Connected Contests is a website hosted by the University of Groningen, with the ultimate aim of serving as a collaborative tool for specialist studies on ancient athletics and festivals, including spatial and network analyses. The website will allow users to retrieve prosopographical and geographical information about athletes and festivals via a user-friendly interface. The website connects with other sites and contains prosopographical links to Trismegistos (www.trismegistos.org - University of Leuven, Mark de Pauw), with spatial links to Pleiades (pleiades.stoa.org/home - Stoa Consortium, Tom Elliot), epigraphic links to the PHI Greek Inscriptions (epigraphy.packhum.org - Packhard Humanities Institute) and will be linked with the Hellenistic athletes database (http://mafas.geschichte.uni-mannheim.de/athletes/index.php?page=search - University of Mannheim, Christian Mann, Sebastian Scharff).

Connected Contests is part of an ongoing project divided into phases:

  • Phase 1 (2017) - design online database of ancient athletes and performers
  • Phase 2 (planned) - integration of spatial searches and interface allowing for user input
  • Phase 3 (projected 2018-2020) - expansion with additional festival data  

We are currently in Phase 1. The immediate aim is to compile an on-line prosopographical database of ancient athletes and performers in the Roman world based on reference collections and epigraphic corpora. The initial focus was on the design of the database  and ont systematic collection, updating and digitisation of existing collections of evidence for particular types of victors, such as Olympic victors, and Isthmian victors. So far we have concentrated on entering the data on the Isthmian victors. 

Follow our progress on our blog.

Technical Details


The Connected Contests database is hosted by the webhosting service of the Center for Information Technology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. We use a MariaDB RDBMS, which is automatically backed up daily.

The Data Model

The Database Model of the Connected Contests database is presented schematically in this figure. The central table in the database, called Event, represents a single accomplishment of a single Person at a single Contest, in a single Discipline. Thus, the Events are the elementary constituents of our data model. Every other table, such as Person, Place, Contest, Discipline, links to Event. 


This website was produced with funding from a grant in the digital humanities, awarded by the University of Groningen for 2017. This database builds on prototype versions of Ancient Athletes Online developed by Sam van Dijk, Esther van den Berg, and Caroline van Toor.

Current team members include:

  • Project directors: Onno van Nijf, Christina Williamson
  • ICT development: Cristian Marocico (database), Jonas Bulthuis (coordinator), Kiki Smallenbroek (website)
  • Data assistance and support (MA students): Caroline van Toor, Pieter Kampinga (until 1-11-17), Yoram Poot, Jeffrey Schulman (from 1-3-18)

For more information, contact: connectedcontests@rug.nl  or: o.m.van.nijf@rug.nl

Recent Posts

  • Project Launch

    On 1 February we have launched or new NWO-funded research project Connecting the Greeks - multiscalar festival networks in the Hellenistic world. Read the full blog for a nice group photo.

  • Presentation of our Project in Warwick

    On 29 January 2019 Onno van Nijf will present the Connecting the Greeks project at the University of Warwick. He is invited by Prof. Zahra Newby who directs a project on the Materiality of Graeco-Roman festivals. We are looking forward to further collaboration with our colleagues at Warwick.

  • 4 year NWO funding for Connecting the Greeks

    We have just received funding for our project Connecting the Greeks: multi-scalar festivals in the Hellenistic world ...

  • Fellowships for Onno van Nijf

    Onno van Nijf is the recipient of a Visiting Fellowship of the British Academy that he will hold at Royal Holloway University of London from September 2018 to February 2019, together with a visiting fellowship at the Institute of Classical Studies. During the Fellowship Onno will work on a study of agonistic festivals, and continue work on the database.

  • Moretti's Imperial Olympionikai and Brunet's Ephesian athletes online

    For the past two months, we have been entering data from two prosopographies, viz. the athletes from the Imperial period listed in Moretti's 'Olympionikai' (1957) and Brunet's collection of Ephesian athletes, from his 1998 dissertation, 'Greek Athletes in the Roman World: The Evidence from Ephesos'. Save some problematic cases, we are happy to announce that we will finish working on these lists this week. Users can now search through the data of over 500 athletes and musicians who won more than 3000 victories. And for those of you who wondered: no, these over 3000 victories are not largely made up of Emperor Nero's 1808 victories (as claimed by Cassius Dio). Only the victories by Nero that are linked to actual festivals in ancient sources have been added to the database as separate victories. The almost eighty recorded victories by Valerius Eklektos have of course been added separately.






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