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The Homeric social network

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 19, 2013

The structure of the social network among characters in Homer’s Odyssey indicates the story is at least partially based on actual events.

In analysing the Odyssey, they identified 342 unique characters and over 1700 relations between them.

Having constructed the social network, Miranda and co then examined its structure. “Odyssey’s social network is small world, highly clustered, slightly hierarchical and resilient to random attacks,” they say.

What’s interesting about this conclusion is that these same characteristics all crop up in social networks in the real world. Miranda and co say this is good evidence that the Odyssey is based, at least in part, on a real social network and so must be a mixture of myth and fact.

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