Scripta Minora

1031 titles can be listed in the complete scientific bibliography of Franz Cumont (1868-1947). His first publication appeared when he was nineteen years old: in 1887. In that same year Cumont had obtained a doctoral degree in Philosophy and Literature at the State University of Ghent (Rijksuniversiteit Gent). His doctoral dissertation, a study of a new and controversial initiation cult in the Roman world, entitled Alexandre d'Abonotichos, un épisode de l'histoire du paganisme au deuxième siècle de notre ère, was accepted for publication in the series Mémoires de l'Académie belge, 1887, XL + 54 pp. His final masterpiece, Lux Perpetua (524 pp.), a study of ideas on the After Life in the Roman world, appeared posthumously in 1949. Cumont’s scientific life lasted for sixty years and in these sixty years, he published – alone or with co-authors, co-editors - thirty monographs, four hundred articles with original content, more than a hundred entries in major works of reference such as the Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (Pauly-Wissowa), the Dictionnaire des Antiquités grecques et romaines (Daremberg-Saglio) or the Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (Roscher). He also wrote about two hundred reviews.

His work was groundbreaking in his time and had a major influence on later generations. His monumental volumes Textes et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystères de Mithra brought together, for the first time for a specific ancient cult, all the existing sources : literary texts, but also epigraphical sources and material remains such as works of art and objects for daily use. The collection set a new standard for the methodical study of ancient religions. His Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain was an international bestseller, translated into many languages: an English translation appeared in 1911. The book appeared in four, ever expanding, editions, and exercised a major influence on the study of the interaction between East and West in the Roman world. In 2006 the book received a fifth edition, provided by Corinne Bonnet and Françoise Van Haeperen, in collaboration with Bastien Toune. This new edition offers a new historical-critical introduction, discussing the intellectual climate in which the book originated and its reception by generations of scholars. It also offers an appendix, the so-called « atelier », with the numerous changes and personal notes and comments made by Cumont. In November 2006 the Academia Belgica in Rome hosted a conference on Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain: on its scientific and ideological context and its Nachleben. The acts of this conference will appear shortly in the series of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome, edited by Corinne Bonnet, Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge and Danny Praet, entitled Les religions orientales dans le monde grec et romain: cent ans après Franz Cumont (1906-2006). Bilan historique et historiographique. Actes du colloque de Rome, 2006. 

The new edition of Les religions orientales was the first volume of a much larger project of editing the collected works by Franz Cumont. This project, initiated by Walter Geerts, the director of the Academia Belgica in Rome, where the personal archives of Cumont are kept, and by Corinne Bonnet, who had, for many years, been studying the work and the correspondence by Cumont from the viewpoint of his position within the Altertumswissenschaft of his time. In this project, called the Bibliotheca Cumontiana, a selection of Cumont’s monographs will receive a new edition with new critical introductions : the subseries of the Scripta Maiora. The Bibliotheca Cumontiana will also offer a selection of the articles published by Cumont, which for the first time will be collected and published in thematic volumes, with new introductions on the context in which they were written. The new edition of the collected papers by Cumont is planned in seven thematic volumes and to the preparation of this subseries Ghent University has committed itself. The seven volumes of the Scripta Minora will show the enormous diversity of the work published by Cumont, who is sometimes reduced to an expert on pagan cults or even of « les religions orientales »: here one can see clearly how much Cumont published on the history of philosophy, on astrology and magic, on Judaism and Christianity in the Ancient and Byzantine period, on Manichaeism, and on archaeology, notably in connection to the excavations in Dura-Europos.

These webpages want to make Cumont’s Scripta Minora available to the scientific community. The Bibliotheca Cumontiana will offer « only » a selection of his entire scientific output : neither the Scripta Maiora, nor the Scripta Minora will contain all the works by Cumont. But in the course of preparing the edition of the collected papers, the Ghent team did make scans of all the Scripta Minora and put them into a database: this database includes all the articles, even those that will be reprinted in the seven thematic volumes : they include the lemmata in encyclopaedias and the circa 200 reviews. All these scans are offered here in pdf, but in view of the Belgian legislation on copyright (banning open access until 70 years after the death of the author) the scans can not be offered in completely open access. Therefore anyone interested in these scans can obtain a login and a password by writing to Danny Praet at the following address :

The database allows one to search the scripta minora by Cumont in several ways : year of publication, place of publication (e.g. : everything published in the journal Syria, or all the contributions to the RE,…), type of publication (e.g: all his reviews), subject through title or theme. One should bear in mind that Cumont published in various languages (French, but also German, English,…) and that the spelling in titles can even differ within the same language ! (Mani but also Mâni ; Mithras but also Mithra ;…) A demo of how the database works, can be found here: http://screencast.com/t/N3AtGMDu

