Digital Prosopography and Network Analysis

Silke Vanbeselaere - Katholische Universität Leuven

The aims of the workshop “Digital Prosopography and Network Analysis” are to illustrate social network analysis as a technique for identifying and disambiguating historic actors in a large dataset, and to understand the rationale and implications of using this method for historical research. 

The online platform Trismegistos, which includes almost half a million attestations of individuals in Greek and Egyptian texts between 800 BC and AD 800, serves as the dataset from which we export our data.

The main focus of this talk, however, will be on the use of the network visualization program Gephi as a user-friendly and efficient tool for prosopographical research. The workshop introduces participants to the advantages of using Gephi for network visualisations of historical data and accompanying statistics.

I aim to teach participants how to read visualisations, how to detect communities in a large historical dataset and how to distinguish between different social relations in a community and, in the end, how to combine traditional prosopographical research methods with digital network tools in order to shape new methodologies for historical research.