The first CD-ROM of H. Heinen’s (ed.) Handwörterbuch der antiken Sklaverei is accompanied by a booklet (present on the CD-ROM itself as well) with a concise introduction to the history of the well established project Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei (Studies in Ancient Slavery) conducted at the Mainzer Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur (Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature). The project was initiated by J. Vogt in 1950, continued by H. Bellen from 1986 until 2002 and by H. Heinen from 2002 until today. Its results have appeared in the Abhandlungen of the Mainz Academy and in the series Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei. To name just three titles: Corpus der römischen Rechtsquellen zur antiken Sklaverei presently in four volumes (1999-2005), the Bibliographie zur antiken Sklaverei (third edition, 2003), both in the series Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei – Beihefte, and the Übersetzungen ausländsicher Arbeiten zur antiken Sklaverei in five volumes published between 1966 and 1992. The latest addition to the series is the Handwörterbuch der antiken Sklaverei (HAS) (Concise Dictionary/Lexicon of Ancient Slavery), planned as an alphabetical reference work. It embraces persons, things and terms. The lexicon will embrace approximately 1500 keywords in c. 2400 columns. The first 480 columns have been released on a CD; the first of the planned five. The remaining four CDs will appear successively until 2010. After all the articles are on hand and older articles have been updated, a conventional book version is planned. In the book form the Handwörterbuch will consist of two large-format volumes, each with approximately 600 pages, as well as an index volume.
Its authors see the Handwörterbuch as a scientifically based lexicon of slavery and related forms of dependence. The focus is on classical antiquity, but neither the neighbouring cultures (Ancient Near East, Egypt, Carthage, etc.) nor the national and international research on slavery remain neglected. Related forms of dependency in civilizations outside of Europe (India, China, Japan, America, etc.) will also be included. History, law, philology and archaeology are all taken account of as relevant disciplines, and a wide circle of specialists has been formed as the editorial board. The leader of the whole project Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei and the chief editor of HAS is H. Heinen, aided by A. Binsfeld and J. Deissler. The main language of publication is German and articles in English, French and Italian are also accepted. The CD-ROM version is open to changes and addition of new keywords. Each article consists of the keyword, structure of the article (optional), text, cross references (optional), bibliography, name of the author.
After successfully installing the CD-version of the Handwörterbuch and starting the program, two windows open on the screen. In the left one is an alphabetical list of all entries (142 are currently available). In the main entry of each keyword it is possible to mark with different colours sources, personal names, geographical names and subjects by accessing the option Einstellungen. In the right window one finds some very useful options. One is a quadruple index of literary and epigraphical sources featuring as keywords or mentioned in them, of people (ancient and modern), of ancient and modern geographical names and of subjects (in German), and a click on any entry brings you directly to its place in the related keyword. In the right half of the screen one can also conduct searches in the main text, bibliography and keywords; other options allow you to enlarge images from the main text and to add your own notes to the Lexicon’s entries. Under the option Extras one finds a list of abbreviations, names of all the authors of articles, and supplements to some articles (at the moment only a history of slavery in the Pharaonic Egypt by G. Vittmann).
Technical instructions are very detailed, aimed at a non-specialist, and comprise installation (at the moment only on a PC computer), start and end of the program, thorough directions on how to navigate through the Lexicon and take full advantage of its potential (copying and pasting the texts of entries, adding notes, printing, searching, etc.). The only deficiency I was able to find is that it is not possible to do searches in Greek.
Over sixty scholars from various conutries contributed to the first of the five planned CD-ROMs. Their articles can be classified in the following categories: 1. slaves and freedmen in ancient authors (e.g. Apuleius, Atticus, Augustinus, Cato Maior, Catullus, Cicero (als Sklavenherr), Galenos von Pergamon, Gregor von Nazianz, Johannes Chrysostomos, Livius Andronicus, Naevius, Nepos, Sallust, Seneca Minor, Tertullian, Varro); 2. terms related to slavery (e.g. actiones aediliciae, aediles, anakrisis, apatores, apophora, Asyl (Römisch), auctio, Berufe/Tätigkeiten, castratio, choris oikountes, dagramma andrapodon, edictum aedilium curulium, epikrisis, Eunuchen, familia publicanorum, Flucht, Freigelassene (Römisch/juristisch), Grab/Grabformen, Grab/Grabrecht, gymnasion/palaistra, Halbfreiheit, Handel (Griechenland), Handwerk (Griechenland), Heloten/Helotie, Hof (Griechisch), ingenuitas, kat’oikian apographe, Kolonat, Kriegsgefangeschaft, Märtyrer/Martyrium, Militärdienst, Misthophorountes, Öffentliche Sklaven, Paramone, Prostitution (Rome), Räuberwesen, Selbstmord, Sklavenkauf (Römisch), Sklaverei der Moderne, Strafe/Bestrafung (Römisch), Tragoedie (Römisch), Vasenmaler/ -töpfer); 3. research institutions and individual researchers of ancient slavey (e.g. I. Biezun/ska-Malowist, H. Kreissig, S. Lauffer, M. I. Rostovtzeff, F. Vittinghoff, Ch. E. Welskopf, Groupe international de recherches sur l’esclavage dans l’Antiquité (
The preceding list of a choice of entries makes obvious the breadth and the aspirations of the project. A general impression is that in the Handwörterbuch der antiken Sklaverei we will have a long overdue, first-rate handbook on ancient slavery, masterfully written by leading experts of the subject. It will be unreservedly welcomed by a whole range of specialists on the Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome and Early Medieval period.