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Presentation of the project


Personal names constitute a fundamental source for our understanding of ancient societies.  Onomastics reveal much about an individual’s cultural, social and geographic identity. Studying them throws important light on the processes of cultural change that affected the inhabitants of the Roman Empire as well as on family relations and the social organization of civic communities across the Roman provinces. 

The Iberian peninsula has long been a fertile area for the study of ancient onomastics. It has benefited from a long-standing tradition of research by major scholars such as María Lourdes Albertos Firmat and Jürgen Untermann and from a landmark publication: the Atlas antroponímico de la Lusitania romana, published in 2003 by the Institut Ausonius (Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux III) and the Fundación de Estudios Romanos (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida), the result of ten years of research by the « Grupo Mérida », an international research network comprising colleagues from Spain, Portugal, France and Canada. 

This work, which marks a fundamental advance in research on the onomastics of the Roman Empire, provides the scholarly community with an indispensable research tool. Based on the information available until 2002, its 339 maps and 2030 different names illumine in a specific and original manner the social fabric of the province of Lusitania in the High Empire. 

This web-site ADOPIA represents the continuation of this project. It combines the results of cutting-edge epigraphic research with all the advantages of new digital technologies, since its digital format allows new epigraphic data to be rapidly incorporated, resulting in a constant updating of the material.

The numerous possibilities that a Digital Humanities approach offers add considerable value and impact to the information now available, since ADOPIA allows both simple and advanced searches of names and individual naming practices attested in the provinces of Roman Hispania, as well as immediate mapping of the results of such searches. 

After uploading the material from Lusitania, ADOPIA will introduce onomastic data from the two other Hispanic provinces. The research team is currently working on the material from Baetica.

The work currently in process forms part of a research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada / Conseil des recherches en science humaines du Canada (SSHRC/CRSH): “Names and Identity in Roman Spain: the ADOPIA project” (Partnership Development Grant #890-2017-0039). This major support is supplemented by that provided by ADOPIA partner institutions the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (York University), the Institut Ausonius (CNRS – Université Bordeaux-Montaigne), the Centro CIL II (Universidad de Alcalá) and the Archivo Epigráfico de Hispania (Universidad Complutense, Madrid).