Stable URL: concepts and previou...

Key concepts and previous reference works

The online database is built around concepts that require explanation. To make them clearer, I will try to draw comparisons with existing reference works representing a similar kind of information.

Personal names

Personal names are basically lexical items. Names spelled differently but having same semantic and grammatical features are treated as one name. Personal names in the database generally correspond to entries in Ranke 1935; however, on numerous occasions separate entries defined by Ranke are treated as different spellings of one and the same name in this database.


Each personal name in the database has one or several spellings. In the sources, personal names are spelled in different scripts, writing directions and layouts. In the database, spellings are normalized to left-to-right hieroglyphic lines, as is common in other hieroglyphic dictionaries. Thus, spellings found in the database do not reproduce the original, but only represent the order of signs. Orientation of signs is generally disregarded. Different forms of the plural determinative (three strokes or dots in various arrangements) are all treated as one and the same sign.


Under a spelling heading one finds all attestations of this spelling in the indexed sources. The general rule of indexing is one spelling pro personal name pro person pro source (as defined in Scheele-Schweitzer 2014, 16). That is if the same spelling of the same name held by the same person occurs several times in one source, it is only entered once in the database.


At the bottom of the page listing all attestations of a personal name one may find a list of dossiers. Each dossier represents a group of attestations of the same person in different sources. For a definition of dossier, see also below.


Titles are lexical items representing administrative, religious, military, ranking and honorary titles held by people in the indexed sources. They generally correspond to entries in Ward 1982. It is not always possible to draw a clear line between laudatory epithets (which should generally not be included in the list) and titles in the strict Egyptological sense. Unavoidably some laudatory epithets are occasionally listed as titles; yet, the database does not aim to be a comprehensive index of such epithets. The titles are normalised by inserting the indirect genitive marker in all positions where it could be used in similar titles even if no attestation of this particular title displays a genitive marker at this position. Spellings of titles are not distinguished. Attestations of titles are entered into the database following the rule one attestation pro title pro person pro source.


Under People one finds both the dossiers (groups of attestations of the same person in different sources) and the attestations of personal names that cannot be securely attributed to any dossier and are thus considered separate persons. These two kinds of entities are stored in two different tables in the database, but for the sake of convenience, a single search interface is provided to access them. One may choose to limit the search results to dossiers with multiple attestations. The People search form allows searching for a single person/dossier or a pair of persons/dossiers that stay in a particular relation to each other. The familial relations between attestations of persons in a source are entered following the factoid approach (Bradley and Short 2005): only the relations stated in the text are entered. By contrast, relations between the dossiers are established based on the totality of available sources.


Each dossier represents a person attested in several sources. Items listed as dossiers correspond to entries in Franke 1984a and subsequent reference books on Middle Kingdom prosopography.

Inscribed Objects

Inscribed objects are artefacts from the selected period with inscriptions featuring at least one non-royal person. Inscribed objects in the database roughly correspond to entries in the Topographical Bibliography. The page devoted to each inscribed object includes all persons named on it indicating the familial bonds between them. These object pages are in a way analogous to entries in Lieblein 1871 and Lieblein 1892.
NB: spellings are normalized, do not accurately reproduce original spellings and are not meant to be used as publications of objects.


Places are modern and ancient place-names that can be associated with a database entry. Places can act as a finding place (provenance), installation place (the place where the object should have been installed judging from the inscription even if found elsewhere, the origin of the owner (established based on textual evidence), or the place of production (as suggested by artistic evidence).


Collections are modern museums and other collections where objects are identified by inventory numbers. The page describing each collection includes a list of all inventory numbers associated with objects in the database. NB: one object can have several inventory numbers.

Name types

Name types are formal patterns and semantic classes into which personal names can be divided. Each name can belong to several name types, and each name type may have child types. The classification follows the principles elaborated by Ranke 1952 and Vernus 1986c and summarized in Vittmann 2013a and Vittmann 2013b.


The Bibliography lists all publications referred to in database entries. Webpages, archival materials, databases are not included in the list of publications. The page describing a single publication includes all entities published or referred to in the publication.
NB: entries, which mention a publication in a note, not in the bibliography, are not included.