Character relationships in the Iliad

Posted to Network Visualization  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

The Iliad is an epic poem by Homer with a lot of characters and story lines going on at once. I vaguely remember reading bits and pieces in high school and getting totally lost. Santiago Ortiz explores these relationships in his latest work, which draws on the connections i.e. character sentence co-occurrences.

There are two views. One is a network diagram (above), with characters sized according to number of connections with others, and a matrix view accompanies. The network has sort of a fisheye effect as you mouse over, which I think is there to make it easier to browse, but as it goes with these sort of visualizations, there are still some challenges as you try to get more details or look at smaller nodes.

The second view is a streamgraph, with a stream for each character.

I had trouble getting excited about the content, but it's fun to play around with the interactions.

7 Comments

  • I think this is a neat idea for helping learn about the book – but it doesn’t leap off the page that Meneleus is married to Helen, or that Hector and Paris are Priam’s sons.

    Maybe a genetic map, a familial map, a fight map, a coalition map… overlaid, and then flowed through time…

  • Now if only someone would do this for One Hundred Years of Solitude!

  • For character relationship and narrative visualizations, I still like the xkdc model: http://lebowitz.net/visualization-of-star-wars-lotr-and-jurassic because it adds the framing of time and place, and allows you to see which characters are together in a place and time.

  • > For character relationship and narrative visualizations, I still like the xkdc model

    That is nice – reminiscent of that famous map of Napoleon’s march on Moscow.

  • This is what people in the digital humanities field are doing. See researchers at Stanford University, for example. And it’s a work that actually requires a lot more dedication than just looking at characters co-occurances within a sentence.

  • anyone know what program was used to make the first image?

Favorites

The Most Unisex Names in US History

Moving on from the most trendy names in US history, let’s look at the most unisex ones. Some names have …

Pizza Place Geography

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile radius of where I live, so I have my pick, …

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.