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Dr John Weisweiler

Dr John Weisweiler

University Lecturer in Classics

Fellow and Director of Studies at St John's College


Biography:

I am interested in the social, cultural and economic history of Roman élites. The questions which drive my research are: How does inequality arise? How is it maintained across generations? And through which means can it be reduced, or even abolished?

My dissertation, which won the Hare Prize 2012, is a social history of senators, the top stratum of Rome’s governing élite, from the beginnings of monarchy until the disintegration of the empire in the fifth century. I am currently finishing a revised and much expanded version of this study, From Republican Empire to Universal State: Emperors, Senators and Local Élites in Early Imperial and Late-Antique Rome (c. 25 BCE - 400 CE), under contract with Pennsylvania University Press. Bridging the gaps between Early Empire and Late Antiquity, and between cultural and economic history, this book explores the differences that separate the Roman élite of office and property from the ruling groups of other pre-modern states.

I am also interested in comparative history. I have co-edited a volume on the relationship between local and imperial élites in different ancient empires, Cosmopolitanism and Empire: Universal Rulers, Local Elites, and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean (Oxford University Press 2016) and am preparing another collection on the history of credit in Antiquity, entitled, Debt: The First 3000 Years. Taken together, these projects seek to sharpen our understanding of what is distinctive about Romans patterns of inequality by situating the history of the early imperial and late-antique Mediterranean in a larger comparative context.

Areas of expertise

Ancient History (C):

Key Publications

  • with Myles Lavan and Richard Payne (eds), Cosmopolitanism and Empire: Universal rulers, Local Élites and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East, Oxford Studies in Early Empires, Oxford University Press, New York 2016.
  • 'Populist Despotism and Infrastructural Power in the Later Roman Empire', in: Clifford Ando und Seth Richardson (eds), Infrastructural and Despotic Power in Ancient States, Empire and After, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2017, 149-178.
  • 'From Empire to World-State: Ecumenical Language
and Cosmopolitan Consciousness in the Later Roman Aristocracy', in: Myles Lavan, Richard Payne and John Weisweiler (eds), Cosmopolitanism and Empire in Ancient Eurasia: Universal Rulers, Local Elites and Cultural Integration, Oxford Studies in Early Empires, New York, 187-208.
  •  (with Myles Lavan and Richard Payne:) 'Cosmopolitan Politics: Assimilation and Subordination in Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Empires', in: Myles Lavan, Richard Payne and John Weisweiler (eds), Cosmopolitanism and Empire: Universal Rulers, Local elites and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East, Oxford Studies in Early Empires, New York 2016, 1-28.
  • 'Honorific Statues and the Formation of a Global Memoryscape in the Later Roman Empire', in: Karl Galinsky and Kenneth Lapatin (eds), Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire, Getty Trust Publications, Los Angeles 2016, 66-85.
  • 'The Roman Aristocracy between East and West: Divine Monarchy, State-Building and the Transformation of the Roman Senatorial Order (c. 25 BCE – 425 CE)', in: Takashi Minamikawa (ed), New Approaches to the Later Roman Empire: Proceedings of a Conference held at Kyoto University on 8 March 2014, Kyoto University, Kyoto 2015, 31-52.
  • 'Domesticating the Senatorial Elite: Universal Monarchy and Transregional Aristocracy in the Fourth Century AD', in: Johannes Wienand (ed), Contested Monarchy: Integrating the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century AD, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, 17-41.
  • 'From Equality to Asymmetry: Honorific Statues, Imperial Power and Senatorial Identity in Late-Antique Rome', Journal of Roman Archaeology 25 (2012), 319-350.
  • 'The Price of Integration: State and Élite in Symmachus' Correspondence', in: Peter Eich, Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner and Christian Wieland (eds), Staatlichkeit und Staatswerdung in Spätantike und Früher Neuzeit, Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2011, 346-375.
  • 'Christianity and War: Ammianus on Power and Religion in Constantius' Persian War', in: Andy Cain and Noel Lenski (eds), Seventh Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot 2009, 383-396.
  • (with Christoph Riedweg:) ‘Gute Freunde, schlechte Freunde: Nochmals zu Plaut. Bacch. 540-51’, Hermes 132.2 (2004), 141-151.

Upcoming events

Conservation Week: Medusa, the Return

Dec 10, 2019

Museum of Classical Archaeology, Faculty of Classics

Philology and Linguistics

Feb 19, 2020

1.11

The Corbett Lecture 2019

Feb 24, 2020

G.19

Athens: Economy & Democracy Conference (in honour of P. Millett)

Jul 09, 2020

Faculty of Classics and Downing College, Cambridge

Upcoming events

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Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships 2020

Nov 15, 2019

Details of how to apply for this scheme are now available online.

Byvanck Chair of Classical Archaeology/Art History

Oct 30, 2019

The Faculty is delighted to announce that Professor Caroline Vout has been appointed to the Byvanck Chair of Classical Archaeology/Art History, a visiting professorship at the University of Leiden. The appointment is for five years from Michaelmas 2019.

Myles Burnyeat

Sep 23, 2019

The Faculty is very sorry to have to report the death, aged 80, of Myles Burnyeat, Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy from 1984 to 1996, and honorary Fellow of Robinson, on Friday 20th September.

2019 Gifford Lectures

Jun 04, 2019

Professor Beard's Gifford Lectures (University of Edinburgh), on The Ancient World and Us: From Fear and Loathing to Enlightenment and Ethics, are now available on line.

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