Elena Gritti: New Prosopographies about Late Antique and Byzantine Italy

A large number of research centres and universities around the world are carrying research projects specifically dedicated to the development of prosopographical databases. For the Roman world, two major series, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire and the Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire, are providing the bases for prosopographical studies and over the last twenty years, the discipline had experienced unprecedented development. There has been and there is still much debate about methodology and approaches in the field of prosopography. Nowadays, studies are, however, mainly focusing on mobility and networking among people or circulation of ideas, which are particularly benefiting from the prosopographical methods. Indeed, prosopography can help scholars to better understand the relationships between individuals and institutions. In our digital humanities era, a lot of projects have thus been creating websites focusing on or about prosopography, with various approaches and interdisciplinary visions. Following the thread that leads from Jones, Marrou and other scholars to the current prosopographical studies, the University of Bergamo also developed such a research project, which is devoted to the relations between the Eastern Mediterranean and Transpadanian Italy, from the 2nd to the 7th c. AD. Thanks to two major research grants, two volumes were already published: E. Gritti, Prosopografia romana fra le due partes Imperii (98-604). Contributo alla storia dei rapporti fra Transpadana Oriens, Bari, Edipuglia, 2018-19; together with a digital extension: http://www.humot.it (available online until the end of 2020). Moreover, a third volume of Salvatore Cosentino’s Prosopografia dell’Italia bizantina (Bologna, Editrice Lo Scarabeo, 1996-2000) is now in preparation, in order to complete it. All these works are the result of research projects that are also including developments in digital format, which have the further objective of accompanying the more conventional way of presentation of written sources, with a share analysis of the material finds that are still visible in the areas investigated in both prosopographies. An even more effective way to understand the actual context and the consequent transformations have taken place in the territories covered by these publications.