Cover page

Table of Contents



Title page

Copyright page




Notes on Contributors


Abbreviations, Reference Works

Abbreviations and Glossary, Ancient Authors


CHAPTER ONE: Personal Perspectives

Why I Study Ancient History, and Why I Suppose it Matters

Why Ancient History?

A Roman Historian Reflects

A View from Japan

The Relevance of Ancient History: an Australian Perspective sidere mens eadem mutato?

PART I: Evidence

CHAPTER TWO: Historiography

1 The Writing of History in Antiquity

2 The Debate over the Nature of History

3 Change and “Unhistorical Thinking”

4 The Present and the Past

5 Conclusion


CHAPTER THREE: Epigraphical Cultures of the Classical Mediterranean: Greek, Latin, and Beyond

1 Introduction

2 The Alphabet and Greek Public Epigraphy

3 The Diffusion of Latin Epigraphy

4 Greek, Latin, and Regional Epigraphy

5 Conclusion


CHAPTER FOUR: Papyrology

1 Material, Methods, and Approaches

2 The Impact of the Papyri


CHAPTER FIVE: Numismatics

1 Introduction

2 Greek Numismatics

3 Roman Numismatics

4 Roman Provincial Numismatics

5 The Future


CHAPTER SIX: Archaeology and Ancient History

1 From the Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century

2 The Twentieth Century

3 Future Directions



1 Introduction

2 Oratory and the Courts

3 Oratory and Politics

4 Writing and Reading Speeches

5 Conclusion


CHAPTER EIGHT: Ancient History Through Ancient Literature

1 Introduction

2 Transmission

3 Lost in Translation?

4 The Meaning of the Text

5 Interpretative Pluralism and Literary “Resistance”

6 Literature and Historicism


PART II: Problems and Approaches

CHAPTER NINE: Ancient History Today

1 Public Perceptions

2 Boundaries of the Subject

3 Some Pioneers

4 Changing Directions

5 Structural Factors

6 Problems and Opportunities

CHAPTER TEN: Political History

1 The Changing Character of Political History

2 Historicizing Historiography

3 From Historical Positivism to Political Culture

4 A Tralatician Historiography


CHAPTER ELEVEN: Economic and Social History

1 Introduction

2 Social Science, History, and Classical Studies

3 Evidence and Interpretation

4 Concepts and Terminology

5 Models and Theories

6 Structures and Events


CHAPTER TWELVE: Ethnicity and Culture

1 Background to the Study of Ancient Identities

2 Identity in the Greek World

3 Identity in the Roman World

4 Closing Remarks


CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Population and Demography

1 The Challenge of Demography

2 Death and Disease

3 Reproduction and Fertility Control

4 Marriage, Families, and Households

5 Population Number

6 Distribution and Mobility

7 Outlook


CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Writing Women into History

1 Why a History of Women?

2 Retrieving Women From Male-Authored Texts

3 Female-Authored Texts

4 Letters and Documents

5 Geographical Range

6 Basic Achievements and a Question for the Future


CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Interpreting Myth

1 History Without Myth

2 Myth as History

3 Myth and History

4 The Myth of Athenian Autochthony

5 The Foundation of Syracuse

6 From Aristotle to Barthes


CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Environmental History

1 Introduction

2 Physical Geography

3 The Mediterranean Climate

4 The Natural Environment

5 Health and Disease


PART III: People and Places


1 Introduction

2 Near Eastern Society and History

3 The Empire of Akkad (2350–2150 BC) and the Third Dynasty of Ur (2112–2004 BC)

