Monica Berti edited this page Mar 20, 2017 · 24 revisions

Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017, 17h00-18h15 (CET time)

Session coordinators: Rada Varga (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and Gabriel Bodard (Institute of Classical Studies, London)

YouTube link:



In this session we will consider the digital capture of person-data from the ancient world, both at the level of the individual, and at the scale of populations. How is personal and biographical data (prosopography) encoded in digital form? What advanced methods can help us ask research questions of person databases? How do these data formats and methods compare and interact with each other?


  1. Introduction: classical prosopography
  2. Structuring person-records
  3. Querying person records (case study)
  4. Prosopography at scale
  5. Practical exercises

Required readings

Further readings

  • John Bradley, and Harold Short, “Texts into databases: the evolving field of new-style prosopography”, Literary and Linguistic Computing 20, Supplement (2005), 3-24.
  • Yanne Broux and Mark Depauw, “Developing Onomastic Gazetteers and Prosopographies for the Ancient World through Named Entity Recognition and Graph Visualization: Some Examples from Trismegistos People”, Social Informatics. SocInfo 2014 International Workshops, GMC and HISTOINFORMATICS, Barcelona, Spain, November 10, 2014, by L.M. Aiello and D. McFarland, vol. 8852. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Heidelberg, 2015, pp. 304-313.
  • Diane Harris Cline, "Six Degrees of Alexander: Social Network Analysis as a Tool for Ancient History." Ancient History Bulletin 26, 2012, pp. 59‐69. Available:
  • Saskia Hin, Dalia Amor Conde and Aadam Lenart, “New light on Roman census papyri through semi-automated record linkage”, Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 49:1, 2016, pp. 50-65.
  • Kees Mandemakers and Lisa Dillon, “Best Practices with Large Databases on Historical Populations”, Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 37:1, 2004, 34-38. [For the theory of a population database, not strictly for antiquity.]
  • Giovanni R. Ruffini, Social networks in Byzantine Egypt, Cambridge, 2008.
  • Rada Varga, The peregrini of Roman Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, 2014.


Practical exercises

  • Exercise 1: Trace (a) a person between R1by1 and PIR, and (b) between R1by1 and other inscriptions or other sources in which they appear.

(a) You know that Marcus Statius Priscus was, at some point, governour of Dacia. Find his attestations and identify his bios in PIR.

(b) You come across this inscription: Try to construct a prosopographic file for the dedicator, identifying all the information available in sources.

  • Exercise 2: create a TEI personography record in XML and a SNAP aggregation record (in plain text) from either one of the persons you have looked into above, or someone else of your choice, e.g. from an inscription or papyrus.

Tutorial for Ex. 1

For R1by1, you will have to use a guest account, with the login credentials: User:; Password: 12345678.

For searching people, go to the Personal Data table and click Search Filters. Fill in and/or check the data you know on a given person.

For searching inscriptions, go to the Inscriptions table and click Search Filters. If you already have the inscription ID, fill in Inscription code. If not, again, fill in and/or check the data you know.

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