared in 1975.1 Even in Russia there was no systematic survey of new publications between the cessation of the annual bibliographic appendix to the Vestnik drevnej istorii (covering Soviet publications only) after 19902 and the appearance of epigraphic surveys by A. V. Belousov in the exciting new periodical Aristeas, covering the years 2011 onwards.3

Victor Cojocaru, a distinguished Romanian epigraphist, equally conversant with Soviet and Romanian scholarly tradition, is very well positioned to supply the need and puts us all in his debt. He begins on his home turf with epigraphy, numismatics and onomastics. Future volumes (listed at 9 n. 7) are planned as II. Archaeologica; III. Ars, res sacrae & mythologica; IV. Historica & Historiographica; V. Varia. Addenda & Corrigenda. The geographical area covered is roughly co-terminous with modern Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, wider than in the recent synoptic study by Christel Müller (who excludes Tyras and Nikonion), but in line with traditional boundaries of the subject in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet historiography.4

The current volume includes 5057 entries (nos. 5029-5057 are an addendum out of normal sequence) and covers publication up to and including 2013. The coverage is very full, including even some unpublished dissertations (e.g., no. 4154); random checks on more obscure items known to this reviewer have not detected many omissions. The most important one seems to be the annotated edition of the oeuvre of Paul du Brux (1770-1835), which includes some previously unpublished first reports of inscriptions.5 In a few cases one wonders whether an item deserved a separate entry: while it was arguably useful to create a separate entry for each inscription included in the epigraphic appendix to Christel Müller’s D’Olbia à Tanaïs, was it really necessary to accord one to each of A. Avram’s sections in the Bulletin épigraphique? Publications of the same article in different languages, not uncommon where original publication was in Russian, Ukrainian or Romanian, are listed within the same entry (e.g., no. 345 or no. 1328; less correctly in no. 1317, where contributions of S. Luria to the infamous Diophantos decree controversy in Russian and in Polish are, in fact, different in content). Less conveniently, Cojocaru does not give a separate entry to some articles he has not read, appending them to the most closely similar entry by the same author with a ‘non vidi’ note (e.g., no. 3821).

Names and titles are given in Latin transcription, accompanied by German translation of the titles: those not familiar with the endless changes of conventions in transcribing Cyrillic should stand warned that the transcription is probably not the one they are acquainted with. Epigraphic entries include convenient references to further republication or summaries of inscriptions in SEG (up to vol. LIX), Bulletin épigraphique or standard corpora; entries on numismatic publications include cross-references to Golenko’s 1975 bibliography, where relevant.

A brief introduction in German provides some detail on earlier bibliographic publications (pp. 7-15). It is followed by a detailed list of abbreviations (pp. 16–61), particularly useful for information on obscure local or museum periodicals, often inaccessible even in the best academic libraries in the West. The bibliography itself is organised on a geographical principle from the Achilleos Nesos in the West to the Bosporan Kingdom in the East in sections I-VI (it ought to be noted that geographical sections are not of equal weight: Bosporos is a larger and more important area than the Achilleos Nesos or Scythian Neapolis), followed by general works (section VII). Sections VIII and IX are dedicated (on a linguistic principle) to ‘Iranica’, including the Scythians and Sarmatians, and ‘Cymmerica’ respectively.

Each geographical section is subdivided into ‘Epigraphica’, ‘Numismatica’, (where available) ‘Pondera’ and ‘Onomastica & Prosopographica’. Given the prevalence of ceramic epigraphy in the studies of the region (one area where Russian classical scholarship has arguably been at the forefront of new approaches), it is perhaps a pity that the work on amphora and tile stamps has not been put in a separate section from the rest of the epigraphic publications.6 The ‘Generalia’ section contains, beyond those, a further subsection of ‘Epigraphica linguistica’ (publications on the language of inscriptions) and ‘Numismatica methodica’. The principle of separation is not always obvious to me: why, for instance, is one publication on the intractable term ΣΑΣΤΗΡ in the civic oath of Chersonesos listed in its geographical order (no. 1332) and another under the general ‘Epigraphica linguistica’ (no. 4276)? Each section is usefully preceded by a list of references to corpora and other standard surveys and bibliographies. It is perhaps worth noting that publications of each author are listed in chronological rather than alphabetical order.

