Serpentarium Mundi by Alexei Alexeev The Ancient Ophidian Iconography Resource (Mundus Vetus, 3000 BC - 650 AD)
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CURATOR | OVERVIEW | CONTENT | CONTEXT | SOURCES | BIBLIOGRAPHY
T ERPENTARIUM MUNDI is a specialized iconography compendium, dedicated to a ubiquitous, intrinsically polysemantic, and often controversial artistic subject: the snake (serpent) and its manifold derivatives. It catalogues representations of real and mythological ophiomorphs and their collaterals in the visual arts of Old World civilizations from 3000 BC to 650 AD.

The compendium's contents are divided into six specialized volumes, organized according to artistic medium or object function. Each volume is divided into six specialized chapters, based on the type of iconographical subject and the context.

The expansion schedule and article updates are listed on the Content page.

The main historico-geographical regions that provided most of the iconographic material catalogued in the compendium and their chronological periodization are listed on the Context page.

The locations of the museum collections, archaeolo-gical sites, and religious complexes that provided most of the iconographic material catalogued in the compendium are listed on the Sources page.

A selection of influential specialized works on ancient ophidian mythology, symbolism, and iconography in various cultural contexts, as well as more general reference works, is listed on the Bibliography page.
 
The creator and curator of the compendium, Alexei Alexeev, PhD.
The creator and curator of the compendium, Alexei Alexeev, PhD.

Work on the Serpentarium Mundi began in February 2013. Its current pilot online version was launched on the 10th of January 2016. All work on the database (research, photography, scanning, downloading, sorting, graphics editing, writing, concept UX/UI design, web development, testing, uploading, maintenance, communication) is being done by the curator using his personal resources.

The growth of the Serpentarium Mundi as a non-profit educational initiative depends heavily on the consistent patronage of academic institutions, foundations, commercial enterprises, and private individuals through grants and donations.
Page 001. Introduction.

The compendium’s source-images come from both internal and external resources. Every attempt is made to maximize use of the curator’s own photographic database. This approach requires regular research travel to review museum collections, archaeological sites, and religious complexes and to photograph objects of interest. The rest of the source-images come from online resources and digital scans. In each case, the copyright holder’s permission was acquired and the courtesy gratefully acknowledged.

Note(s): (1) The compendium now covers Old World civilizations spanning 3000 BC to 650 AD but is intended for expansion to include a broader geographical area (Sub-Saharan Africa, America, Australia, and Oceania) and chronology (Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Early Modern Age). (2) The “pilot” status of the compendium’s online version means that not all intended functionality (e.g., keyword search, social media integration, cross-platform/device responsiveness) is provided. The “functionality demonstrations” are being used for informational and promotional purposes. The fully functional version will be available after consistent patronage and stable financial support are secured. (3) The Serpentarium Mundi is an ongoing project: less than 1% of the intended content has been generated and posted. Completion of the main (intensive) phase of the project is scheduled for December 2024. Afterwards, the compendium will be routinely maintained, updated, and extensively expanded. (4) The compendium’s textual component is undergoing review by an editorial consultant. An updated version with all necessary modifications and corrections will be posted when it becomes available.

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