Friday, 18 January 2013

The “Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World” joins Pelagios

It is with great pleasure that we announce the incorporation of the Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World into the Pelagios network.

The Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World (EHW) is an online encyclopaedia developed by the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW). The FHW is a private, non-profit cultural organization based in Athens, Greece. It was founded in 1993 and its mission is the preservation and dissemination of Hellenic history and tradition through original research, the development of cultural and educational programmes, the organisation of conferences, seminars and so forth. One of the main tools of the Foundation for achieving its goals is the use of digital technologies such as virtual reality applications and 3D reconstructions of archaeological sites. 

The development of the EHW started back in 2002 and it is still a work-in-progress. Its main aim is to present a coherent picture of the presence and influence of Greek culture outside the borders of the modern Greek state. In the creation of the EHW, the latest ideas regarding the theory of knowledge have been taken under consideration. These ideas introduce the notion of ‘entity’ as a self-contained cognitive element in the field of the humanities, particularly history and archaeology. Each entity has a name, description, characteristics and qualities and it forms hierarchical, relational and/or co-dependent relationships with other entities. The EHW entities are mostly understood as wider thematic units of a geographical, temporal and/or cultural nature, which include data on settlements, persons, events and historical phenomena, their causal relationships and their (usually) divergent interpretations. The EHW, although close to the traditional encyclopaedic projects regarding information morphology, is open to modern knowledge theories and ontologies and can potentially adapt, if necessary, thanks to its flexible electronic character. 

The encyclopaedia contains some 2,000 entries and is divided into three “volumes”: 1) Asia Minor, 2) Constantinople, and 3) the Black Sea. All entries are written by experts in the field, in both Greek and English, and we have also a small amount of entries in other languages (when the author supplied us with the original version of his text as well as the required English one). The entries, which chronologically span from prehistoric to modern times, are divided into four main thematic categories: a) geographical terms, b) persons, c) events, and d) general entries. In the case of the Asia Minor volume, we have also the category “Buildings” due to the Foundation’s involvement with three-dimensional reconstructions of Asia Minor buildings of Antiquity and the Byzantine Period, which has led to the production of a large volume of information relevant to the architecture of the area. Each entry is furnished with a full bibliography, references within the text, links to other encyclopaedia entries, images (such as photographs, maps, and plans), a glossary of technical terms, ancient sources, audiovisual resources and links to relevant websites when available.

In addition to the EHW, the Foundation has also developed two smaller digital encyclopaedias dealing with the history and culture of the Aegean islands and the region of Boeotia respectively. These two projects, although geared more to the general public than to the academic community, are based on the same organizational principles as regards their information structure.

We hope to be able to expand further our encyclopaedic project and cover more geographical/cultural regions in order to contribute to the growth of integrated historical documentation and knowledge on the web.

NOTE: A more "technical" report will follow soon.

On behalf of the Foundation of the Hellenic World,
Dr Ioannis Georganas & Dr Georgios Tzedopoulos


  1. I just stumbled upon their Boeotia pages this morning:

    great stuff!

    Bob Consoli

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. Unfortunately, the management of the FHW decided to close down the History and Archaeology Department, firing its remaining staff (including myself). I really don't know what's going to happen with the encyclopedias and the other projects...