The Rostovtzeff Lectures

Each spring ISAW sponsors a series of four lectures, named after the great ancient historian Michael I. Rostovtzeff. A Russian ancient historian, Rostovtzeff came to the U.S. after the Russian Revolution and taught for many years at Yale University as Sterling Professor of Ancient History. Rostovtzeff’s prodigious energies and sprawling interests led him to write on an almost unimaginable range of subjects. ISAW’s Rostovtzeff series presents scholarship that embodies its aspirations to foster work that crosses disciplinary, geographical, and chronological lines.

The Rostovtzeff Lectures are supported in part by a generous endowment fund given by Roger and Whitney Bagnall. 

The Rostovtzeff Lectures are published by Princeton University Press.

headshot of Dorian Fuller in office, with bookshelves in the backgroundDorian Q. Fuller, University College London, is delivering the Rostovtzeff Lectures in spring 2019:
Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

The following lectures have been delivered in this series:

Authorship, Tradition, and Performance in Early China

The inaugural Rostovtzeff Lectures were given in 2010, by Martin Kern (Princeton University).

  • Texts as Rewritten Traditions
  • Writing and Performance
  • The Staged Author and the Rise of Literature

Photo: Princeton University.

The Origin of Monsters: Image, Cognition, and State Formation in the Ancient World

The 2011 Rostovtzeff Lectures were given by David Wengrow (University College London).

  • The Sumerian Innovation
  • The Cultural Ecology of Monsters
  • Fantastic Creatures between Nature and Nurture
  • The Demonic State

Photo: University College London.

These lectures were published in 2013 in a volume entitled The Origins of Monsters: Image and Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

Shifting Narratives in Egyptian Christian Visual Culture

The 2012 Rostovtzeff Lectures were given by Elizabeth S. Bolman (Temple University).

Photo: Temple University.

The Sovereign Assemblage: Sense, Sensibility, and Sentiment in the Bronze Age Caucasus

The 2013 Rostovtzeff Lectures were given by Adam T. Smith (Cornell University).

Photo: Cornell University.

These lectures were published in 2015 in a volume entitled: The Political Machine: Assembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus.

Displacements: Migration, Mobility, and Material Culture in the West Mediterranean

The 2014 Rostovtzeff Lectures were given by Peter van Dommelen (Brown University).

Photo: Brown University.

Egyptian versus Greek in Late Antique Egypt: The Struggle of Coptic for an Official Status

The 2017 Rostovtzeff Lectures were delivered by Jean-Luc Fournet (Collège de France).

Photo: Collège de France.

The Sky over Ancient Iraq: Babylonian Astronomy in Context

photograph of professor Ossendrijver in front of blue brick wallThe 2018 Rostovtzeff Lectures were delivered by Mathieu Ossendrijver (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).