Connected Contests in the post-classical world

Messene Stadium

Welcome to our website!

Connected Contests is an evolving online research tool to facilitate the study of agonistic networks in the ancient, post-classical world. It is part of a wider research project on the history of athletic and other agonistic festivals from 300 BC-AD 300 (see above under about). This website aims to provide an intuitive database of the many contests of the Greek world, and of the athletes, performers, and other participants in these contests. 

How to use the database and the interactive map?

The quickest way of consulting the database is by clicking on Search Database (click top right in the menu bar). Hovering over the 'Search Database' button will give you the option to search within Events, Persons, Festivals, and Disciplines within our database. Using the 'Advanced Search' option allows for additional search options. As of January 2021, most fields have an autocomplete option to help you find an athlete, festival, region, prosopographic entry, etc. that is in our database. You can download a CSV file with the results. You may also consult the individual databases (see the dropdown menu under 'Database' in the horizontal menubar) which may take some time to load - we are working on that.

You can also take a look at the first version of our geographically and chronologically determined distribution map. The map shows cities in the ancient world where festivals were organised. Sliding the bar below the map allows you to see the chronological development and popularity of the cities and their festivals. By clicking the red bulbs you will see which festivals were hosted by this particular city, how many known participants it attracted, and the names of the athletes and musicians that were born in that particular city. We are working on improving the functionality of the map, i.a. by creating a map that shows the result of any query you might run. 

What is in the database?

The database is compiled from modern collections and catalogues with the aim of making these specialist data available as an accessible and public tool for further studies and network analyses of athletes and their role in connecting the Mediterranean. At this moment (summer 2021) we have entered a little over 2700 individuals with a little over 6000 events (either victories or attestations of someone competing in/attending a festival). The database i.a. includes the following individuals:

- the Isthmionikai - which we have based on  Andrew Farrington's  Isthmionikai: a catalogue of Isthmian victors (2012)
- the Pythonikai (collected by Jean-Yves Strasser, 2001), Aktionikai, and Capitolionikai (based on Caldelli's L'Agon Capitolinus (1993)
- the more than 1,000 Olympian victories (corresponding to over some 800 Olympian victors) collected by Luigi Moretti (1957)
- the final Nemeonikai were added in the spring of 2021, thus completing all known victors of the periodos. We are currently working on adding the non-Nemea victories of the Nemeonikai to the database.
- different datasets of the various members of the Connecting the Greeks project, including for instance a number of competitors associated with Hellenistic dynasties

How to contribute?

We aim to make this website available as an evolving open-access tool. Approved users will be able to edit or add records. Individual users will soon be able to leave comments. We have made agreements for collaboration and data-sharing with a number of international colleagues and we welcome further offers of collaboration. Please contact us via the address below.
If you have questions or comments please let us know at connected.contests@rug.nl or via o.m.van.nijf@rug.nl.

Connected Contests is provided through a grant from the Digital Humanities of the University of Groningen (see About)

Planned maintenance

None planned.

Recent Posts

  • New feature! Distribution map of festivals

    Take a look at the first version of our geographically and chronologically determined distribution map of festivals ((the link is also available via our homepage). The map shows cities in the ancient world where one or more festivals were organised. Sliding the bar below the map allows you to see the chronological development and popularity of the cities and their festivals. The size of the red bulb represents the number of participants in a particular period. By clicking the red bulbs you will see which festival(s) were hosted by this particular city, how many known participants it attracted, and the names of the athletes and musicians that were born in that particular city. We are working on improving the functionality of the map, i.a. by creating a map that shows the result of any query you might run. 

  • New content! Organizers and competitors in Boiotian contests centred on Rome

    The newest addition to the database includes ca. 150 competitors in and organizers of some Boiotian contests associated with the presence of Rome, that were being organized in the second and first centuries BCE: the Amphiaraia kai Rhomaia in Oropos, the Rhomaia in Thebes, and the alleged Erotideia kai Rhomaia in Thespiai. Like other contemporaries, the Boiotians seem to have used their association with Rome through these contests to claim their status in a rapidly changing world.   

  • CfP - Rooted Cities, Wandering Gods: Inter-Urban Religious Interaction

    We are proud to announce that the members of the Connecting the Greeks project are organising a conference on inter-urban religious contacts, to take place (hopefully in person!) at Groningen in the autumn of 2021. We invite anyone interested in cities, religious practices, and the ties between them to submit an abstract – you can read all about the conference theme and confirmed speakers in the full call for papers. 

  • New content! Competitors associated with Hellenistic dynasties

    Over the winter we’ve added a miscellany of competitors associated with the royal dynasties of the Hellenistic world. These range from actual royalty (the Ptolemies in particular were very fond of chariot-racing) to Greeks who came to take part in the new contests established by rulers eager for recognition and cultural authority. Particularly notable is Arsinoe II (Person ID 4178) - successively married to two of the most powerful rulers in the Hellenistic world and the first woman in Greek history to be declared a god, she won three races at the same Olympic festival in 272 BC. Also fun is an unnamed actor from Tegea (Person ID 4202). Known for outstanding performances in tragedies, he also managed to win a boxing contest at the newly-founded Ptolemaia festival at Alexandria. It’s still uncertain whether this means that the quality of the new competition was low, or whether he simply got very lucky!

  • Caldelli's Capitolian victors online

    All victors and participants collected by Caldelli (L'Agon Capitolinus. Storia e protagonisti dall'istituzione domizianea al IV secolo, 1993) have been added to the Connected Contests database. Find out all about the strange story of Herakleides, whose dream that he butchered the audience and judges during his performance meant that he would lose - which he did (event ID 30166). Or about the enormously successful Marcus Aurelius Asklepiades (person ID 656), a.k.a. Hermodoros, who quit boxing in his prime (he was 25) because of 'dangers and envious people' in IG XIV 1102. 

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