We were very happy to be at the Connected Past conference at Aarhus last month (even if did rain pretty much the whole time) discussing the network analytical aspects of our project. We gave a paper on September 30th presenting some of our work with networks so far – here’s a copy of the abstract and our presentation slides:
Multi-scalar festival network agents in the Hellenistic and Roman world: Regions, Kingdoms, and Empire
Adam Wiznura, Tom Britton, and Robin van Vliet (University of Groningen)
In this paper we will present a joint project (NWO and OIKOS Anchoring Innovation) that envisions the spectacular rise of festival culture in the Hellenistic and Roman period as a driving force constantly forging ties and linking the world of Greek communities together. We consider the development of this shared festival culture, embedded in Greek practices, as a key factor in the creation of an imagined community of cities within the Hellenistic world, paving the way for the Roman Empire. The object of analysis is the networks of interaction and ideas produced by agonistic festivals with a focus on the agency behind the networks. Artefactual data on the movements of athletes and the diffusion of prizes and festivals is provided through inscriptions and coinage and is subject to analysis using network-theoretic approaches in combination with agent-based modelling.This paper studies agonistic festivals from several angles, and comprises distinct but interrelated research projects conducted on different scales: At the regional level, festivals in Thessaly are examined using network theory in connection with regional identity processes. Following will be a discussion of Hellenistic kings as agents, using agonistic festivals to legitimize their authority. Lastly, we examine how festivals during the Roman period were anchored in pre-existing Greek practices, connecting the two worlds into a global empire centered on Rome.