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Social Networks in Byzantine Egypt

Social network analysis maps relationships and transactions between people and groups. This text was the first book-length application of this method to the ancient world, using the abundant documentary evidence from sixth-century Oxyrhynchos and Aphrodito in Egypt. Professor Ruffini combines a prosopographical survey of both sites with computer analyses of the topographical and social networks in their papyri. He thereby uncovers hierarchical social structures in Oxyrhynchos not present in Aphrodito, and is able for the first time to trace the formation of the famous Apion estate. He can also use quantitative techniques to locate the central players in the Aphrodito social landscape, allowing us to see past the family of Dioskoros to discover the importance of otherwise unknown figures. He argues that the apparent social differences between Oxyrhynchos and Aphrodito in fact represent different levels of geographic scale, both present within the same social model.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The centralized elite of Oxyrhynchos; 2. The growth of the Apions; 3. Aphrodito and the strong ties of village society; 4. Quantifying Aphrodito's social network; Conclusion.


" Ruffini has made an important and provocative addition to modern scholarship on the social history of late antiquity." --BCMR "The book's pioneering use of social-network theory, underpinned by rigorous quantitative analysis, is a welcome contribution to papyrology and the social history of the Byzantine world. The future of the field looks promising, indeed." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Elisabeth R. O'Connell, The British Museum

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