Thanks to the scholarly activities of the members of the “Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres” (in either a personal or in an official capacity), the Academy occupies a place of primary importance in the fields of archaeology, publishing and historical research.
A certain number of committees hold regular meetings. These include both permanent and temporary committees (some of the former are longstanding). It is within these committees that (often innovative) scholarly projects are discussed and elaborated. Other committees are in charge of promoting research (by awarding prizes), or maintaining strong ties to French “Grands Établissements” in other countries. Lastly, some are in charge of technical aspects. At the present time, these committees are essentially dedicated to the publication of literary and archaeological texts that can be used as primary sources for all philological and historical research. These publishing activities are carried out either by academicians or by associates in positions at the C.N.R.S., the EPHE, and at the University. These associates have been selected because of the quality and sound reputation of their scholarly work, as well as their prolific and stimulating contribution to their fields of study.
The “Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres” is indeed a “laboratory” as we illustrated elsewhere, but it is also a “conservatory.” It is a depository for a number of extremely precious archives that are important for historical or historiographical research. The Academy is devoted to putting this heritage to its best use. Aside from the considerable amount of administrative and historical information gathered in the archives, the Academy houses in its Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum files a collection relating to western-Semitic epigraphy along with other original documents. Also, the Academy recently received a bequest of the very rich whole of scientific documentation created by the Hellenistic scholar Louis Robert. This rich collection is currently being inventoried and classified.
The following pages will provide you with a sample of the diverse and rich range of activities undertaken by the Academy.