4 The Near Eastern Kingdoms in the Second Millennium BC

5 The Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Elamite, and Neo-Babylonian Empires (1180–539 BC)

6 The Persian Empire (559–330 BC)


CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Egypt under the Pharaohs

1 Setting the Scene

2 The Old Kingdom (c.2700–2150 BC)

3 The Middle Kingdom (c.2050–1650 BC)

4 The New Kingdom (c.1550–1050 BC)

5 The Late Period (664–330 BC)



1 A Question of Perspective

2 The Jews from Cyrus to Muhammad: a Very Brief Political History

3 The Jews from Ezra to the Talmud: a Cultural and Religious History

4 Jews and Non-Jews: Jewish and Non-Jewish Perspectives

5 Begging to Differ: the Mechanics of Ethnic Survival

6 Conclusion



1 Being Greek

2 Greeks and Foreigners

3 Greeks and the Greek World

4 Our Greeks



1 This Side of the River Halys

2 Hellenism and the Development of the Cities

3 Civic Life and Civic Identity under the Roman Empire

4 The Triumph of the Anatolian Village



1 Introduction: Inhabiting Rome

2 The Evidence

3 Building a City

4 Social Relations

5 Capital of the World



1 Approaching Italy

2 Sources and Perspectives

3 Urbanization and Settlement

4 Social and Political Organization

5 Italian Economies

6 The Arrival of Rome



1 Introduction

2 Connections Across the Sea

3 Connections Across the Sand

4 Inland Connectivity


CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: The Iberian Peninsula in the Roman Period

1 The Cultural Background

2 The Beginnings of an Empire

3 The Spanish Ulcer?

4 Cultural Change

5 Mineral Wealth

6 Agricultural Wealth

7 Political Contributions

8 Cultural Contributions

9 The Collapse



1 Were There Ancient Celts?

2 When and Where Were the “Celts”?

3 Economy and Social Structure

4 Warfare

5 Feasting

6 Religion

7 Who Were the Ancient “Celts”?


PART IV: Encountering the Divine


1 The Problem of Ancient Religion

2 Between Heaven and Earth: a World Full of Gods

3 Religion and the State

4 Religion and “Belief”

5 The Variety of Ancient Religion


CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: The Emergence of Christianity

1 Introduction

2 Jesus of Nazareth

3 Paul of Tarsos

4 The Status of Converts (Who Were the “Christianoi”?)

5 Polemic and Persecution

6 Discerning the Message: Authority, Discourse, and Text

7 Asceticism

8 The Age of Diocletian and Constantine

9 Conclusions


PART V: Living and Dying


1 Meeting the Family

2 Demosthenes and Cicero

3 What Does “Family” Mean?

4 Mum, Dad, and the Kids

5 Families from Egypt

6 Marriage

7 Children

8 Death, Divorce, and Inheritance



1 Introduction

2 The Main Foods in the Diet

3 Meals and Social Occasions

4 Change and Development


CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: Eros: Love and Sexuality

1 Vocabularies

2 Homosexual Eros

3 Adulterers, Prostitutes, Escorts, Entertainers

4 Religion

5 Conclusion



1 Evidence and Approaches

2 Housing in the Greek World

3 Housing in the Roman World



1 Introduction

2 Sport in Archaic Greece

3 The Civic Role of Entertainment

4 Rome and Greece

5 Imperial Entertainments

6 From the Ancient World to the Modern



1 Education: Ancient and Modern

2 Where?

3 Who?

4 What?



1 Accidents of Survival

2 Individuals and Groups

3 Medicine as Literature

4 Culture Contact

5 Women

6 Ancient Patients

7 Efficacy



1 Dying Well

2 Funerals

3 Tombs

4 The Afterlife


PART VI: Economy

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN: The Mediterranean and the History of Antiquity

