Skip to content

Digital Prosopography

RadaVarga edited this page May 24, 2018 · 13 revisions

Sunoikisis Digital Classics Spring/Summer 2018

Session 6. Digital Prosopography

Thursday May 24, 2018, 17h00-18h15 CEST

Convenors: Rada Varga (Babes-Bolyai University) and Gabriel Bodard (Institute of Classical Studies)

YouTube link:



In this session we will discuss the origins and development of prosopography as a subdiscipline of Classics, up to the handling of historical person-data as structured data in databases, graphs, or ordered documents. We will look at annotation of persons and names in source texts. As an exercise, we will suggest the exploration of a few online prosopographical databases, and comparison of their search features and data structure.

Seminar readings

Other resources

  • Bradley, J. (2016), Factoids: A site that introduces Factoid Prosopography. King’s College London. Chapters: "What is factoid prosopography all about?" and "FPO: Factoid Prosopography Ontology." Available:
  • Depauw, Mark and Bart Van Beek, “People in Greek Documentary Papyri. First Results of a Research Project”, Journal of Juristic Papyrology 39, 2009, pp. 31-47. Available:
  • Hin, Saskia, 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.
  • Varga, R., "Romans1by1 v.1.1. New developments in the study of Roman population', Digital Classics Online, 3, 2, 2017, p. 44-50. Available:
  • Verboven, Koenraad, Myriam Carlier and Jan Dumolyn, “A Short Manual to the Art of Prosopography”. in : K.S.B. Keats-Rohan (ed.), Prosopography Approaches and Applications: A Handbook, Oxford, 2007, pp. 35-69. Available:

Essay title

  • With particular reference to at least two of the online prosopographical and onomastic databases mentioned in this session or in the readings, compare and discuss the data structure, usability, and transparency of each site. What does this tell us about the purpose, research goals, and intended audience of the databases?


Take a look at the search features on the PIR, LGPN and Trismegistos online databases of ancient people and names. Consider and compare (a) the search interface: what features can you use to help you find people you are looking for? and (b) the results: how much information about a person record does each database give you, and how does this data seem to be structured? What different purposes do these databases serve, and to what effect? (You may find it useful to look at this spreadsheet listing persons who appear in more than one of the databases.)

You can’t perform that action at this time.