The Weakest Link: Elite Social Networks in Republican Italy

  • January 2012, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/9789004229600_013

What is it about?

Networks of personal contact and obligation between individuals, particularly those of elite status, were an important feature of the societies of ancient Italy throughout Antiquity. They could be mediated through various means – kinship and intermarriage, formal guest-friendships or a variety of other ties of obligation. These went well beyond purely personal relationships, and could have wide-ranging significance, serving as important conduits for contact between Romans and Italians, and between different areas of Italy and channels for spreading cultural ideas and influences. However, their essentially fluid nature, and the fragmentary nature of the evidence can make it difficult to examine their extent and their modes of operating. This paper examines how these networks operated , their strengths and limitations, and what they could be used to achieve, in the light of social network theory.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004229600_013

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Kathryn Lomas