1 Introduction

2 Defining the Mediterranean

3 The Evolution of the Mediterranean as an Idea in Antiquity

4 Rome and the Mediterranean

5 Conclusion



1 The Subsistence Mode

2 Command Mode

3 Market Mode

4 Envoi



CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE: Labor: Free and Unfree

1 Opening Pandora’s Box

2 Peasant and Slave Economies

3 Aristocratic Retinues and Urban Bazaars


CHAPTER FORTY: The Countryside

1 Introduction

2 Evidence and Approaches

3 Ecology and Risk

4 The Corrupting Sea

5 Towns and Hinterlands

6 People in the Landscape

7 Late Republican Italy

8 Summary


CHAPTER FORTY-ONE: Finance and Resources: Public, Private, and Personal

1 Public Goods

2 The Discipline of Public Economy

3 Public Economy and Historians

4 Ancient Public Economies Through Time


CHAPTER FORTY-TWO: Ancient Technology

1 Hidden Technology

2 Specialization

3 Technical Development

4 Technical Stagnation

5 Mass Production

6 Epilogue


PART VII: Politics and Power


1 Introduction

2 Political Structures and Institutional Power

3 The Social Stratum: Micro- and Macro-Structures

4 Structuring Space – Spatial Structures



1 The Theory of Citizenship

2 The Origin of the Concept

3 The Classical and Hellenistic Greek World

4 The World of Rome

5 A New Concept of Citizenship



1 The Greeks

2 The Romans



1 War and History

2 Memory and Militarism

3 Patterns of Violence

4 Conclusion


PART VIII: Repercussions

CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN: The Impact of Antiquity

1 Introduction

2 Antiquity Displayed

3 Knowledge of Antiquity: the Buildings and the City of Rome

4 Knowledge of Ancient History: the Texts

5 Knowledge of Ancient Learning


CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT: Ancient History and National Identity

1 Creating a National Past

2 Past and Future Glory

3 Contested Symbols: Macedon and Greece


CHAPTER FORTY-NINE: Hollywood’s Ancient World

1 History of the Genre

2 Defining the Genre

3 Engaging with History

4 Sound and Vision





This series provides sophisticated and authoritative overviews of periods of ancient history, genres of classical literature, and the most important themes in ancient culture. Each volume comprises approximately twenty-five and forty concise essays written by individual scholars within their area of specialization. The essays are written in a clear, provocative, and lively manner, designed for an international audience of scholars, students, and general readers.

A Companion to the Roman Army
Edited by Paul Erdkamp
A Companion to the Roman Republic
Edited by Nathan Rosenstein and Robert Morstein-Marx
A Companion to the Roman Empire
Edited by David S. Potter
A Companion to the Classical Greek World
Edited by Konrad H. Kinzl
A Companion to the Ancient Near East
Edited by Daniel C. Snell
A Companion to the Hellenistic World
Edited by Andrew Erskine
A Companion to Late Antiquity
Edited by Philip Rousseau
A Companion to Ancient History
Edited by Andrew Erskine
A Companion to Archaic Greece
Edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub and Hans van Wees
A Companion to Julius Caesar
Edited by Miriam Griffin
A Companion to Byzantium
Edited by Liz James
A Companion to Ancient Egypt
Edited by Alan B. Lloyd
A Companion to Ancient Macedonia
Edited by Joseph Roisman and Ian Worthington
A Companion to the Punic Wars
Edited by Dexter Hoyos
A Companion to Augustine
Edited by Mark Vessey
A Companion to Marcus Aurelius
Edited by Marcel van Ackeren
A Companion to Ancient Greek Government
Edited by Hans Beck

A Companion to Classical Receptions
Edited by Lorna Hardwick and Christopher Stray
A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography
Edited by John Marincola
A Companion to Catullus
Edited by Marilyn B. Skinner
A Companion to Roman Religion
Edited by Jörg Rüpke
A Companion to Greek Religion
Edited by Daniel Ogden
A Companion to the Classical Tradition
Edited by Craig W. Kallendorf
A Companion to Roman Rhetoric
Edited by William Dominik and Jon Hall
A Companion to Greek Rhetoric
Edited by Ian Worthington
A Companion to Ancient Epic
Edited by John Miles Foley
A Companion to Greek Tragedy
Edited by Justina Gregory
A Companion to Latin Literature
Edited by Stephen Harrison
A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought
Edited by Ryan K. Balot
A Companion to Ovid
Edited by Peter E. Knox
A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language
Edited by Egbert Bakker
A Companion to Hellenistic Literature
Edited by Martine Cuypers and James J. Clauss
A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and its Tradition
Edited by Joseph Farrell and Michael C. J. Putnam
A Companion to Horace
Edited by Gregson Davis
A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds
Edited by Beryl Rawson
A Companion to Greek Mythology
Edited by Ken Dowden and Niall Livingstone
A Companion to the Latin Language
Edited by James Clackson
A Companion to Tacitus
Edited by Victoria Emma Pagán
A Companion to Women in the Ancient World
Edited by Sharon L. James and Sheila Dillon
A Companion to Sophocles
Edited by Kirk Ormand
A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
Edited by Daniel Potts
A Companion to Roman Love Elegy
Edited by Barbara K. Gold
A Companion to Greek Art
Edited by Tyler Jo Smith and Dimitris Plantzos
A Companion to Persius and Juvenal
Edited by Susanna Braund and Josiah Osgood
Title page

