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A study, often using statistics, that identifies and draws relationships between various characters or people within a specific historical, social, or literary context: "an authentic tour de force of historical writing: part intellectual history, part cultural history, part prosopography" (Josiah Bunting III).

[Greek prosōpon, character; see prosopopeia + -graphy.]

pros′o·po·graph′i·cal (-pə-grăf′ĭ-kəl) adj.


1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a description of a person's life and career
2. (Education) the study of such descriptions as part of history, esp Roman history
[C16: from New Latin prosopographia, from Greek prosōpon face, person + -graphy]
ˌprosoˈpographer n
prosopographical adj
ˌprosopoˈgraphically adv


(ˌprɒs əˈpɒg rə fi)
the collective investigation, esp. in ancient history, of the careers of people involved in the same enterprise or affiliated by kinship.
[1925–30; < Greek prósōpo(n) face, person + -graphy]
pros`o•pog′ra•pher, n.


1. a biographical sketch containing a description of a person’s appearance, qualities, and history.
2. a collection of such sketches. — prosopographer, n. See also facial features.
See also: History
1. Obsolete, a description of the face. See also history.
See also: Facial Features
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References in periodicals archive ?
Haacke eschewed the aesthetic criteria commonly used to assess the "quality" of an art object and instead proposed a sort of prosopographical approach to art objects.
From a prosopographical point of view [section] 3, al-Farabi's case, is unproblematic, but [section] 4 is not: who is 'Isa sahib Ibn Masawayh?
Outputs will be a monograph alongside open access digital resources in the form of a prosopographical database and collection of biographies.
46) But our sample count of cabin-dwellers is large enough to suggest a prosopographical profile of these otherwise elusive wageworkers.
While by no means definitive, this prosopographical approach seems fitting, given the fact that antiwar discourse did not rise to the level of a bona fide movement but existed as a disparate collection of voices.
This project will present the most comprehensive prosopographical examination of Loyalists from New York.
Prosopographical Studies in the Oligarchy of the Four Hundred.
Poole's careful prosopographical research on scores of trustees produces some surprising results.
As scholars have no way of knowing the reasons and background for these rotations and transfers, many resort to prosopographical studies of Chinese political and business elites, constructing career and networks databases of individual top leaders.
Overall, the book contains a wealth of insights into the workings of ancient trade and expertly combines discussion of the material evidence--especially of amphorae and wrecks--with the prosopographical approach derived from epigraphic, papyrological and historical data.
He has in mind his register being used in prosopographical studies, so includes social origins and career subsequent to university whenever possible.