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From “Magical Names (onomata barbara)” to Religious Realities

> Participants

Director : Nicole Belayche
The project will entail a large European team among which :
・two research centers in Paris : ANHIMA and LEM (UMR 8584)
・Switzerland : Fribourg
・Germany : Augsburg
・Hungary : the Museum of Budapest (which houses the Campbell database)
・Belgium : Brussels
・Italy : Verona, in collaboration with the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris for gems

> About

From 2008 to 2011, the research project CENOB (Corpus des Énoncés des NOms Barbares = “Corpus of Utterances of Magical Names (onomata barbara)”), directed by Jean-Daniel DUBOIS (UMR 8584 / LEM) and supported by the ANR Corpus, established a multilingual database (in Latin, Greek, Demotic, Coptic, Syriac, Hebrew, Aramaic) of “onomata barbara” attested in literary and epigraphic evidence, namely described as “magical.”
Nicole Belayche was in charge of Latin testimonies in this project. Thanks to collaboration with the TGE/ADONIS and financial support from the EPHE, the database may be consulted at
Already during the three years in which the database was established, several historical studies were realized (published or in print). Now that the database is operational, we expect to reap the scholarly fruits of this tool in the project “BARBARa : From Magical Names (onomata barbara)” to Religious Realities”. This tool will be used for philological, linguistic, historical, and religious studies. This will be facilitated by linking the CENOB database to other existing databases. With broad support from European collaborators, the project will take advantage of multidisciplinary approaches to face four main questions :
・historiographical and hermeneutic interpretation of analytical tools (magical names, magical utterances, chains of onomata barbara, etc.) ;
・the phenomenon of linguistic interpenetration in multicultural societies ;
・conceptions of the divine in ritual as contrasted with philosophical and theological representations ;
・so-called magic practices in the societies of the Roman world.

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