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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

Illustrating Ancient History: Bringing the Past to the Present

Nov 03, 2020

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Sidgwick Avenue, CB3 9DA

Upcoming events

RSS Feed Latest news

Spring 2021 Sather Series to include Mary Beard and MM McCabe

Jan 22, 2021

This year’s annual series of Sather Lectures will be delivered virtually by four previous Sather Professors, including Mary Beard, Professor of Classics and Fellow of Newnham College and MM McCabe, Professor of Ancient Philosophy Emerita, King's College London, and Honorary Fellow of Jesus College.

Access & Outreach coordinator

Jan 18, 2021

Details of how to apply for this post are now available online. Closing date 11 February 2021.

Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

Jan 13, 2021

An online corpus of more than 2,000 inscriptions in Greek and Latin of the Roman period from Cyrenaica (eastern Libya), of which Joyce Reynolds is the Principal Author has been published to mark her 102nd birthday.

Dr. Neil Hopkinson

Jan 08, 2021

The Faculty reports with great sadness the death of Dr. Neil Hopkinson (1957–2021).

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