Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire

Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (usually abbreviated as PLRE) is a set of three volumes collectively describing many of the people attested or claimed to have lived in the Roman Empire from AD 260, the date of the beginning of Gallienus' sole rule, to 641, the date of the death of Heraclius, which is commonly held to mark the end of Late Antiquity. Sources cited include histories, literary texts, inscriptions, and miscellaneous written sources. Individuals who are known only from dubious sources (e.g., the Historia Augusta), as well as identifiable people whose names have been lost, are included with signs indicating the reliability.

The volumes were published by the Cambridge University Press, and involved many authors and contributors. Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, John Robert Martindale, and John Morris were the principal editors.

  • Volume 1, published on March 2, 1971, comes to 1,176 pages and covers the years from 260 to 395.
  • Volume 2, published on October 9, 1980, comes to 1,355 pages and covers the years from 395 to 527.
  • Volume 3, published on October 15, 1992 is itself a two-volume boxed set coming to a total of 1,626 pages and covering the years from 527 to 641.

As of October 2007, the volumes cost $300, $350, and $420 respectively, so the total collection of 4,157 pages comes to $1070. As of September 2016, each volume (consisting of two hardbacks per "volume": 1A&1B, 2A&2B, 3A&3B) costs £69.99, totaling £209.97 for the full set.

The work was announced in the 1950 issue of the Journal of Roman Studies as a project of the British Academy, with the goal of doing "for the later Empire what the Prosopographia Imperii Romani has done for the Principate, to provide the materials for the study of the governing class of the Empire. The majority of the entries will be persons holding official posts or rank together with their families, and the work will not include clerics except in so far as they come into the above categories."[1]

The Prosopography of the Byzantine World project aims to extend coverage to 1265.

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