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 (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 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,  Isthmian victors and Pythian 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 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: Onno van Nijf, Christina Williamson
  • ICT development: Cristian Marocico (database), Jonas Bulthuis (coordinator), Kiki Smallenbroek (website)
  • Data assistance and support: Caroline van Toor,
  • Data entry: Robin van Vliet MA, Tom Britton MA  Adam Wiznura AM,  and Dies van der Linde MA (RHUL), and Pim Schievink (BA)
  • External advice and data entry: Dr A. Farrington (Democritus University of Thrace) and Dr M Skotheim (ASCS -Athens)

We thank our former team members  Pieter Kampinga (until 1-11-17), Jeffrey Schulman (until 1-9-18) and Yoram Poot (until 1-1-2019).

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

Recent Posts

  • Erfurt students learn about networking with ancient competitors

    Where did the victors in the Isthmian games come from in the Hellenistic period? What about the Roman period? What festivals did Pythokles, son of Aristarchos from Hermione, compete in? These were some of the questions that first-year digital humanity/archaeology students in Erfurt were able to answer after an introduction by Christina Williamson in network theory, ancient festivals, and the Connected Contests database. Students were interested to learn about festival culture in the post-classical world, how it spread and how inscriptions provide great sources of data for analyzing relationships ('Those lists aren't as boring as I thought' was overheard). We also learned that exporting files on csv works much better on a laptop than a tablet or smartphone, certainly if you want to do some geo-networking with Palladio! But they enjoyed the interactive component and working with the database. If you want to try out the practicum yourself, the instructions and files are available at  https://github.com/cgwilliamson1/connectinggreeks_demo

  • New Search Option Available

    We have added more sophisticated search option. Not only can you specify that you want to have a list of persons, rather than events, you also can use Boolean operators AND & OR. The find results are downloadable in CSV format for further processing. For instructions,  click on the search database button.

  • The Cotswold Olimpicks

    Slightly tangential: last month witnessed the celebration of Robert Dover's Cotswolds Olympic games in rustic Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds.  These games have been regulalrly celebrated since 1612 and represent a crucial link in between the ancient Olympics and the Modern Games. Onno van Nijf wrote a blog about it (in Dutch), that can be found on www.wetenschap.nu. See also www.olimpickgames.co.uk. Of cousre we would be very interested in finding out how many athletes took part, and where they all came  from ...

  • Minor updates

    There has been an update to the database: we have made some changes to the tables: Region and Age Category are now separate tables; new tables Role and Deme have been added. we have also fixed a problem with exporting ther esults as a CSV file. Please contact us if you experience any further problems

  • New content

    Over 500 individuals have been added to the database, as all the Pythionikai collected by Jean-Yves Strasser in his 2001 volumes 'Pythionikai. Recherches sur les vainqueurs aux Pythia de Delphes' are now online, as well as all members of ecumenical synods collected by Bram Fauconnier for his 2018 dissertation 'Ecumenical Synods. The Associations of Athletes and Artists in the Roman Empire'. We want to thank both scholars for allowing us to add their data to the Connected Contests Database!






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