In Memory of
Peter Derow
George Forrest


3.1 Celtic calendar from Coligny, France

4.1 Writing tablet from Vindolanda

5.1 Bronze coin of Tyre in Phoenicia

5.2 Silver tetradrachm of Artaxerxes III

13.1 Graph: life expectancy

13.2 Graph: Roman males with living relatives

19.1 Sepphoris mosaic

21.1 Fortifications at Alinda in Karia

21.2 Plan of the urban center of Aizanoi

21.3 The temple of Zeus at Aizanoi

22.1 Plan of imperial Rome

22.2 The Colosseum

23.1 The peoples of Italy

24.1 A bronze coin issued by the Numidian king Syphax

24.2 A “chieftain stele” from the Kabylie

26.1 Ludovisi Gaul group

28.1 Debris from the Roman destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (AD 70)

32.1 Axonometric reconstruction of a single-entrance courtyard house: a pastas house from Olynthos

32.2 Generalized plan of a Pompeian atrium house

32.3 House from Ostia: plan

36.1 Sarcophagus with the death of Meleager

36.2 Relief from Amiternum showing a funeral procession

39.1 Products manufactured in the bazaar

48.1 Mosaic from Foro Italico

48.2 Gold casket from royal tombs at Vergina

49.1 Poster advertising Quo Vadis

49.2 Poster advertising Cleopatra


1 Greece and the Aegean

2 Egypt and the Near East

3 The Roman empire in the time of Augustus

4 Asia Minor

5 North Africa

Notes on Contributors

Peter Fibiger Bang is an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. His interests range from the comparative history of the Roman empire to ancient economic history and the reception of classical antiquity in European culture. Publications include The Roman Bazaar (2008).

Hans Beck is John MacNaughton Professor of Classics at McGill University in Montreal. He has published widely on both the Roman republic and the history of Greek federalism. Books include Polis und Koinon (1997) and, on the republican nobility, Karriere und Hierarchie (2005). He is also co-editor of Brill’s New Jacoby.

Gideon Bohak is an Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University, working on Jewish literature and culture in the Greco-Roman world, on ethnic stereotypes in ancient literature, and on Jewish magic. His most recent book is Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (2008).

Alan K. Bowman is Camden Professor of Ancient History and Fellow of Brasenose College Oxford. His main research interests are the social and economic history of the Roman empire, Papyrology, and Greco-Roman Egypt. Publications include Egypt after the Pharoahs (19902), Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (20032).

Maria Brosius is Reader in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. She is the author of The Persians: an introduction (2006) and editor of Ancient Archives and Archival Traditions (2003).

Christer Bruun is Professor in the Department of Classics, University of Toronto. Among his research interests are Roman topography, and the government and social history of Rome and Ostia. His publications include The Water Supply of Ancient Rome (1991) and as editor The Roman Middle Republic (2000).

John Curran is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at The Queen’s University of Belfast. He is the author of Pagan City and Christian Capital: Rome in the Fourth Century (2000), as well as of articles on the Christianization of Rome, the relationship between the Jews and Rome, and the testimony of Flavius Josephus.

James Davidson is Reader in Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He works on ancient Greek cultural and social history. He is the author of Courtesans and Fishcakes (1997), and The Greeks and Greek Love (2007), and contributes to the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement.

John Davies FBA was Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at Liverpool University. His books include Athenian Propertied Families 600–300 BC (1971), Wealth and the power of wealth in classical Athens (1981), Democracy and classical Greece (19932). His recent work has concentrated on the Hellenistic period and economic history.

Peter Derow was Hody Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History, Wadham College. His research focused on Hellenistic history and epigraphy and Roman republican history – with a particular interest in Polybius. In addition to many articles he was (with R. S. Bagnall) the author of The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation (2004).

