Structural weaknesses in Rome’s power? Greek historians’ views on Roman stasis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Greek historians of the Roman Empire, from Polybius through Appian, admired the breadth and stability of the empire as an unprecedented achievement in human history, and devised innovative historiographical methods to write about it. Each believed that Rome’s eventual fall, if it ever would happen (Polybius explicitly said that it would, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Appian of Alexandria were more circumspect), would originate from internal causes, not an external threat. Dionysius conveyed this subtly through his treatment of the foundational fratricide of the city. Polybius stated it openly in programmatic statements, but offered little detail or analysis to explain. Appian planted the idea by the very structure and plan of his history, in which five books on the Roman civil wars present an enigma and a theme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReconsidering Roman power
Subtitle of host publicationRoman, Greek, Jewish and Christian perceptions and reactions
EditorsKatell Berthelot
Place of PublicationRoma
PublisherPublications de l’École française de Rome
ISBN (Electronic)272831411X, 9782728314119
ISBN (Print)9782728314089
StatePublished - 2019


  • Roman Empire
  • Statis
  • Civil War
  • Polybius
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus
  • Appian of Alexandria
  • Romulus
  • Remus
  • Universal history
  • Historiography
  • Thucydides

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • History


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