Prosopography and Byzantine Identity

Paul Magdalino

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

Prosopography and Byzantine Identity

Show Summary Details


This chapter reflects on the contribution of prosopography to Byzantine studies during the second half of the twentieth century. To get it right, the set of identities has to be comprehensive, each identity has to be complete and correct, and its points of contact with other identities have to be clearly visible. Prosopography retrieves and labels the bits, then it boxes the kits, from which past identities are assembled and interpreted scientifically. While it may not be committed to delivering finished solutions, it lays out the steps by which they are reached, through its absolute commitment to the principles which make it a distinct form of historical science: that every piece of historical data should be related to an identifiable historical person, that multiple identities should not be confused, single identities should not be multiplied and collective identities should always be defined in terms of connections between individuals.

Keywords: prosopography; Byzantine; Rome; historical science; collected identities

Chapter.  8010 words. 

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at British Academy »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.