Carol Dougherty is Professor of Classical Studies at Wellesley College. Her research interests focus on Greek literary and cultural history. She is the author most recently of The Raft of Odysseus and a volume on Prometheus. She is currently working on representations of the city in classical Athens.

Stephen Dyson is Park Professor of Classics at the State University of New York, Buffalo. His books include Community and Society in Roman Italy (1992), The Roman Countryside (2003), and In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts (2006).

Andrew Erskine is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. A specialist in Hellenistic history, he is the author of Troy between Greece and Rome: Local Tradition and Imperial Power (2001) and The Hellenistic Stoa: Political Thought and Action (1990).

Andy Fear is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Manchester. His research interests are in Roman and Visigothic Spain, early Christianity and theories of Universal History. He is the author of Rome and Baetica: Urbanization in Southern Spain c.50 BC–AD 150 (1996).

Andrea Giardina is a Professor at the Istituto Italiano di Scienza Umane. His principal research interests are the social, administrative and political history of the Roman world and the fortunes of antiquity in the contemporary world. Recent publications include Cassiodoro politico (2006) and (with A. Vauchez) Rome, l’idée et le mythe. Du Moyen Âge à nos jours (2000).

Mary Harlow is Senior Lecturer in Roman History at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include Roman life course, family history in classical and late antique periods, and dress and identity.

Thomas Harrison is Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. His publications include Divinity and History: The Religion of Herodotus (2000); The Emptiness of Asia: Aeschylus’ Persians and the History of the Fifth Century (2000).

Edward Herring is Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His principal research interest concerns the relations between the Greek, Roman, and native populations of South Italy. Publications include Explaining Change in the Matt-Painted Pottery of Southern Italy (1998).

R. Bruce Hitchner is Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics, Tufts University, and Chair of the Dayton Peace Accords Project. He was formerly editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Archaeology.

Mark Humphries is Professor of Ancient History at Swansea University. He has published various books and articles on ancient religions and late antiquity, most recently Early Christianity (2006). He is one of the general editors of the series Translated Texts for Historians (Liverpool University Press).

Helen King is Professor of the History of Classical Medicine at the University of Reading. Her publications on the history of medicine, especially gynaecology, cover both the ancient world and its reception, most recently Midwifery, Obstetrics and the Rise of Gynaecology: Users of a sixteenth-century compendium (2007).

Jason König is Senior Lecturer in Greek and Classical Studies at the University of St. Andrews. His research interests focus broadly on the Greek literature and culture of the Roman empire. His publications include Athletics and Literature in the Roman Empire (2005).

Andrew Lintott is now retired, after teaching first Classics, then Ancient History, successively at King’s College, London, Aberdeen University, and Worcester College, Oxford. His many publications include Violence in Republican Rome, Judicial Reform and Land Reform in the Roman Republic, and most recently Cicero as Evidence: a Historian’s Companion.

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones lectures in Ancient History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Aphrodite’s Tortoise: the veiled woman of ancient Greece. His interests include ancient dress and gender, Achaemenid Persia, Ptolemaic Egypt, ancient court societies, and the reception of antiquity in popular culture.

Kathryn Lomas is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She is the author of Rome and the Western Greeks and Roman Italy, 338 BC–AD 200, and has published numerous articles on Roman Italy, urbanism and colonization in the Greek and Roman world, and on ethnic and cultural identity.

John Marincola is Leon Golden Professor of Classics at Florida State University. He is the author of Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography (1997), Greek Historians (2001), and (with M. A. Flower) Herodotus: Histories IX (2002). He is currently at work on a book on Hellenistic historiography.

Rosamond McKitterick is Professor of Medieval History and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her principal research interests are in the politics, religion and culture of Europe in the eighth and ninth centuries. Recent publications include Charlemagne: the formation of a European identity (2008) and Perceptions of the past in the early middle ages (2006).

Neil McLynn is Fellow in Later Roman History, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He previously taught in the Faculty of Law, Keio University, Japan. His research interests revolve mostly around the intricacies of religious politics in late antiquity. His publications include Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in an Imperial Capital (1994).

