About us

1. What is the Compendium heroicum?

The Compendium heroicum is an online encyclopaedia published by Sonderforschungsbereich 948 “Helden – Heroisierungen – Heroismen” (Collaborative Research Center “Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms”) at the University of Freiburg. As an interdisciplinary reference work, it provides access to the current state of the research on phenomena of the heroic in different cultures and time periods. It offers explanations on the emergence of heroic figures through processes of heroization, their functions, semantics, mediality and social practice.

The articles are authored by researchers from numerous disciplines in the humanities. This transdisciplinary approach allows a wide historical outlook that stretches from Antiquity to the 21st century, as well as a transcultural perspective interested in the significance of heroic figures from both European and non-European contexts.

The Compendium heroicum is a work in progress. Since the publication of the first entries in 2017, the number of articles is continually being expanded – a process that will continue until at least the end of the Sonderforschungsbereich 948’s third funding phase in 2024. All content is made available to the public as a digital open access publication free of charge.

We encourage researchers from all disciplines to contribute to the expansion of the Compendium heroicum with their own articles – more information can be found here.

Currently, the editors of the Compendium heroicum are Ronald G. Asch, Achim Aurnhammer, Georg Feitscher, Anna Schreurs-Morét and Ralf von den Hoff.

The Compendium heroicum is realised in cooperation with Open Encyclopedia System of the Freie Universität Berlin.

2. Contributing institutions

2.1. Sonderforschungsbereich 948 “Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms”

The SFB 948 was founded in July 2012 at the University of Freiburg with funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). In its transdisciplinary orientation, the SFB 948 brings together researchers from various disciplines in the humanities, including history, literary studies, visual studies, sociology and theology.

The aim of the SFB’s research studies the heroic from antiquity to the present day from a transdisciplinary, cultural, historical and social perspective. The SFB is particularly interested in the social orders that heroic figures both stabilise and simultaneously call into question, and examines why and how heroines and heroes have so persistently served as figures upon which communities can focus their self-understanding. The Sonderforschungsbereich aims to thereby offer explanations on how cultural, historical, social and medial factors shape different societies’ respective notions of what is to be considered ‘heroic’.

For further information:


2.2. Open Encyclopedia System

Open Encyclopedia System (OES) is a web-based, standardised open source platform for the creation of open access encyclopedias. The software is developed at the Center for Digital Systems, Freie Universität Berlin, and is continuously enhanced.

For further information:

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3. Information for authors

3.1. Submissions and topic proposals

We welcome contributions to the Compendium heroicum. Please feel free to suggest subjects or lemmata that you regard as relevant for our encyclopaedia. Alternatively, you can consult our general list of topic proposals. However, we ask you to please contact the editorial team ( first before writing and submitting an article. The final decision on whether or not a submission will be accepted is taken by the editors.

Topic proposals

3.2. Guidelines for manuscripts

When writing your article, please refer to our article manual containing general information on the structure and content of the entries. Please also refer to our style sheet. This will simplify the editing process and expedite the publication of your article.

Article manual
Style sheet

Besides plain text, it is also possible to embed images, videos, audio and select source texts into articles. We would expressly like to encourage all authors to make use of this possibility. In the spirit of German copyright law, the media should not be used purely for illustrative purposes, however. They should have a direct connection to the text or be explained in the captions. It will generally be the responsibility of the authors to clarify the copyright situation of the media they use and, if necessary, to obtain the right to use them. However, the editorial team is happy to assist and advise you on this. In some cases, we may be able to cover royalty costs after consulting with us.

Please send us your manuscript in a common file format, such as Microsoft Word or Open Office, to Submitted manuscripts are proofread and reviewed thoroughly by the editors and by third parties they engage.

3.3. Publication

When a manuscript has been reviewed and accepted, the preparation for its publication begins. The editorial team will review the text for conformity with the style sheet; place cross-references (links) to other articles in the Compendium heroicum and classify the articles based on key words and index entries. After that, the author will receive a galley proof in the form of a PDF and/or HTML website and, if necessary, will be requested to incorporate final corrections.

An article published in the Compendium heroicum is an academic publication that will appear under the author’s name. Each article is given a unique URL and a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to ensure that it can be cited academically without qualification. In cooperation with the University Library Freiburg’s Freidok plus project, the Compendium heroicum guarantees that all published texts are stored long-term and error-free.

The Compendium heroicum supports incremental publication. This means that authors can revise and add to their already published articles. To ensure transparency, each revised article is given a new version number in addition to a new DOI and URL; earlier versions of an article also remain retrievable.

The Compendium heroicum makes articles available according to open access principles to support the free accessibility and global exchange of knowledge. To that end, all articles are published under the Creative Commons licence “Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)”.

If you have any questions, please contact the editorial team. (