© 2017

Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives

  • Ralph Kenna
  • Máirín MacCarron
  • Pádraig MacCarron


  • First monograph on this emerging subject matter

  • Edited and authored by leading researchers in the field

  • Develops novel quantitiative methods for the humanities and social sciences


Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Ralph Kenna, Máirín MacCarron, Pádraig MacCarron
    Pages 1-6
  3. Ralph Kenna, Pádraig MacCarron
    Pages 21-43
  4. Robert Gramsch, Máirín MacCarron, Pádraig MacCarron, Joseph Yose
    Pages 45-69
  5. Yurij Holovatch, Olesya Mryglod, Michael Szell, Stefan Thurner
    Pages 115-130
  6. Peter M. Broadwell, Timothy R. Tangherlini
    Pages 131-157
  7. Yurij Holovatch, Vasyl Palchykov
    Pages 159-175

About this book


With an emphasis on exploring measurable aspects of ancient narratives, Maths Meets Myths sets out to investigate age-old material with new techniques. This book collects, for the first time, novel quantitative approaches to studying sources from the past, such as chronicles, epics, folktales, and myths. It contributes significantly to recent efforts in bringing together natural scientists and humanities scholars in investigations aimed at achieving greater understanding of our cultural inheritance.

Accordingly, each contribution reports on a modern quantitative approach applicable to narrative sources from the past, or describes those which would be amenable to such treatment and why they are important.

This volume is a unique state-of-the-art compendium on an emerging research field which also addresses anyone with interests in quantitative approaches to humanities.


Comparative and Quantitative Mythology Complex Systems in the Humanities Dynamics of Power in the Íslendingasögur Folktale Phylogenetics Language Networks Medieval Texts as Sources for Data Mining Political Networks in Medieval Texts Quantitative Analysis of Medieval Texts Social Networks in Icelandic Family Sagas Social Networks in Past Cultures

Editors and affiliations

  • Ralph Kenna
    • 1
  • Máirín MacCarron
    • 2
  • Pádraig MacCarron
    • 3
  1. 1.Applied Mathematics Research CentreCoventry UniversityCoventryUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information


“For the folklore scholar interested in the digital humanities, this collection offers a window into the realm of statistical physics, and demonstrates new techniques that can enhance folkloristic understanding of culture at scale. While written towards the mathematically inclined, Maths Meets Myths remains accessible because the chapters are not overwhelmingly bogged down by mathematics or statistics.” (David Chartash, Folklore, Vol. 130 (3), 2019)