Andrew Meadows is Deputy Director of the American Numismatic Society in New York. He has edited the Royal Numismatic Society’s Coin Hoards, and three volumes in the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series, and is currently completing a study of the monetary history of Karia in the Hellenistic period.

Elizabeth A. Meyer is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia. Her interests include the social and cultural history of ancient Greece and Rome, epigraphy, Roman Law, and ancient legal culture. She is the author of Legitimacy and Law: Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice (2004) and the forthcoming Metics and the Athenian Phialai-Inscriptions.

Paul Millett is Senior Lecturer in the Classical Faculty, Cambridge University, and Fellow in Classics at Downing College. His recent publications include articles on the trial of Socrates and Aristotle on slavery, and a book, Theophrastus and His World.

Neville Morley is Professor of Ancient Economic History and Historical Theory at the University of Bristol. His books include Theories, Models and Concepts in Ancient History (2004), Trade in Classical Antiquity (2007) and Antiquity and Modernity (2008).

Robert Morstein-Marx is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research currently focuses on the ideological and communicative dimensions of late republican politics. Publications include Mass Oratory and Political Power in the Late Roman Republic (2004), and (as co-editor) A Companion to the Roman Republic (2007).

Lisa Nevett is Associate Professor of Greek Archaeology at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on using the material remains of Greek and Roman domestic life as a source for social history. Her publications include House and Society in the Ancient Greek World (1999).

J. A. North taught Ancient History at UCL, 1963 to 2003. He was Head of the History Department in the 1990s, and is now Emeritus Professor. His research has mostly concerned the religious history of the Romans and of their empire, including Religions of Rome, with Mary Beard and Simon Price.

David Noy is the author of Foreigners at Rome (2000), several volumes of Jewish inscriptions, and a number of papers on Roman death and burial practices. He is currently working on a study of Roman deathbeds. He teaches Classics for Lampeter and the Open University.

Josiah Ober holds the Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University. His books include Fortress Attica (1985), Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), The Athenian Revolution (1996), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (1998), Athenian Legacies (2005) and Democracy and Knowledge (2008).

Tim Parkin is Professor of Ancient History, University of Manchester. His research focuses on the ancient family and the life course. Publications include Demography and Roman Society (1992) and Old Age in the Roman World (2003).

David Potter is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. His recent books include The Roman Empire at Bay (2004), Emperors of Rome (2007) and Ancient Rome: a new history (2009).

Josephine Crawley Quinn is Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Worcester College, Oxford. Her current research is on imperialism, trade and culture in Hellenistic North Africa.

John Ray is Herbert Thompson Professor of Egyptology in the University of Cambridge. His research centers on the demotic texts from Hellenistic Egypt, and on the history of the Egyptian language.

Louis Rawlings is a Lecturer in Ancient History at Cardiff University. His research interests include Italian, Greek, Punic, and Gallic warfare. He is the author of The Ancient Greeks at War (2007), and is co-editor (with H. Bowden) of Herakles and Hercules: Exploring a Graeco-Roman Divinity (2005).

Amy Richlin is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Los Angeles. She works on the history of sexuality, Roman humor, women’s history, and feminist theory. Her most recent books are Rome and the Mysterious Orient (2005) and Marcus Aurelius in Love (2007).

Tracey Rihll is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at Swansea University. She has been studying ancient science and technology for about twenty years. Her publications include Greek Science (1999) and The Catapult: a history (2007).

Gregory Rowe is Associate Professor in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is the author of Princes and Political Cultures: The New Tiberian Senatorial Decrees (2002).

Robert Sallares (University of Manchester) is the author of The Ecology of the Ancient Greek World (1991), Malaria and Rome: a History of Malaria in Ancient Italy (2002) and numerous articles in the fields of ancient history, medical history and biomolecular archaeology.

Walter Scheidel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at Stanford University. His research focuses on ancient social and economic history, premodern historical demography, and comparative and transdisciplinary world history. His publications include Measuring Sex, Age and Death in the Roman empire (1996) and Death on the Nile: Disease and the Demography of Roman Egypt (2001).

