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Bibliotheca Academica Translationum

The Bibliotheca Academica Translationum is an international project, directed by Dr Oswyn Murray and Dr Chryssanthi Avlami; its aim is to study the transmission of knowledge between European scholarly communities and its diffusion in national cultures through the medium of translations of works of scholarship made during the period 1701-1917. The project covers classical scholarship (literature, history, archaeology, art, ancient philosophy); arrangements exist for work in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland: we hope to extend to other countries as leaders of research teams are identified.

The project began in 1997, and was funded by Oxford University, the Arts and Humanities Research Board (Britain) and the European Commission. In Europe the project had the support of the Centre Louis Gernet (EHESS, Paris), the Russian Academy of Sciences and the universities of Basel, Brussels, Madrid, Pécs, Pisa and Thessaloniki. The project has been awarded a major Googlebooks research grant for the academic year 2010/11.

The general aims are, firstly to produce an Index based on a computerised union catalogue of all known translations of classical scholarship into the major European languages during the period 1701-1917; this database is now available for consultation at, where it is currently being revised in order to include direct links to Googlebooks and other online sources of scanned material. Secondly our aim is to use this database to produce an account of changes in the transmission of knowledge in this period; conferences have so far been held in Madrid and Rome, and the publication of their proceedings are listed on the BAT site.

Oxford was chosen as the centre for the project, because of its library facilities in the Bodleian Library, the Sackler Library, the Voltaire Foundation and the Taylorian Library. The initial basis of the project involved the interrelations between three countries, Britain, France and Germany; relations between Britain and France are especially important in the 18th century, while in the 19th century Germany became the dominant intellectual force in European scholarship. Subsequent phases have involved collecting material from Spain, Russia, Italy and Eastern Europe.

The initial collection of data involves bibliographical research in relevant major national libraries in order to locate all known academic translations, and physical or on-line inspection of the material in order to complete the information not available from library catalogues. Close collaboration is required between the different groups in order to obtain information about the originals being translated and their intellectual context. A comparative approach, involving study of the varied effects in different countries, is also an essential part of the project. The model we have established comprises a senior scholar (in post) in each country in overall charge, with one or more post-doctoral research posts, and provision for doctoral students who will work on the project in relation to their own research programmes.

Further details

Project Founder and First Director: Dr Oswyn Murray, Balliol College

Contact details:

Bibliotheca Academica Translationum
The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies
66, St. Giles'
Oxford OX1 3LU

Tel: +44 (0)1865 288267

Project database:

Director: Dr Chryssanthi Avlami

Oxford Co-ordinator: Dr Alfonso Moreno, Magdalen

Current Research Team:

Vanessa Cazzato, Somerville
(Googlebooks research fellow)
Dr Caspar Meyer, Birkbeck
Nikos Kokkomelis, EHESS Paris

Former Oxford members of the team:

Dr Susanne Stark
Dr Hazel Bloss, Balliol College
Dr Sarah Cohen, Dalhousie