The Info List - Michael Rostovtzeff

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Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, or Rostovtsev (Russian: Михаи́л Ива́нович Росто́вцев) (November 10 [O.S. October 29] 1870, Zhitomir, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
– October 20, 1952, New Haven, USA) was an ancient historian whose career straddled the 19th and 20th centuries and who produced important works on ancient Roman and Greek history.[1] He was a member of the Russian Academy of Science.[2]


1 Career 2 The Social and Economic History
of the Roman Empire 3 Selected publications

3.1 Articles 3.2 Books

4 Notes 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Career[edit] Rostovtzeff was the son of a Latin teacher. Upon completing his studies at the universities of Kiev
and St. Petersburg, Rostovtsev served as an assistant and then as a full Professor of Latin at the University of St. Petersburg 1898–1918.[3] In 1918, following the Russian Revolution, he emigrated first to Sweden, then to England, and finally in 1920 to the United States. There he accepted a chair at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
before moving to Yale University
Yale University
in 1925 where he taught until his retirement in 1944.[4] He oversaw all archaeological activities of the latter institution in general and the excavations of Dura-Europos
in particular.[5] He is believed to have coined the term "caravan city".[6] While working in Russia, Rostovtzeff became an authority on the ancient history of South Russia
and Ukraine. He summed up his knowledge on the subject in Iranians and Greeks in South Russia
(1922) and Skythien und der Bosporus (1925). His most important archaeological findings at Yale were described in Dura-Europos
and Its Art (1938). Glen Bowersock described Rostovtzeff's views as having been largely formed by the age of thirty, developing mainly only in the quality of execution in later life, and making him "the last of the nineteenth-century ancient historians".[7] Rostovtzeff was known as a proud and slightly overpowering man who did not fit in easily. In later life, he suffered from depression. The Social and Economic History
of the Roman Empire[edit] Rostovtzeff was notable for his theories of the cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
which he expounded in detail in his magisterial The Social and Economic History
of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(1926). Scarred by his experience of fleeing from the Russian Revolution, he attributed the collapse of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
to an alliance between the rural proletariat and the military in the third century A.D. Despite not being a Marxist himself, Rostovtzeff used terms such as proletariat, bourgeoisie and capitalism freely in his work and the importation of those terms into a description of the ancient world, where they did not necessarily apply, caused criticism.[7] Rostovtzeff's theory was quickly understood as one based on the author's own experiences and equally quickly rejected by the academic community. Bowersock later described the book as "the marriage of pre-1918 scholarly training and taste with post-1918 personal experience and reflection." At the same time, however, the detailed scholarship involved in the production of the work impressed his contemporaries and he was one of the first to merge archaeological evidence with literary sources. Today, Rostovtzeff's theories in this area continue to be rejected by scholars as untenable.[7] Selected publications[edit] Articles[edit]

"Queen Dynamis of Bosporus". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 39: 88–109. 1919.  "Ancient decorative wall-painting". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 39: 144–163. 1919.  "The Sumerian Treasure of Astrabad". The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 6 (1): 4–27. 1920.  "The Contribution of Russia
to Learning". The Quarterly Review. 233: 272–287. April 1920. 


The Birth of the Roman Empire. 1918. Iranians and Greeks in South Russia. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922. A large estate in Egypt in the third century B.C. A study in economic history. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1922.[8] Skythien und der Bosporus. 1925. The Social and Economic History
of the Roman Empire. 1926. (Revised edition in German 1931, and further revised edition in Italian 1933) (Second edition, revised by P.M. Fraser, Oxford, 1957) A History
of the Ancient World: Volume I The Orient and Greece. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926. A History
of the Ancient World: Volume II Rome. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927. Mystic Italy. New York: Henry Holt, 1927. (Brown University, the Colver lectures series) Caravan Cities. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932. (First published in book form as O Blijnem Vostoke. Paris, 1931.)[a] Dura-Europos
and Its Art. 1938. The Social and Economic History
of the Hellenistic World. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941. (2nd edition 1953)


^ The 1932 English edition was substantially revised from the 1931 first edition after the author made further trips to the Near East.