Catherine Steel is Professor of Classics at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include late republican history and Cicero’s writings, particularly his speeches. Recent publications include Reading Cicero: genre and performance in late Republican Rome (2005) and Roman Oratory (2006).

Peter Thonemann is Forrest-Derow Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Wadham College, Oxford. He is currently writing a book on the historical geography of the Maeander valley.

Kathryn Welch is a Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. She researches in Roman History with a special interest in the transition from republic to empire. She is currently completing a monograph entitled Magnus Pius: Sextus Pompeius and the Transformation of the Roman Republic.

Tim Whitmarsh is E. P. Warren Praelector in Classics, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He works primarily on Greek literature of the Roman period, particularly in relation to literary and cultural theory. His books include Greek literature and the Roman empire (2001), Ancient Greek literature (2004).

John Wilkins is Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Exeter. Books on food include Food in Antiquity (ed. with D. Harvey and M. Dobson, 1995) and Food in the Ancient World (with Shaun Hill, 2006). He is currently editing Galen’s nutritional treatise, On the Powers of Foods.

Robert Witcher is Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at Durham University, UK. His research uses archaeological field survey to explore the socio-economic organization of ancient Italy. Ongoing collaborative research includes the British School at Rome’s Tiber valley project and a study of Hadrian’s Wall and its landscape.

Constanze Witt is a Lecturer in archaeology in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. Her current research interests lie in the art and archaeology of Iron Age Europe, in Hellenistic urbanization and in anthropological theory.


When Al Bertrand asked me to edit this Companion to Ancient History, I hesitated. It seemed rather a large task. Now that I have finished it, I realize that I was naive – it was a far larger task than I had initially imagined. One of the things that has made it manageable has been the enthusiasm and goodwill of the contributors, and to them all I am especially grateful.

Sadly, one of the contributors to this volume, Peter Derow, died not long after completing his piece on what Ancient History meant to him. Peter was not only my doctoral supervisor but a good friend. This volume is dedicated to his memory and that of his own tutor, George Forrest, both of whom through their teaching of Ancient History inspired many, a number of whom are contributors to this book.

This Companion may have been a substantial undertaking, but it has been fun to do, and I have learnt a lot from reading through all the contributions. It aims to provide a series of accessible introductions to key topics in the study of Ancient History: forms of evidence, problems and approaches, and major themes in current research. Rather than offering definitive overviews, however, these are intended to reflect the vitality and excitement of scholarship at the front line. The potential subject matter is vast, so a certain selectivity has been necessary. While the focus is on the history of Greece and Rome, I have also been concerned that these are not viewed in isolation but are seen in the broader context.

Staff at Blackwell have all been enormously helpful, in particular Al Bertrand, whose great contribution to Classics in general is evident from Blackwell’s growing list of Classics and Ancient History books. Kyle Hall kindly translated the section by Andrea Giardina which appears in Chapter One. My own chapter is well away from my usual territory, and I must thank Robert Anderson for generously taking a look at it with the eyes of a historian of the nineteenth century. This book has moved round the Celtic fringe, begun at the National University of Ireland Galway and completed at the University of Edinburgh; I am grateful to colleagues at both institutions for their help.

Most of all I am indebted to my wife Michelle, not only for all her support and encouragement, but also for her knack of asking the right question.

Andrew Erskine, Edinburgh

Note on paperback edition: A number of errors are corrected in this paperback edition, many thanks to the careful reading of Yan Shaoxiang of Capital Normal University Beijing. Otherwise the text is little changed apart from supplements to John Davies’ chapter on ancient economies and to Christer Bruun’s chapter on Rome.

