Connecting Late Antiquities

Connecting Late Antiquities is a collaborative project to create an open, electronic prosopographical database for the Roman and post-Roman territories between the third and seventh centuries AD. Its main aim is to digitise, unite and link existing resources to create a consolidated reference work. Such a work will dramatically improve access to information for all scholars of this period and allow the easy integration of prosopographical material with online geographical, textual, epigraphic and papyrological resources.

The need for a late-antique prosopography has long been recognised, with Theodor Mommsen planning such a project after the completion of the Prosopographia Imperii Romani. In the second half of the twentieth century, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire and the ongoing Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire have done much to realise this aim, although no electronic version is available for either of these invaluable reference works.

Technological developments have provided new opportunities for prosopography, including allowing for both constant updating and an expansion beyond the traditional focus on the higher echelons of society. The Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire and Prosopography of the Byzantine World projects provide excellent examples of the greater possibilities allowed by this approach. Connecting Late Antiquities will draw together material from a variety of major printed prosopographies and specialist electronic databases, as well as incorporating entries for 'sub-elite' individuals who are attested in ancient sources, but have not been included in earlier publications. This approach will allow more extensive research into understudied figures and their social connections.

The initial stage of the project is already underway and is centred on the digitisation of the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, with permission from Cambridge University Press. This three-volume reference work is being transformed into a searchable online resource, complete with internal cross-references and the marking up of places, dates and other personal names, as well as textual, epigraphic and papyrological sources. We are also assigning URIs to each individual within the prosopography, in preparation for the incorporation of this material into the second stage of the project. The digital PLRE will be made openly available on the Cambridge Core platform and will be a very useful resource for scholars in its own right, as well as providing the foundation for our larger project.

Participants 

The project is led by a core team at Exeter, London, Cambridge and Sheffield:

We are very keen to welcome other collaborators into the project. These could include scholars who are working on related projects which could be linked to our own or those who have other relevant expertise and would be interested in joining our advisory board. If you are interested in working with us, please contact Richard Flower.