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prosopography Line breaks: pros¦op|og¦raphy
Pronunciation: /ˌprɒsə(ʊ)ˈpɒɡrəfi/

Definition of prosopography in English:

noun (plural prosopographies)

1A description of a person’s appearance, personality, career, etc., or a collection of such descriptions: Genet’s prosopography of the members of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages
More example sentences
  • On the broadest construal, this would issue in a comprehensive prosopography of everyone who had ever lived in a given territory (and of a good many who lived outside it).
  • His book examines the society's first century via a prosopography of its 255 members.
  • This is a miniature prosopography, exploring the ‘cultural, religious and social characteristics of machine builders’.
1.1 [mass noun] The study of prosopographies, especially as an aspect of the study of Roman history.
Example sentences
  • Putting aside the opening and closing pages, the study would seem a quite readable effort in political prosopography.


Pronunciation: /ˌprəʊsəpəˈɡrafɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • A bold, brilliant work, it transformed classical studies by applying prosopographical techniques (looking at the group biographies of Roman senators) to the politics of early Rome.
  • From a prosopographical viewpoint, the inclusion of the descendants of Augustus's granddaughter Julia, the earlier wives of the emperor Claudius and their immediate lineage, as well as the lineage of Poppaea would have been useful.
  • The author's conclusions regarding social, economic, and legal integration rest entirely on detailed prosopographical sketches of a limited number of apparently representative families.


1920s: from modern Latin prosopographia, from Greek prosōpon 'face, person' + -graphia 'writing'.

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