SOCRATES: Experiments with SNA 

A GIF Gallery

This composite sociogram below was made by collecting all relationships in the pages of Xenophon's Symposium and Memorabilia, all of Plato (except for the letters), and Plutarch's Lives of Alcibiades, Pericles, Nicias, and Cimon. I have also gone through the pertinent chapters of Diogenes Laertius. When I am working on Socrates's social network I eliminate the Life of Cimon. After collecting the names in the first two columns of a spreadsheet, I then analyze the data using NodeXL and UCInet. I find the images are more attractive and easier to work with in NodeXL but the SNA statistics package is more robust in UCInet.



The sociogram below shows the interrelations of clusters in Athenian society based around the Egos of Socrates, Pericles, Nicias, Cimon, and Alcibiades. The sources include Plutarch's Lives of Cimon, Pericles, Nicias ad Alcibiades, along with Socrates including Plato and Xenophon and some minor works.

socrates and his circle



In the next one, rather than using a cluster algorithm, I made groups based on attributes: The following chart based on all the sources for 5th century Athens named above, breaks out individuals into Socratics (students, followers, and close associates to Socrates), sophists (teachers of rhetoric who are paid), philosophers (not paid, often originally from outside Athens), intellectuals (statesmen, other teachers and symposium guests), students studying with teachers other than Socrates, and finally none of the above. Note: Socrates himself is "hidden" from this chart so that his connections would not interfere with our ability to study these relationhips. Starting from the overall view without any red edges, you will see the clusters in the following order: whole, other students, philosophers, sophists, Socratics, intellectuals, and everyone else not in those categories. If one of your favorite philosophers is called a Sophist or Socratic please feel free to make your own charts. Seriously feedback is welcome but you know how fluid these roles were back then.



Here (below) is Socrates by himself, all the red lines radiate from him alone to show how connected he is with all of these parts of Athenian society. From lower right corner: Other Students (yellow), Philosophers (reddish), Sophists in Green, Socratics in Dark Green, Intellectuals in Light Blue, and in Dark Blue, everyone else.



Now, going back to the clusters generated by the Clauset Newman Moore algorithm, let's look at each of those Attribute Groups light up across the network. Different order, I'm afraid: starting from blank, see everybody else group first, then the intellectuals, then the Socratics, then philosophers, then students. The Socratics one looks brighter because I included Socrates rather than hiding him.