Definition of prosopography in English:



  • 1A description of a person's appearance, personality, career, etc., or a collection of such descriptions.

    ‘Genet's prosopography of the members of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages’
    • ‘This is a miniature prosopography, exploring the ‘cultural, religious and social characteristics of machine builders’.’
    • ‘The work then presents an equally detailed prosopography of the families that kept said taverns.’
    • ‘The prosopography continues with a self-contained and disproportionately long multigenerational family history of the Zudendorp clan, complete with discussion of its historiography.’
    • ‘His book examines the society's first century via a prosopography of its 255 members.’
    • ‘On the broadest construal, this would issue in a comprehensive prosopography of everyone who had ever lived in a given territory (and of a good many who lived outside it).’
    1. 1.1mass noun The study of prosopographies, especially as an aspect of the study of Roman history.
      • ‘Putting aside the opening and closing pages, the study would seem a quite readable effort in political prosopography.’


1920s: from modern Latin prosopographia, from Greek prosōpon ‘face, person’ + -graphia ‘writing’.