Text by Marcella Tambuscio

Last week the group Digitising Maximilian presented the first results of the work-in-progress about the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) in the international conference Complex Networks, held in Menton November 27th-December 1st, 2023: the proceedings will be available soon.

While all the other groups are digitising their own material and preparing the digital infrastructure, we started to run some network analysis over the Regesta Imperii corpus, specifically the volume XIII, about Frederick III, the predecessor of Maximilian I. The reign of Frederick III was the longest of all Roman-German kings and emperors and the later years of his rule occupies a pivotal role in the transition of the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. Notably, the co-regency period with Maximilian I between 1486 and 1493 prompts inquiries into continuity and change in personal networks in this period.

We built a co-occurrence network with 13105 nodes and 243283 edges, labeled with temporal information over a time interval of 53 years (1440-1493). With a simple visualization obtained coloring the edges of the network according to their corresponding decade, we can see the crucial role of time in this analysis. We then extracted the 53 sub-graphs induced by the date edge attributes and computed the first 10 nodes with higher betweenness centrality for each year, normalising over the maximum betweenness of that year.

A red dot means a high rank in the top 10 of the hubs, a blue dot means a lower rank

This kind of analysis shows some patterns worth exploring more deeply: (1) Even if a few people have a long permanence it can be immediately observed that the set of main actors evolves rapidly in time. Determining how and why is the next logical question. For example, Maximilian, in the top-center of the plot, rapidly increases his power (a vertical sequence of red points) in the years in which he was co-ruling with his father. (2) Other persons have a high rank only in very short periods, which might link them to specific events dating in this period.


Cite this blog post
Jonathan Dumont (2023, December 12). PROSOPOGRAPHICAL NETWORKS OF MAXIMILIAN I (1459-1519): DEALING WITH COMPLEXITY IN PROSOPOGRAPHICAL ARCHIVES. Managing Maximilian (1493-1519). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

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