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A Distributional Perspective on Primary Sources from Ancient Greece

Laurent Gauthier


Ancient Greek history is sometimes perceived as offering a dearth of material for quantitative approaches, and it has not benefited from much interest from either quantitative historians or cliometricians. In this paper, we show that there is a strong potential for the quantitative exploitation of ancient Greek data, but new methods may be required. Indeed, focusing on primary sources, we build several large-scale and centralized datasets by exploiting electronically available, albeit sometimes atomic, literary and epigraphic texts, such as the Diorisis corpus, inscriptions from PHI, onomastic sequences from the BDEG and MAP, and individual names from the LGPN. Stepping aside from the methods that are common in quantitative history, we then consider the information in a distributional perspective inspired from the methods of complex systems analysis. Relying on this renewed combination of clio and metrics, we point out a series of regularity patterns in these historical records. Considering ancient Greek data in a nonatomic fashion, in the light of broad distributional patterns, raises new questions for historians.
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Dates and versions

hal-03315002 , version 1 (05-08-2021)
hal-03315002 , version 2 (20-08-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03315002 , version 1


Laurent Gauthier. A Distributional Perspective on Primary Sources from Ancient Greece. 2021. ⟨hal-03315002v1⟩
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