Social Networks in Roman Comedy

This project aims to generate “social network maps” among characters in ancient Roman Comedy.

Plautus’ work is one of the few places in ancient Roman literature where we encounter people of different statuses, ethnicities, economic classes, and genders interacting with each other. (Most ancient Latin literature tends to feature elite, Roman, male figures; Plautus is a rare exception.) The interactions among Plautine characters are crucial evidence for a more accurate understanding of ancient Roman society, but until now they have never been examined from a contemporary networking perspective. We fill this gap by using multiple indices of interaction—including the total lines spoken between characters, the total time onstage, and the total number of characters in a play, among others—to create the first visualizations of Plautine social networks. Our prototype can be viewed at

Core People