Vol. 4 (2020): The Ties that Bind. Ancient Politics and Network Research
Wim Broekaert, Elena Köstner, Christian Rollinger (eds.)
During the last decade, the field of ancient history and classics has witnessed a slow but steady increase of publications applying to Greco-Roman history the concepts of social network analysis (SNA). While initially mainly introducing the concept of networks and connectivity in a metaphorical sense, recent research increasingly turned to the more quantitative aspects of network analysis. It is therefore quite remarkable that few attempts have been made to apply the tools of formal network analysis to a research topic ideally suited for this particular approach, viz. Greco-Roman politics. Literary sources, inscriptions and papyri offer a wealth of information on municipal and imperial elites, careers, selection procedures, and most importantly, the ties of family, marriage, friendship, patronage, and bribery that connected them. As the case studies in this special, guest-edited issue of The Journal of Historical Network Research show, SNA promises to offer new perspectives on a research field mainly dominated by more traditional prosopographical studies and at the same time provide a powerful tool for analyzing and visualizing social and political connections in ancient societies.