Abbreviations, Reference Works

For fuller information on papyrological publications, see Oates et al. 2001 (

AE L’Année épigraphique
AHR American Historical Review
AJA American Journal of Archaeology
AJAH American Journal of Ancient History
AJHG American Journal of Human Genetics
AJP American Journal of Philology
ANET Pritchard, J. B. (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton 19552
AnPhil L’Année philologique
ANRW Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Berlin. 1972–
AR Archaeological Reports
ASNP Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Classe di Lettere e Filosofia
Austin Austin, M. M. The Hellenistic world from Alexander to the Roman conquest: a selection of ancient sources in translation. Cambridge. 1st edn 1981; 2nd edn 2006; this volume uses the numbering of the 1st edn
BA Beazley Archive (
BD Bagnall, R. S. and Derow, P. S. The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation. 2004. Oxford
BE Bulletin épigraphique, published in Revue des études grecques
BGU Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Griechische Urkunden. Berlin. 1895–
Burstein Burstein, S. M. The Hellenistic Age from the battle of Ipsos to the death of Kleopatra VII. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 3. Cambridge. 1985
CAH2 Cambridge Ancient History. 2nd edn. Cambridge. 1961–
CAH3 Cambridge Ancient History. 3rd edn. Cambridge. 1970–
CIJ Frey, J. B. Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaicarum. Rome 1936–52
CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. 1863–
CP Classical Philology
CPJ Tcherikover, V. and Fuks, A. Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum. Cambridge, Mass. 1957–64
CQ Classical Quarterly
FGrH Jacoby, F. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. 1923–
FIRA Riccobono, S. et al. Fontes Iuris Romani Anteiustiniani. 3 vols. Florence. 1943–68
Fornara Fornara, C. W. Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 1. 2nd edn. Cambridge. 1983
GRBS Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies
Harding Harding, P. From the end of the Peloponnesian War to the battle of Ipsus. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 2. Cambridge. 1985
HSCP Harvard Studies in Classical Philology
IG Inscriptiones Graecae. 1873–
IGRR Cagnat, R. Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes. Paris, 1906–27
IK Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien. Bonn. 1972–
ILLRP Degrassi, A. Inscriptiones Latinae Liberae Rei Republicae. Florence. 1963 (vol. 2). 1965 (vol. 12)
ILS Dessau, H. Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae. Berlin. 1892–1916
ISE Moretti, L. Iscrizioni storiche ellenistiche. Florence. 1967–76
JEA Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies
JRA Journal of Roman Archaeology
JRS Journal of Roman Studies
LIMC Ackermann, H. C. and Gisler, J.-R. (eds), Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae. Zurich. 1981–99
ML Meiggs, R. and Lewis, D. A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century BC. Rev. edn. Oxford. 1988
OCD3 Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd edn. Oxford. 1996
OGIS Dittenberger, W. Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae. Leipzig, 1903–5
P.Berl.Leihg    Berliner Leihgabe griechischer Papyri
P.Giss. Eger, O. et al. Griechische Papyri im Museum des oberhessischen Geschichtsvereins zu Giessen. Leipzig-Berlin 1910–12
P.Oxy The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. London. 1898–
P.Ryl. Catalogue of the Greek and Latin Papyri in the John Rylands Library, Manchester
PBSR Papers of the British School at Rome
PCG Kassel, R., and Austin, C., Poetae Comici Graeci. Berlin, 1983–
PCPS Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society
PMG Page, D. L. Poeticae Melici Graeci, Oxford, 1962
RE Pauly, A., Wissowa, G. and Kroll, W. Realencyclopädie des classischen Altertumswissenschaft. 1893–
REA Revue des études anciennes
RIB Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Oxford 1965–
RIG Recueil des inscriptions gauloises, 4 vols, 1985–2002
RIL Chabot, J.-B., Recueil des inscriptions libyques. Paris 1940–41
ROL Warmington, E. H. Remains of Old Latin. 4 vols. Loeb Classical Library
RS Crawford, M. (ed.). Roman Statutes. 2 vols. London. 1996
SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum. 1923–
Sel.Pap. Hunt, A. S., Edgar, C. C. and Page, D. L. Select Papyri, 4 vols, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Mass. 1950
SIG3 Dittenberger, W. Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum. 3rd edn. Leipzig. 1915–24
Tab.Vindol. Tabulae Vindolandenses I–III = Bowman and Thomas 1983, 1994, and 2003
TAPA Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association
Tod Tod, M. N. Greek Historical Inscriptions. 2 vols. Oxford. 1946–48
ZPE Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik

Abbreviations and Glossary, Ancient Authors