^ Ward W. Briggs (1 January 1994). Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 547–. ISBN 978-0-313-24560-2.  ^ Rostovtzeff, M. (1922) Iranians and Greeks in South Russia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Title page. ^ Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff britannica.com, 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. ^ Michael I. Rostovtzeff 1870–1952 Yale Department of Classics, 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2013. Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff (1977). The Excavations at Dura-Europos. Yale University
Yale University
Press.  ^ M. Rostovtzeff (November 2008). Caravan Cities. Read Books. ISBN 978-1-4437-2888-1.  ^ a b c Bowersock, G.W. "The Social and Economic History
of the Roman Empire by Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzef" in Daedalus, Vol. 103, No. 1, Twentieth-Century Classics Revisited (Winter, 1974), pp. 15-23. ^ "Review of A Large Estate in Egypt in the Third Century B.C. A Study in Economic History
by Michael Rostovtzeff". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 42: 292–295. 1922. 

Further reading[edit]

Bongard-Levin, G.M. The great Russian historian M. Rostovtsev in the USA: The years of exile. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999 (in Russian, ISBN 0-7734-3226-4). Bowersock, G.W. "Rostovtzeff in Madison" in American Scholar, Spring 1986, Vol. 55 Issue 3, pp. 391–400. Hopkins, Clark. The discovery of Dura-Europos. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979 (ISBN 0-300-02288-3). Momigliano, Arnaldo. "M.I. Rostovtzeff" in The Cambridge Journal, 1954, 7, pp. 334–346. = Studies in historiography (The Academy Library, TB 1288). New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966, pp. 91–104. = Studies on Modern Scholarship. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994 (paperback, ISBN 0-520-08545-0), pp. 32–43. Reinhold, Meyer. "Historian of the Classic World: A Critique of Rostovtzeff", Studies in Classical History
and Society (American Classical Studies; 45). New York: Oxford University Press, 2002 (ISBN 0-19-514543-7), pp. 82–100. Shaw, Brent D. "Under Russian eyes: [Review article]", The Journal of Roman studies, Vol. 82. (1992), pp. 216–228. Wes, Marinus A. Michael Rostovtzeff, historian in exile: Russian roots in an American context (Historia-Einzelschriften; 65). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1990 (ISBN 3-515-05664-5). Reviewed by Brent D. Shaw in The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 82. (1992), pp. 216–228. Wes, Marinus A. "The Russian background of the young Rostovtzeff", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 37, No. 2. (1988), pp. 207–221. Wes, Marinus A. "The Correspondence between Rostovtzeff and Westermann. A Note on Gaetano De Sanctis", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 42, No. 1. (1993), pp. 125–128.

External links[edit]

Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
at the Database of Classical Scholars Works by or about Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
at Internet Archive Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff papers Yale University
Yale University
Manuscripts and Archives Rostovtzeff Project. Mansi, Gregory. M.I. Rostovtzeff: An essay on his life and major works.

v t e

Presidents of the American Historical Association


Andrew Dickson White
Andrew Dickson White
(1884-85) George Bancroft
George Bancroft
(1886) Justin Winsor
Justin Winsor
(1887) William Frederick Poole
William Frederick Poole
(1888) Charles Kendall Adams
Charles Kendall Adams
(1889) John Jay (1890) William Wirt Henry (1891) James Burrill Angell
James Burrill Angell
(1892-93) Henry Adams
Henry Adams
(1893-94) George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar
(1895) Richard Salter Storrs
Richard Salter Storrs
(1896) James Schouler (1897) George Park Fisher (1898) James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(1899) Edward Eggleston
Edward Eggleston


Charles Francis Adams Jr.
Charles Francis Adams Jr.
(1901) Alfred Thayer Mahan
Alfred Thayer Mahan
(1902) Henry Charles Lea
Henry Charles Lea
(1903) Goldwin Smith
Goldwin Smith
(1904) John Bach McMaster
John Bach McMaster
(1905) Simeon Eben Baldwin
Simeon Eben Baldwin
(1906) J. Franklin Jameson (1907) George Burton Adams (1908) Albert Bushnell Hart
Albert Bushnell Hart
(1909) Frederick Jackson Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner
(1910) William Milligan Sloane
William Milligan Sloane
(1911) Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
(1912) William Archibald Dunning (1913) Andrew C. McLaughlin
Andrew C. McLaughlin
(1914) H. Morse Stephens
H. Morse Stephens
(1915) George Lincoln Burr
George Lincoln Burr
(1916) Worthington C. Ford (1917) William Roscoe Thayer
William Roscoe Thayer
(1918-19) Edward Channing (1920) Jean Jules Jusserand
Jean Jules Jusserand
(1921) Charles Homer Haskins
Charles Homer Haskins
(1922) Edward Potts Cheyney
Edward Potts Cheyney
(1923) Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
(1924) Charles McLean Andrews
Charles McLean Andrews


