Greek names and freed status in Roman Italy : why ancient historians can’t ignore statistics
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The rule of thumb that an individual with a Greek name can be assumed to be of freed status is widely used in the social history of Roman Italy. This paper shows that it is based on a logical fallacy and must be abandoned. There is no valid way to use names to impute the status of individuals without knowing the mix of statuses in the population. The paper goes on to show that it possible to make inferences based on onomastics but that it requires a formal statistical model of the relationship between names and status. The method is illustrated by application to the lists of members of collegia from Roman Ostia.
Lavan , M P 2023 , ' Greek names and freed status in Roman Italy : why ancient historians can’t ignore statistics ' , Chiron: Mitteilungen der Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts , vol. 52 , pp. 1-30 . https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110796841-001
Chiron: Mitteilungen der Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
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DescriptionFunding: This research was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Hardcover ISBN: 9783110794830, eBook ISBN: 978311079684.
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