A dataset of dynamical social map in ancient China: 618-1644

Published: 16 May 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/vjyh3g8w2r.1
Xiongfei Jiang


The data set of this article is related to the paper "Dynamical structure of social map in ancient China" (2022) . This article demonstrates the data of social relations between cities in ancient China, ranging from 618 AD to 1644 AD. The raw data of social associations between elites used to build social maps are extracted from the China Biographical Database. The raw data contain 14610 elites and 29673 social associations, which cover 366 cities in China. The dataset of this article is relevant both for social and natural scientists interested in the social and economic history of ancient China. The data can be used for further insights/analyses on the evolutionary pattern of geo-social architecture, and the geo-history from the viewpoint of social network. The dataset contains $3$ files: "Networks.xlsx", "Coordinates.xlsx", and "SocialMap.html". The "Networks.xlsx" has 3 columns, representing the source node (city), target node (city), and weight of a link between two nodes, respectively. The "Networks.xlsx" contains $9$ sheets, which are the data for different dynasties named by Early Tang, Late Tang, Early Northern-Song, Late Northern-Song, Early Southern-Song, Late Southern-Song, Yuan, Early Ming, and Late Ming. Noticeably, the "Networks.xlsx" can be visualized by the network software of Gephi directly. The "Coordinates.xlsx" has 4 columns storing longitude and latitude for all cities that appeared in 9 networks. The first and second columns are English names and Chinese names of cities; the third and fourth columns are longitudes and latitudes of cities. The "SocialMap.html" provides a visualization platform, in which users could select and illustrate the evolution of social maps intuitively.


Steps to reproduce

The raw data in this article comes from the China Biographical Database (CBDB), containing elites and their associations in ancient China. We only consider social associations between two individuals, while kinship relations are excluded. The CDBD determines these non-kinship associations for an individual through historical documents. The CBDB records multiple sorts of non-kinship social associations, with 241 types of associations categorized into 10 classes and 35 subclasses. Besides, we only consider the elites carrying geographical coordinates, which are the domicile places. Finally, we collect 14610 individuals and 29673 social associations ranging from 618 AD to 1644 AD. This period contains the consecutive dynasties, including the Tang, Northern-Song, Southern-Song, Yuan, and Ming. Notably, if a city uses different names in history, we only quote the current name for all dynasties. For example, although Xi'an is named Chang'an before the Ming, it is referred to as Xi'an for all dynasties in this article. The CBDB introduces the index year, an arbitrary year assigned to each individual, indicating the peak of one's life. The CBDB has complicated rules to identify the index year. Here we present the rules briefly. Before the 20190424 version, the index year is defined as the age of 60. If one passes away before the age of 60, the CBDB uses the death year as the index year. Besides, if an individual's data are missing, his relative's or scholar's year is applied to determine the index year. In this dataset, an individual is defined as active between 20 years old and the index year. Therefore, an individual is supposed to be active during this time interval, otherwise inactive. A social map is presented by a weighted graph, in which each node corresponds to a city. A weight of edge corresponds to the total number of social associations between two active elites, who locate in two different cities respectively. The weight of the edge reflects the social strength between the two cities.


History, Social Networks