A digital database for the prosopography of the Roman Republic (DPRR). By Claudia Beltrão – UNIRIO
Classical scholarship is undergoing a significant mutation, and digital technologies have played an important part in this process. Its growing use has allowed for the creation of virtual environments as well as tools to produce, handle, and engage with data and knowledge that come what we call “digital” sources. One of our current problems is to ensure that these various tools are properly indexed and interoperable. The lack of a tool similar to the LGPN is one difficulty in research that concerns the nomination of women within the Roman Republic. The traditional Prosopographia Imperii Romani (PIR), the oldest prosopographical project, also available online, focuses on viri notabiles between Augustus and Diocletian. Like almost any prosopography on the Roman Empire, the PIR mainly takes into consideration epigraphic inscriptions written in Latin or Greek. Coins, texts from manuscript tradition, and papyri are resorted to on a lesser scale. Besides, the PIR is organized like a prosopographical file without association or relation to another database.
Of course, we do have prosopographies for periods preceding Augustus, of which most are in print and some excellent. But these undertakings are generally carried out according to functions or professions, such as those by Broughton & Robert (The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, 1951), Nicolet (L’ordre équestre à l’époque républicaine, 1966-1971), and Rüpke (Fasti Sacerdotum, 2005). The future publication of the database Digitising the Prosopography of the Roman Republic (DPRR) is bound to meet many classicists’ expectations. Based at King’s College London and under the direction of Henrik Mouritsen, the project works from several existing prosopographies as well as the Paulys Real-Encyclopäedie (RE, Wikisource Open Access). By combining the data that these resources currently provide about the socio-historical identity of individuals, the DPRR aims to offer a digital database with stable URI and that will interchange data on a large scale, according to the guidelines the Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies (SNAP:DRGN) and the Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI). Thus the DPRR shows outstanding potential that will allow us to revise old certainties and to bring up new questions. Prosopography makes a very useful contribution to societal studies, in particular that of Republican Rome where the visibility of female individuals remains low. Through gender studies, in a way, prosopographical studies have received heightened interest. THE DPRR, by widening the possibilities of analyzing names and social identities, will probably prove a very useful tool for the study of social dynamics in the Roman Republic.