Athenians Project

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Classics, the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, has been considered for centuries a quintessential research subject for the education of humanity.  It gained its foothold in many European countries in the 1800’s and 1900’s diminished only by the occurrence of World War II.   In this modern day 21th Century, the passion thrives again as researchers from all over the world utilize innovative methods and technologies to enrich the many facets of the study of the rich ancient world.

Plato & Aristotle in The School of Athens by RaphaelThe Athenians Project is a multi-year, ongoing project of the study of the persons of ancient Athens. Athens was the largest city in Greece, and controlled a region called Attica. Nestled between the many mountains were fertile valleys, with many luscious farms. The abundance of valuable resources including silver, lead and marble that lie beneath Attica funded the opulence of Athens. In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy. It was also home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum.  Prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of this ancient world such as Aeschylus, Euripides, Pericles, Plato, Socrates, Sophocles were all from Athens. Because of its cultural and political achievements from 500BC to 400BC, Athens is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization and the birthplace of democracy.

Socrates, an Athenian Philosopher 469BC-399BCThe Athenians Project began back in the 1970s.  In the last 40 years, efforts were made  to preserve, compile and document handwritten card-files of  Dr.Benjamin Dean Meritt on the persons of Ancient Athens. This effort also included data collected by Johannes Kirchner who lent his work to the field of epigraphy and prosopography of ancient Athens in his book “Prosopographia Attica” on the citizens of Ancient Athens to the pre-Augustan period.

The Athenians Project is now headed by Professor Emeritus John S. Traill of the University of Toronto in the Classics Department. Under Professor Traill’s leadership and by using modern technology, over a 100,000 entries have been digitized and maintained in an Empress Embedded Database . The database is used to search data in a variety of ways for further study. The entries includes Athenian citizens at home and abroad, slaves, resident aliens, and foreigners honored at Athens—all the known men and women of Athens from the beginning of alphabetic writing to the Byzantine period. Part of the data is made available to anyone via the Website Attica and on this website. The complete Athenians Project data is available in set of hardbound printed volumes titled “Persons of Ancient Athens”.

"A half century earlier, even Albert Einstein, one of the most profound intellects in human history supported the project ab initio.  Both Einstein and Meritt were original members of the Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  Now that's class!"      Professor John Traill.

News & Events

Berlin Conference

The 14th International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy

August 27 - 31, 2012.


Digitizing the Ancient World of Epigraphy

Printed Volumes:  Persons of Ancient Athens

PAA Foreword by Dr. Benjamin Dean Meritt  The stones discovered between 1931 and 1967 in the Athenian Agora were given a preliminary publication in the journal Hesperia by Meritt and some 35 collaborators as their varied interests ... 


Map of Attica 
  Map of ATTICA


Lettered ATTICA: E-Epigraphy Reflections on Three Decades of Computing Attic Inscriptions

ATHENIANS: The Persons of Ancient Athens

An Athenians Celebration - The Biographical Dictionary Nears Completion

Bringing Computers To Classics

Making Census of the Athenians - by Dan Falk, The Globe and Mail

Computer Aid in Quest for Old Athens - by Pamela Cornell, Toronto Star

Copyright ©2012 Athenians Project, Toronto, Canada