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Editors’ Choice: Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (PBE) Comes Back to Life

One of King’s oldest digital prosopographical project has recently returned to life, and is now freely available online at

The Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (PBE) began as a project back in the late 1980s to produce a prosopography of individuals who appear in sources from the early Byzantine Empire (641-867 AD).

PBE has an interesting story to tell to Digital Humanists, since, unusually for its day, the project seems to have been conceived of from almost its very beginning as a digital project to be published in some kind of electronic from. It was taken up by what was then King’s College London Computer Centre’s Research Unit in Humanities Computing (which eventually became what is now the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s). Thus, staff within the RUHC were actively involved in the conception and development of PBE as a digital product: initially Gordon Gallacher, Mark Stewart, and (when he joined the department in 1997) John Bradley. Throughout, the work was planned and coordinated by Harold Short (who was technical director). Indeed, in the mid and late 1990s there emerged a then highly original vision for prosopography when Gallacher, Stewart and Smythe developed a model to represent prosopography as a structured data project based around a relational database for storage.

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This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Morton based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Catelynne Sahadath, Emily Brooks, Matthew Lincoln, Merisa Martinez, Mazembo, and Ernesto Priego