Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae

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The Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae ( LIMC ) is a comprehensive reference work on ancient mythology from the point of view of its pictorial representation ( iconography ). In addition to Greek , Roman and Etruscan mythology, including their manifestations in the Mediterranean cultures influenced by them ( periphera orientalis and periphera occidentalis ) are dealt with .


Knowledge of ancient myths from literature alone - epic poetry , poetry and tragedy - remains patchy. In many cases, however, the pictorial tradition with its various genres such as sculpture , vase painting , wall painting and handicrafts offers a great deal of additional information, for example on versions of legends and dates. These works began before Homer in the Mycenaean period and, in some periods in abundance, extended into late antiquity . These sources are dealt with in the LIMC in partly very detailed articles on legendary figures such as gods , heroes , personifications and motifs such as the Paris judgment . All legend pictures are reproduced in the table volumes in the order of their motifs.


The initiator and responsible editor of the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae was the archaeologist Lilly Kahil . The creation and publication of the lexicon was carried out by the Fondation pour le Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, based in Basel, consisting of a board of trustees , an international scientific committee and an editorial committee. The development of the entire work was carried out under the coordination of a central editorial office in Basel with research units in France at the LIMC CNRS in Paris and in Germany at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg . The articles in the Lexikon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae come from scholars from more than 40 countries. The international character is also reflected in the fact that the articles appeared in different languages, namely in German, English, French and Italian.

The foundation was dissolved in 2014, the LIMC archive is continued by the University of Basel . A database of the relevant literature, which appeared after the respective articles were completed, was kept in Heidelberg.

The lexicon was published in nine volumes from 1981 to 1999 by Artemis-Verlag Zurich / Munich. Eight volumes contain the articles and illustrations, each of which is divided into two volumes (a text volume and a table volume). The ninth volume, which also consists of two sub-volumes, contains the indices. In 2009 a supplementary volume, Supplementum 2009, was published, again in two sub-volumes.

Bibliographical information

Fondation pour le Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (ed.): Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae (LIMC). Artemis & Winkler Verlag, Zurich / Munich 1981–1999, ISBN 3-7608-8751-1 :

  • Volume I: Aara - Aphlad (1981)
  • Volume II: Aphrodisias - Athena (1984)
  • Volume III: Atherion - Eros / Amor, Cupido (1986)
  • Volume IV: Eros (in Etruria) - Heracles (1988)
  • Volume V: Heracles - Kenchrias (1990)
  • Volume VI: Kentauroi et Kentaurides - Oiax (1992)
  • Volume VII: Oidipous - Theseus (1994)
  • Volume VIII: Thespiades - Zodiacus et Supplementum (1997)
  • Index band:
    1. Museums, collections, places (1999)
    2. Literary and epigraphic sources on works that have not survived. Mythological Names (1999)
  • Supplementum 2009 (text and table volume, Artemis Verlag, Düsseldorf 2009, ISBN 978-3-538-03520-1 )

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