Werner Eck

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211524
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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Derived from the Greek word prosopon, person, prosopography denotes a scholarly discipline that is concerned with historical personages. It is, taken literally, ‘the study of persons’. To be occupied with persons in the context of Roman history and culture is not something that has emerged only with more recent developments in scholarship. Even medieval historiography, and, to an ever greater extent, antiquarians since the time of the Renaissance have constantly been concerned with people from the age of Rome. This article looks at Theodor Mommsen and the beginnings of prosopography in ancient history, Cocceius Nerva and the adoption of Trajan, and the methodology and hazards of prosopography.

Keywords: Rome; history; Theodor Mommsen; prosopography; Cocceius Nerva; Trajan; culture; persons

Article.  6760 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History ; Classical History

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