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 Depauw), 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 (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 (2018) - expansion with additional festival data, further refinement of UI
- Phase 3 (2019-2023) - expansion with additional festival data; integration of spatial searches and interface allowing for user input

We are currently in Phase 3. The immediate aim is to compile an online 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 on the systematic collection, updating, and digitization of existing collections of evidence for particular types of victors, such as Olympic victors,  Isthmian victors, and Pythian victors. 

Follow our progress on our blog.

Technical Details

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

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 in 2017, the Research Assistant Project of the Faculty of Arts (2018) The British Academy (2018-2019), and a major grant from NWO (2019-2023). 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 Prof. Dr Onno Van Nijf & Dr Christina Williamson
ICT Development Dr Cristian Marocico (database), Dr Jonas Bulthuis (coordination)
Data assistance and support Iris Loois, Caroline van Toor
Data collection Tom Britton MA, Robin van Vliet MA, Adam Wiznura MA
External advice and data entry Dr Andrew Farrington (Democritus University of Thrace) and Dr Mali Skotheim (ASCS Athens)

We thank our former team members Pieter Kampinga (Nov. 2017), Jeffrey Schulman (until Sept. 2018), Yoram Poot (Jan. 2019), Dies van der Linde, RHUL (Sept 2018-April 2019), Nadine Blaak (July and August 2019), Epameinondas Kazolis (2020), Pim Schievink (2019-2021)

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

Recent Posts

  • Added Strasser Mémoire de champions

    We have now added references to Jean-Yves Strasser's  magisterial corpus Mémoire de champions. Corpus des palmarès d'Octavien à Valentinien Ier. Athens, 2021 (École française d'Athènes). This wonderful work is available online via   >> https://books.openedition.org/efa/13782?. Blang=en <<

  • New feature: mapping who went where

    It is now possible to view the trajectories of individual athletes and performers: if you do a persons search you will get a map with registered victories.

  • 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. 






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