Compendium heroicum

The Online Encyclopaedia on Heroes, Heroizations and Heroisms
by Sonderforschungsbereich 948 at the University of Freiburg

What is the Compendium heroicum?

The Compendium heroicum is an interdisciplinary reference work that provides access to the current state of the research on phenomena of the heroic in different cultures and time periods. It has been compiled since 2017 by Sonderforschungsbereich 948 “Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms” at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Researchers from numerous disciplines in the humanities are involved, authoring articles collaboratively and making them available here as a digital open access publication.

The Compendium heroicum is a work in progress and the number of articles has been continually expanded. 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.


Articles A–Z

What are heroines and heroes, how do they emerge and have an impact in different historical and cultural contexts? The articles presented here explain significant aspects of the heroic as well as theoretical concepts that enable an understanding of heroisation processes and heroic phenomena.


German Edition

Find even more content in the German edition of the Compendium heroicum.


Homeric Heroes

‘Homeric heroes’ are primarily the characters of the Iliad and the Odyssey, epic poems attributed to Homer (2nd half of the 8th century BC, authorship and dating are disputed). The best-known examples are the respective protagonists Achilles (the Iliad) and Odysseus (the Odyssey). Secondarily – but not discussed in detail here – any heroes in…

Aias with the body of Achilles or Menelaus with the body of Patroclus


Hero Types

Heroic figures and models of heroic action

Culture & Practice

Communities and their heroes in historical context

Objects & Attributes

The materiality and symbolism of the heroic


On the representation, aesthetics and narrativity of the heroic


Concepts and approaches to explaining heroic phenomena