Michael Peachin

Michael Peachin

I began my career in ancient history at Indiana University, where I worked with Rufus Fears and Glanville Downey. This was followed by a year of study in Bonn, and under the tutelage of Johannes Straub. The next stop was Columbia University, where I completed my graduate studies. My teachers there were Roger Bagnall (my dissertation advisor), Alan Cameron, William Harris, Morton Smith, and William Metcalf, who was then at the American Numismatic Society. The other person, who much influenced my own approach to Roman history, was Géza Alföldy, who was Professor of Roman History in Heidelberg, where I spent a fair amount of time in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

My first book project, which had been my dissertation, tackled imperial titulature and chronology during the third century AD. This project actually arose, via a circuitous route, from Pliny’s insistence, in his Panegyric, about the importance of the epithet optimus. In any case, one of the chief sources for the chronology of the third century is the Codex Justinianus, with its dated imperial rescripts. My engagement with this fascinating book quickly led to an interest in Roman law, though in particular, the ways in which law was implemented on a quotidian basis. Thus, a second book on the delegation of imperial jurisdiction, and the men, who carried out this function. Engagement with Roman administration and Roman law kept me constantly thinking about the men, who implemented both, and I began especially to wonder about the intersections of the literary interests of these men with their “professional” lives. For clearly, both working as a member of the governing elite and writing were of crucial importance to these individuals. That led me to ask, in particular, why the Roman aristocrat seems to have had almost no interest whatsoever in writing about administration. The one apparent exception, Frontinus, who wrote a booklet about the administration of Rome’s water supply, led to a third book project. Throughout all of this, I was repeatedly struck by the obvious effects of Roman social constructs on nearly everything they undertook. A concern with this aspect of the Roman world led to my editing a handbook on Roman social relations. Presently, I have two larger projects in mind. The first, toward which I’ve been collecting ideas and material for quite awhile now, would be a study of Roman abusive behaviors and practices. I have also come to think that we need an in-depth study of the changes in Rome’s legal culture, which came about during the years of Augustus’ rule. I’ve begun to write a bit about that, and am starting to collect materials for such a book.



Roman Imperial Titulature and Chronology, A.D. 235-284, Studia Amstelodamensia ad epigraphicam, ius antiquum et papyrologicam pertinentia XXIX (Amsterdam 1990) xxvii + 515 pgs.

A.R. Birley, Classical Review 41 (1991) 410-411; F.-L. L. (?), Les Études Classiques 59 (1991) 383-384; A. Watson, Journal of Roman Studies 82 (1992) 298-299; M. Christol, L'Antiquite Classique 61 (1992) 615-617; R. Bland, Numismatic Chronicle 152 (1992) 210-211

Iudex vice Caesaris. Deputy Emperors and the Administration of Justice during the Principate, Heidelberger Althistorische Beiträge und Epigraphische Studien 21 (Stuttgart 1996) x + 267 pgs.

F. Arcaria, Iura 46 (1995) 149-165; M. Meckler, Bryn Mawr Classical Review (1996); F. Lamberti, Labeo 42 (1996) 543-544; J. Zabocki, JJP 26 (1996) 211-213; J. Heinrichs, Historische Zeitschrift 264 (1997) 441-442; B. Salway, Journal of Roman Studies 87 (1997) 292; G.P. Burton, The Classical Review (1998) 103-104; L. Alexander, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte 115 (1998) 593-598; M. Ducos, REL 76 (1998) 377; H. Jones, L’Antiquite Classique 68 (1999) 578; J. Gascou, Latomus 58 (1999) 229-231; M. Alpers, Klio 81 (1999) 549-550; H.-D. Spengler, Gnomon 73 (2001) 328-332.

Aspects of friendship in the Graeco-Roman world. Proceedings of a conference held at the Seminar für Alte Geschichte, Heidelberg, on 10-11 June, 2000. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series Number 44 (Portsmouth 2001) 160 pgs. [edited volume]

D. Konstan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.04.29; M. Reali, Epigraphica 65 (2003) 362-365; A. Tatarkiewicz, Eos 89 (2002) 396-398

Frontinus and the curae of the curator aquarum, Heidelberger Althistorische Beiträge und Epigraphische Studien 39 (Stuttgart 2004) ix + 197 pgs.

E. Kettenhofen, Humanities-Sozial-und Kulturgeschichte 2005-3-193, 4 pgs.; H. Zehnacker, Revue des Études Latines 83 (2005) 349-350; C. Damon, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.01.15, 3pgs.; B. Saylor Rodgers, Classical Review 56 (2006) 362-364; A. König, Journal of Roman Studies 96 (2006) 262-265; A. Eich, Das Historisch-Politische Buch 54 (2006) 132-133; R. Benefiel, Sehepunkte 6 (2006) 2 pgs.; A. Dauget-Gagey, L’antiquite classique 75 (2006) 560-563; A. Rísquez Madrid, Gerión 25 (2007) 211-213; C. Bruun, Journal of Roman Archaeology 20 (2007) 460-466; F. Del Chicca, Athenaeum 95 (2007) 967-970; P. Eich, Klio 89 (2007) 523-524; G. de Kleijn, Gnomon 80 (2008) 367-369; S. Schrumpf, Historische Zeitschrift 286 (2008) 701-702; B. Sténuit, Latomus 67 (2008) 1110

The Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations (New York 2011) xvi + 738 pgs. [edited volume]

