The Originality of Appian of Alexandria

Jonathan J. Price*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite his long dismissal in Classical scholarship as an unoriginal historian, Appian of Alexandria wrote a panoramic history of the Roman Empire according to an original conception and methodology. His work is far more than its former classification as a hunting-ground for lost sources. Two aspects of originality and independent thought are examined here. First, his innovative organization of a huge amount of material according to ethnic divisions, as a method to explain Rome's historical achievement. Second, his choice of the murder of Tiberius Gracchus as the first incident in the Roman civil war, revealing his conception of the last century of the Roman Republic as a single prolonged, episodic event, a conception influenced by Thucydides∗ model of stasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalScripta Classica Israelica
StatePublished - 2021


  • Appian of Alexandria
  • Greek Historiography of Rome
  • Roman Empire
  • Roman Republic
  • Roman civil wars
  • Tiberius Gracchus


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