Welcome to The Letters of Libanius!

Beginning as a simple spreadsheet which catalogued the different editions and translations of all of the works of Libanius, this project quickly grew into something much bigger. It now stands as a database that catalogues as much metadata about the letters of Libanius as possible. A second goal was quickly added to this project, which is to represent spatially the distribution of Libanius' letters across the Roman Empire. A third goal was recently added to this database, which is to create a digital prosopography on the people that are involved in Libanius' epistolary network. This project, much like this website, is still in its infancy however, but letters and prosopographical information are added on a somewhat regular basis. This simple website attempts to link together all of the aspects of this big project.

Quick background to this project:

Libanius was a teacher of rhetoric during the fourth century AD whose school was in Antioch. He left behind an immense corpus composed of 64 orations, 51 declamations, 57 introductions to the speeches of Demosthenes, some school exercises and about 1544 letters. In the early 20th century, Richard Foerster made an edition of the whole of Libanius' work, which remains canonical to this day. After Foerster, editions and translations of the works of Libanius have been limited to a rather small number of cherry-picked orations and letters. While it is relatively simple to find your way through the orations (even if you have to consult more than 30 different editions/monographs to cover what has been worked on so far), the letters represent a more sizeable challenge, not only because there are about 1544 of them, but also because only about half of them have been edited or translated (sometimes with ample commentary) since Foerster's canonical edition. To help scholars find their way through the corpus of letters, some scholars have made useful indexes for the letters on which they have worked. I believe this can be taken a step further.