In open access we can offer a complete bibliography of Cumont, compiled by Annelies Lannoy, with a number of publications that is substantially higher than the existing lists of Cumont’s publications, such as the list of 546 titles offered by Henri Grégoire in the Mélanges Cumont (Brussels and Wetteren, 1936)1, or the Ghent Liber Memorialis of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy (Gent, 1960)2. This site further offers a biography of Cumont in Dutch, written by the former rector of the Rijksuniversiteit Gent and professor of Ancient History, Pieter Lambrechts, who initiated the Ghent excavations in Pessinus, the ancient centre of the cult of the Magna Mater Cybele, and Prof. Dr. Gabriël Sanders, who continued the work of Cumont at the University of Ghent on the ancient views on the After Life, by studying mainly Latin inscriptions. Sanders also wrote the entry on Franz Cumont in the Biographie Nationale de Belgique. (biografie). Naturally, the site also offers an overview of the seven thematic volumes, and of other publications and websites that can be of interest.

This website, the scans it offers and the publications it announces, are made possible by the support of the FWO-Vlaanderen (Fund for Scientific Research of Flanders), by the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome, by the Academia Belgica in Rome and by the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. The scans are mostly based on the collection of offprints of Cumont kept in the Ghent Faculty Library and the Central Library, completed by scans of publications kept in the Academia Belgica in Rome. The Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, by way of the Commission for Scientific Research, financially supported the project allowing us to employ Marjolein De Wilde and Julie Meers, two students finishing their Master degree in Latin & Greek, to arrange the hundreds of scans and prepare the selection for publication in the Scripta Minora. A warm thank you also for the inestimable help from Frederic Lamsens and Gitte Callaert, our colleagues from the Faculty ICT-department, for their help from the very first until the final stages. Doctoranda Annelies Lannoy completed the collection of scans with several hundreds more and completed the bibliography, creating what we hope is indeed a complete list. Her help was equally necessary in bringing this website online. Walter Geerts and Corinne Bonnet have helped the project in numerous ways, and we would also like to thank the people from the library of the Academia Belgica for their help: Aude Alexandre, Pamela Anastasio and Marco Buonomo.



Mélanges Cumont. Bruxelles : ULB. Institut de philologie et d'histoire orientales, 1936. 2 volumes. (XXXVI, 1047 p.: ill.). Série ULB. Annuaire de l'Institut de philologie et d'histoire orientales et slaves 4. Bruxelles & Wetteren, Imprimerie De Meester, 1936.

Rijksuniversiteit te Gent. Liber memorialis 1913-1960. Uitgegeven onder de hoofdredactie van Theo Luykx. Gent : RUG. Rectoraat, 1960. Volume 1: 1. Faculteit der letteren en wijsbegeerte.

Gabriel Sanders, Bijdrage tot de studie der latijnse metrische grafschriften van het heidense Rome : de begrippen 'licht' en 'duisternis' en verwante themata. Brussel : Paleis der Academiën, 1960. (XVII, 443 p.), Serie: Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Vlaamse academie voor wetenschappen, letteren en schone kunsten van België. Klasse der letteren 37.

Gabriel Sanders, Licht en duisternis in de christelijke grafschriften : bijdrage tot de studie der latijnse metrische epigrafie van de vroegchristelijke tijd. Brussel : Paleis der Academiën, 1965. 2 volumes: 1. Aards leven en licht. Duisternis voor en na de dood. 2. Licht na de dood. Serie: Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Vlaamse academie voor wetenschappen, letteren en schone kunsten van België. Klasse der letteren 56. XVII, 443 pp.

Gabriël Sanders, “Gallos” RAC, Bd. 08 (Lfg. 57/64), 1972, 984.

Gabriël Sanders, “Épigraphie et recherches sur les cultes orientaux à Rome. Maarten J. Vermaseren (1918-1985).” Epigraphica 1987 XLIX : 267-272.

Gabriel Sanders, Lapides memores: païens et chrétiens face à la mort: le témoignage de l'épigraphie funéraire latine. Donati Angela, Pikhaus Dorothy, van Uytfanghe Marc (ed.), Epigrafia e antichità , 11. Faenza: Fratelli Lega, 1991; 527 pp.

Zie voor een meer volledige bibliografie en een biografie van Gabriël Sanders ook :
Marc Van Uytfanghe et Roland Demeulenaere (ed.), Aevum inter utrumque : mélanges offerts à Gabriel Sanders, professeur émérite à l'Université de Gand. Instrumenta patristica 23. Steenbrugge: Sint-Pietersabdij, 1991; 537 pp.