The rich collection of texts and written sources concerning the Italian historical earthquakes collected in the CFTILab is indeed unique; both in terms of its consistency – it contains 34,218 bibliographic entries - and of its characteristics. The collection comprises all the works used in the investigation of the earthquakes listed in the CFTI Catalogue. The common element that over time has led to the formation of this particular corpus is therefore the contribution of each writing to the knowledge of one or more earthquakes of the past. This collection is therefore really unique, as it consists of typologically different texts, works written in different languages over a period of more than two thousand years, reflecting the different historical periods, the institutional events that affected the Italian territory, the extra-national effects of Italian earthquakes that occurred near the national borders, and the interest that the strongest Italian earthquakes generated outside these borders, also in the past.

testi e fonti

A large part of the collection, almost half of it, is made up of direct historical sources, those providing first-hand basic data on historical earthquakes. They derive from the two largest memory containers feeding historical seismology investigations: that collecting works by individuals (chronicles and memorial sources, that is, the testimonies of individual memory, including the testimonies of naturalistic erudition), and that of the institutions, in the broadest sense of the term. Therefore, documents that were produced and are now preserved in the archives of public institutions, important families (large private administrations), religious bodies (the territorial organization of the Church, i.e. the ecclesiastical hierarchies and religious orders), and notarial institutions (the regulators of economic and social relations of any society). Indirect sources, consisting mainly of proto-journalistic texts (handwritten and printed notices, gazettes) and of more formal journalistic reports in the most recent period (press and newspapers), are also very abundant (over 15% of the sources).

The collection also includes sources that are specific of the seismological practice, such as scientific reports and field surveys carried out on major earthquakes by contemporary experts, texts stemming from the historical seismological tradition, earthquake catalogues stemming from the erudite and positivistic tradition, and repertoires produced by the national seismic services, which in their turn include macroseismic postcards, questionnaires and bulletins. Direct, indirect and negative sources amount to over 80% of the total number of sources. By negative sources we mean those consulted as potentially containing information on one or more earthquakes, whose negative feedback still comprises valuable negative evidence. The remaining 20% ​​is represented by two important textual typologies: historiographical studies, which allow the demographic, social, economic and institutional contexts, before and after the earthquake, to be outlined in detail, and finally, articles and scientific books that deal with specific earthquakes or seismogenic areas.


Statistics of the text types used in the CFTI5Med, organized according to the testimonial value (as shown in the legend). Each figure is followed by the % weight relative to the full body, which includes 47,211 entries in total.


Sources and texts (34,218) used in the CFTI5Med (available in the relevant section of the 'tools' menu) are subdivided into 47,211 entries, as each work may contribute information to more than one earthquake (see the graph). CFTI5med makes 23,538 of these entries available in the form of searchable PDFs: mostly as transcripts of the specific portions of text that are relevant to the research (PDF_T), and partly as digital scans of the original works (PDF_R: searchable only if derived from printed texts). For all texts written in a language different from Italian ​​(e.g. Latin, Greek, Spanish, French, English, German) a translation is provided along with each transcription.


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