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Tableau Ironviz: Rulers of Ancient Rome

Written by Timothy
Monday 27 June, 2016

Each year, Tableau organizes three different Iron Viz contests, allowing Tableau users around the world to demonstrate their skills and build a dashboard or story revolving around a certain subject. I was personally a tad disappointed with the first contest this year, for which I had submitted the entry "The Simpsons and Food". It turned out that people from a limited number of countries were legally allowed to participate in the contest, and Belgium was not one of them. While I thought my entry was quite fun, unfortunately it was not a valid entry for the contest. Well, in the end it was a fun exercise anyway!

Fast forward a few months to the second round of the Iron Viz contest, where Tableau brings us most pleasurable news: the contest is now officially open to people from a lot more countries, including Belgium! This means we are now able to enter the greatest viz battle in the universe! Tableau then also announced the subject of the second round: Politics.

To be completely honest, I was a bit discouraged upon learning this new theme. I'm personally not interested in politics at all, and therefor thought I might skip this round to focus on the third subject. Then however my girlfriend came up with a fantastic idea: the subject doesn't have to be limited to politics of today. Why not pick a historical politics-related topic? Much more interesting in my own opinion.

Specifically, the subject ended up to be the Rulers of Ancient Rome; a look at the kings, consuls and emperors who held power over antiquity's greatest nation. The data for this subject is readily available on the internet and easy to scrape. I used Import.io to retrieve data from a few Wikipedia pages (List of emperors, List of consuls, ...), and enriched that data with some more "spicy" information like the cause of these rulers' deaths.

The result ended up to be some kind of interactive infographic, which you can view below. We first take a look at the three different forms of government that Ancient Rome has known, then dive into each of those specifically. Special attention is payed to the Roman Empire, as the stories around the emperors, how they obtained this position and how they died are most interesting. Have a look at the viz below and play around to interactively learn about the Rulers of Rome! Click the image to actually open the viz in Tableau Public.

When done, tweet with the tag #ironviztvermeiren to show your support! I'll offer you a beer next time we meet.

 

Rulers of Rome 2