Project Description: COMPASS

COMPASS. Digital Manual of Maritime and Meteorological Knowledge

Project coordination: Ulrike Gehring (Trier) | Andreas Lammer (Nijmegen)

The interdisciplinary research project COMPASS investigates the transfer of maritime and meteorological knowledge from antiquity to modern times. Relevant terms from natural philosophical treatises, sailing instructions, maps or logbooks are identified, analysed across epochs and made accessible in a multimedia online compendium. This dynamically expandable digital knowledge space links material and immaterial evidence. The selection of material is not limited to texts, images and objects, but also includes ideas, craft techniques and practices such as navigation, weather forecasting and shipbuilding.

With the help of COMPASS, core meteorological concepts are made accessible from a cross-epochal, cross-cultural and cross-professional perspective: Did sailors mean something different by „storm“, „wind“ or „wave“ in antiquity than in modern times? What polysemantic shifts do words or sign codes undergo in different languages and language families (Greek and Latin, Syro-Aramaic and Arabic, French and English, or Spanish and Dutch)? Who was familiar with which terms and through which channels did they circulate among practitioners, scholars and artists?

COMPASS cooperates with national and international research institutions, museums and libraries. A team of more than 11 researchers, mainly from the fields of philosophy, art history and classical studies, is developing the lemma „wind“ in a first, conceptual pilot phase. As soon as further entries have been lexically and semantically indexed, they can be made accessible to maritime research as an open access project soon.