Dana Carleton Munro
Dana Carleton Munro
(1926) Henry Osborn Taylor (1927) James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
(1928) James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
(1929) Evarts Boutell Greene (1930) Carl L. Becker (1931) Herbert Eugene Bolton
Herbert Eugene Bolton
(1932) Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard
(1933) William Dodd (1934) Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
(1935) Charles Howard McIlwain (1936) Guy Stanton Ford (1937) Laurence M. Larson (1938) William Scott Ferguson (1939) Max Farrand
Max Farrand
(1940) James Westfall Thompson (1941) Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. (1942) Nellie Neilson (1943) William Linn Westermann
William Linn Westermann
(1944) Carlton J. H. Hayes (1945) Sidney Bradshaw Fay (1946) Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Thomas J. Wertenbaker
(1947) Kenneth Scott Latourette
Kenneth Scott Latourette
(1948) Conyers Read (1949) Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison


Robert Livingston Schuyler (1951) James G. Randall (1952) Louis R. Gottschalk (1953) Merle Curti (1954) Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1955) Dexter Perkins (1956) William L. Langer (1957) Walter Prescott Webb
Walter Prescott Webb
(1958) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1959) Bernadotte Everly Schmitt (1960) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1961) Carl Bridenbaugh (1962) Crane Brinton (1963) Julian P. Boyd (1964) Frederic C. Lane (1965) Roy Franklin Nichols (1966) Hajo Holborn (1967) John K. Fairbank (1968) C. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward
(1969) Robert Roswell Palmer (1970) David M. Potter (1971) Joseph Strayer (1971) Thomas C. Cochran (1972) Lynn Townsend White Jr. (1973) Lewis Hanke (1974) Gordon Wright (1975)


Richard B. Morris (1976) Charles Gibson (1977) William J. Bouwsma (1978) John Hope Franklin (1979) David H. Pinkney (1980) Bernard Bailyn (1981) Gordon A. Craig
Gordon A. Craig
(1982) Philip D. Curtin (1983) Arthur S. Link (1984) William H. McNeill (1985) Carl Neumann Degler (1986) Natalie Zemon Davis
Natalie Zemon Davis
(1987) Akira Iriye (1988) Louis R. Harlan (1989) David Herlihy (1990) William Leuchtenburg (1991) Frederic Wakeman (1992) Louise A. Tilly (1993) Thomas C. Holt (1994) John Henry Coatsworth (1995) Caroline Bynum (1996) Joyce Appleby (1997) Joseph C. Miller (1998) Robert Darnton
Robert Darnton
(1999) Eric Foner
Eric Foner


William Roger Louis (2001) Lynn Hunt (2002) James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
(2003) Jonathan Spence (2004) James J. Sheehan
James J. Sheehan
(2005) Linda K. Kerber (2006) Barbara Weinstein (2007) Gabrielle M. Spiegel (2008) Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(2009) Barbara D. Metcalf (2010) Anthony Grafton
Anthony Grafton
(2011) William Cronon
William Cronon
(2012) Kenneth Pomeranz
Kenneth Pomeranz
(2013) Jan E. Goldstein (2014) Vicki L. Ruiz (2015) Patrick Manning (2016) Tyler E. Stovall (2017) Mary Beth Norton (2018)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 90637534 LCCN: n79130756 ISNI: 0000 0001 0774 6700 GND: 118927086 SELIBR: 197939 SUDOC: 029219116 BNF: cb120891325 (data) BIBSYS: 90324257 NLA: 36587338 NDL: 00852205 NKC: jo2002162371 ICCU: ITICCUTO0V158