The <i>Prosopographia Imperii Romani</i> and Prosopographical Method

Werner Eck

in Fifty Years of Prosopography

Published by British Academy

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262924
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734434 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Prosopographia Imperii Romani and Prosopographical Method

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The official birthday of the Prosopographia Imperii Romani was 31 March 1874. That was the day on which Theodor Mommsen formulated an application to the plenary assembly of the Ködeiresniglich Preuβlische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin to launch a ‘prosopography of renowned men of the Roman imperial period’ including chronologically ordered lists of consuls and governors and magistrates in general. But in fact, Mommsen had long before planned to add a summary of this kind to the editions of inscriptions. Mommsen himself probably intended PIR to be the foundation for further historical insights. Almost all the prosopographical works on the Roman empire have one thing in common: their source material predominantly or even solely comprises epigraphic texts in Latin and Greek. Of course, other sources are taken into account as well, but the importance of inscriptions is generally much greater.

Keywords: Roman empire; Thedor Mommsen; epigraphy; prosopographical works

Chapter.  5450 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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