Dr. des. Tambs Lena

108000 €

Interpersonal Relationships in Early Ptolemaic Egypt: A Network Analytical Study of the Zenon Archive (263-229 BCE)

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The purpose of the proposed project is to test social and economic theories on empirical data retrieved from a very large body of ancient documents through employment of formal Social Network Analysis (SNA). The 1846 ancient texts derive from the largest archive to have survived from ancient Egypt and hold unparalleled potential for studying interpersonal relationships and social structures in the ancient past on empirical grounds. In order to unlock this potential, I will extract and record a very large number of social and economic relations from the ancient material in a bottom-up approach, and analysing the dataset in the form of social networks. As such, I will use conceptual and computational SNA methods to address the overarching question of how, in a period of intense cultural exchange, macro- and micro-history can be united by retrieving individual agency from written sources. Doing so on a large scale will allow me to draw statistically supported conclusions about aspects of daily life and the structural dynamics of human interactions in 3rd century BCE Egypt that usually are inaccessible to the ancient historian. I I will join the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE), University of Helsinki, and intend to complete the proposed research, prepare a monograph for publication and present aspects of the work at international conferences and in peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals over a three-year period.