A useful and accurate concordance with the Année épigraphique, Bulletin amphorique, Bulletin épigraphique, Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum and the main corpora, an index of authors’ names and a rather more selective general index complete the volume. A CD-ROM supplied with it contains the book in a searchable publishers’ pdf-format.

All in all, this publication will be an indispensable tool for anyone working on the Northern Black Sea and adjacent regions in antiquity, and every serious research library should get it and Cojocaru’s subsequent volumes. As a member of the SEG editorial team working on this region I shall be using it constantly. However, even a convinced Luddite such as myself needs to ask whether a transition to online format would not eventually improve the bibliography’s usability and allow for a more seamless expansion. The impressive online edition of IOSPE V, available both in English and in Russian, shows the way forward.


1.  K. V. Golenko, Chiron 5 (1975), 497–642 (see the volume under review, p. 32).
2.   Not 1987 as erroneously stated by Cojocaru at p. 10 n. 10; see A. N. Staritsyn, ‘Ukazatel’ literatury po istorii antichnogo mira, opublikovannoj v SSSR v 1986 godu’, VDI 191 (1989.4), 165–78; 192 (1990.1), 215–27 (nos. 370–612 are Northern Black Sea region-related items). A convenient bibliography of all publications (including Black Sea related) appearing in the VDI itself is now provided in I. S. Arkhipov, Je. V. Liapustina, Je. I. Solomatina and S. A. Stepantsov, Ukazatel’ materialov, opublikovannykh v “Vestnike drevnej istorii” v 1937-2012 gg. (Moscow 2012); for articles on classical subjects (including the Black Sea-related ones) in the main Russian academic periodical of the imperial period, see now A. Ruban and E. Basargina, Russische klassische Altertumswissenschaft in der Zeitschrift des Ministeriums für Volksaufklärung. Žurnal Ministerstva Narodnogo Prosveščenija (ŽMNP): Annotiertes Verzeichnis der in den Jahren 1873-1917 erschienenen Beiträge (St Petersburg 2012). Both seem to have appeared too late to be noticed by Cojocaru.
3.   A. V. Belousov, Aristeas: Philologia Classica et Historia Antiqua 6 (2012), 206–25 (no. 3896 in the bibliography under review). Now followed by id., Aristeas: Philologia Classica et Historia Antiqua 8 (2013), 153–70 (for 2012) and 10 (2014), 317–41 (for 2013). For the neighbouring Black Sea region falling outside the scope of Cojocaru’s bibliography, note also the annual ‘Cronica epigrafică a Romaniei’ by Constantin Petolescu, published in SCIVA since 32 (1981), 593–613.
4.   C. Müller, D’Olbia à Tanaïs: Territoires et réseaux d’échanges dans le mer Noire septentrionale aux époques classique et hellénistique (Bordeaux 2010) (no. 4141 in Cojocaru’s bibliography).
5.   P. du Brux, Sobranie sochinenij, ed. by I. V. Tunkina, N. L. Sukhachev (St Petersburg 2010), 2 vols. (in French and Russian). Note, e.g., vol. 1, 169 (Thasian amphora stamps found in the Kul-Oba mound); 291 (earliest report of CIRB 41); 329 (provenance of CIRB 17, 37, 41, 63, 74, 823, 867, 1036, and of two further inscriptions, now lost)
6.   For a magisterial survey of the current state of the discipline, see now Y. Garlan, ‘Les timbres amphoriques en Grèce ancienne. Nouvelles questions. Nouvelles méthodes. Nouveaux résultats’, Journal des Savants (2013), 203–70 (especially pp. 223, 225–7, 259–61 for contributions by Russian scholars).

Read comments on this review or add a comment on the BMCR blog

Read Latest
About BMCR
Review for BMCR
Support BMCR

BMCR, Bryn Mawr College, 101 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010