DPRR: Digitizing the Prosopography of the Roman Republic

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Henrik Mouritsen

    Dept of Classics - King's College London

  2. 2. John Bradley

    Department of Digital Humanities - King's College London

  3. 3. Dominic Rathbone

    Dept of Classics - King's College London

  4. 4. Maggie Robb

    Dept of Classics - King's College London

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DPRR: Digitizing the Prosopography of the Roman Republic


Department of Classics, King's College London, United Kingdom


Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, United Kingdom


Department of Classics, King's College London, United Kingdom


Department of Classics, King's College London, United Kingdom


Paul Arthur, University of Western Sidney

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
Paul Arthur

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Roman Republic
structured prosopography
linked data

classical studies
databases & dbms
historical studies
semantic web

Rome’s remarkable development from a modest Italian city-state into the ruler of a Mediterranean empire arguably happened because of its highly competitive aristocratic elite during the time of the Roman Republic (500 BC to 31 BC). The
Digitizing the Prosopography of the Roman Republic project
1 at King’s College London (Department of Classics, and Department of Digital Humanities [DDH]) aims to enhance the understanding of this story through the development of a digital prosopographic database of these elite individuals, and believes that through its availability online a host of old questions from Roman Republic history as well as many new ones will be made feasible to explore. Through the database one will be able to see an individual’s career patterns, connections with their families and links between families, and evidence for the process of how families got themselves into the elite group.

The name of the project is significant in that, unlike other prosopographies that DDH has undertaken, this one draws heavily on several existing print and digital prosopographies that are already in existence, and we believe that it is in the bringing together of data from these hitherto separate resources that new insights will become available. Of the prosopographical work available, Broughton’s study of office-holders (1951–1952, supplement 1986) remains the standard work. However, DPRR has arranged that more recent prosopographical work by Nicolet (1966–1974), Rüpke (2005), Zmeskal (2009), and others will also be included. Underpinning all of this is the monumental
Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (Pauly et al., 1893–) which dates from the late 19th century and continues to provide the basis against which historical identity of individuals is argued even today. Indeed, the way to represent not only the combined data from these quite different sources in a single structure, but also to deal with their disagreements, is one of the issues the project will be exploring.

The project will draw on the experience of the Department of Digital Humanities at KCL through its use of its highly successful ‘factoid’ design for structured prosopography (Bradley and Short, 2005; Pasin and Bradley, 2013), which has been already successfully applied to several other structured prosopographies in which DDH was a partner, including
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE),
2 the
Prosopography of the Byzantine World (PBW),
3 and more recently the
People of Medieval Scotland (PoMS),
4 People of Northern England (PoNE),
5 and the
Making of Charlemagne’s Europe,
6 although the secondary-source nature of the material for DPRR will necessitate some modifications to the factoid principles.

DPRR expects to become a key resource for scholars interested in the classical world at the time of the Roman Republic, and will thus be participating in the various linked data initiatives currently under way in the digital classics field. In particular, as an online resource, DPRR will be contributing URIs for its various individuals, and expects to make available the data it holds about its individuals using linked data conventions such as RDF. In this regard, it hopes to participate in the continuing work of the SNAP:DRGN
7 project, and to work with the broader LAWDI
8 community. In addition, the factoid model for data often opens up the data for network analysis techniques such as Social Network Analysis (SNA). DPRR also intends to explore what SNA potential might be found in its data, drawing on the experience DDH has had with applying SNA techniques to the factoid model of the
People of Medieval Scotland dataset.

1. Funded by the UK’s AHRC.
2. http://www.pase.ac.uk.
3. http://www.pbw.kcl.ac.uk/.
4. http://www.poms.ac.uk/.
5. http://www.pone.ac.uk/.
6. http://www.charlemagneseurope.ac.uk/.
7. http://snapdrgn.net/.
8. http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/Linked_Ancient_World_Data_Institute.


Bradley, J. and Short, H. (2005). Texts into Databases: The Evolving Field of New-Style Prosopography.
Literary and Linguistic Computing,
20(Suppl. 1): 3–24.

Broughton, T. and Robert S. (1951).
The Magistrates of the Roman Republic. In De Lacy, P. H. (ed.),
Philological Monographs. Vol. 1:
509–100 BC; Vol. 2:
99–31 BC; Vol. 3 Supplement. Atlanta: Scholars Press ed.

Nicolet, C. (1966–1974).
L’Ordre équestre à l’époque républicaine (312–43 av. J.-C.). Paris.
Pasin, M. and Bradley, J. (2013). Factoid-Based Prosopography and Computer Ontologies: Towards an Integrated Approach.
Literary and Linguistic Computing, June 29, doi:10.1093/llc/fqt037.

Pauly, A., Wissowa, G. and Kroll, W. (eds). (1893–).
Real-Encyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaf: Stuttgart and Munich.

Rüpke, J. (2005).
Fasti sacerdotum: die Mitglieder der Priesterschaften und das sakrale Funktionspersonal römischer, griechischer, orientalischer und jüdisch-christlicher Kulte in der Stadt Rom von 300 v. Chr. bis 499 n. Chr. 3 vols. Wiesbaden.

Zmeskal, K. (2009).
Adfinitas. Die Verwandtschaften der senatorischen Führungsschicht der römischen Republik von 218 - 31 v. Chr. Passau.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2015
"Global Digital Humanities"

Hosted at Western Sydney University

Sydney, Australia

June 29, 2015 - July 3, 2015

280 works by 609 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (10)

Organizers: ADHO