P.B. Harvey, Jr., Choice October 2011, 371; C. Laes, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.11.50; K. Bradley, Classical Journal Online 2011.11.06; H. Zehnacker, Revue des Etudes Latins 89 (2011) 441-443; A.-C. Harders, Classical Review 62 (2012) 577-579; N. Mathieu, L’antiquité classique 81 (2012) 476-479; K. Sandberg, Arctos 46 (2012) 306-308; W.D. Barry, History 41 (2013) 26-27; C. Van Gelen, Klio 96 (2014) 284-287

The Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations revised paperback edition (New York 2014) xvi + 738 pgs. [edited volume]

Greek and Latin Inscriptions at New York University (Rome 2014) 144 pgs. [edited volume]

J. Bodel, Journal of Roman Archaeology 29 (2016) 762-769

Rome and the Worlds Beyond Its Frontiers, eds. M. Peachin and D. Slootjes (Leiden 2016) xiv + 262 pgs. [edited volume]

K. Whitcomb, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.07.43


A History of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Diocletian
[This will be one in a series of handbooks on the ancient world, to be published by Blackwell. The publisher has asked me to produce this volume for the series.]

A Roman World of Abuse
[This will be a study – social, cultural, political – of the many and varied abusive behaviors and practices, which the Romans employed in most of their quotidian activities.]


“Dike Work in the Oxyrhynchite Nome,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 19 (1982) 159-166

“Johannes Malalas and the Moneyers' Revolt,” in C. Deroux (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History III (Brussels 1983) 325-335
Review of W. Speyer, Büchervernichtung und Zensur des Geistes bei Heiden, Juden und Christen (Stuttgart 1981), in Apeiron 17 (1983) 140-141

“An Inscription of Maximinus Thrax and Maximus Restored,” Historia 33 (1984) 123-126

“The Purpose of Festus' Breviarium,” Mnemosyne 38 (1985) 158-161
“P. Oxy. VI 912 and the Accession of Maximinus Thrax,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 59 (1985) 75-78

“The Procurator Monetae,” Numismatic Chronicle 146 (1986) 94-106
“A Funerary Inscription from Etruria,” Phoenix 40 (1986) 446-453

“Praepositus or Procurator?” Historia 37 (1987) 248-249

“Which Philip?” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 73 (1988) 98-100
“Gallienus Caesar?” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 74 (1988) 219-224

“The Office of the Memory,” in E. Chrysos (ed.), Studien zur Geschichte der römischen Spätantike. Festgabe für Johannes Straub (Athens 1989) 168-208
“A Note on the Early Days of Diocletian's Reign,” American Journal of Ancient History 9 (1984) 153-157 [appeared 1989]
“Once More 238,” Athenaeum n.s. 67 (1989) 594-604

“Prosopographic Notes from the Law Codes,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 84 (1990) 105-112

“Testamentary Trouble and an Imperial Rescript from Bithynia,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 86 (1991) 155-162 [co-authored with Dennis Kehoe]
“Philip's Progress,” Historia 40 (1991) 331-342

“Consultation with a Magistrate in Justinian's Code,” Classical Quarterly 42 (1992) 448-458
“The Emperor, his Secretaries and the Composition of Rescripts,” Studi italiani di filologia classica 10 (1992) 955-960

“The Case of the Heiress Camilia Pia,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 96 (1994) 301-341 [appeared 1997]
“CIL VI 3836: Die Karriere des Aspasius Paternus?” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 116 (1997) 176-192 [co-authored with Gerhard Preuß]
“Epigraphy, Prosopography, and the Evidence of the Codex Justinianus,” in XI Congresso Internazionale di Epigrafia Greca e Latina. Roma, 18-24 settembre 1997. Preatti (Rome 1997) 647-652

Review of J.E. Lendon, Empire of Honour (Oxford 1997), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 9.6 (1998) 539-545
Review of F. Graf, Der Lauf des rollenden Jahres. Zeit und Kalender in Rom. Lectio Teubneriana VI. (Stuttgart 1997), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (1998) 3 pgs.

“Epigraphy, Prosopography, and the Evidence of the Codex Justinianus,” in S. Panciera (ed.), XI Congresso Internazionale di Epigrafia Greca e Latina. Atti (Rome 1999) 555-561
“Five Vindolanda Tablets, Soldiers, and the Law,” Tyche 14 (1999) 223-235
Review of F. Jacques & J. Scheid, Rom und das Reich in der Hohen Kaiserzeit 44 v. Chr. - 260 n. Chr. Band I: Die Struktur des Reiches (Stuttgart & Leipzig 1998), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (1999) 8 pgs.
Review of F. Mercogliano, Tituli ex corpore Ulpiani. Storia di un testo (Naples 1997), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (1999) 5 pgs.

Review of S.P. Mattern, Rome and the Enemy. Imperial Strategy in the Principate (Berkeley 1999), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2000) 8 pgs.

“Jurists and the Law in the Early Roman Empire,” in L. de Blois (ed.), Administration, Prosopography and Appointment Policies in the Roman Empire. Proceedings of the First Workshop of the Internation Network ‘Impact of Empire (Roman Empire, 27 BC – AD 406)’. Leiden, June 28 – July 1, 2000 (Amsterdam 2001) 109-120
“Friendship and Abuse at the Dinner Table,” in M. Peachin (ed.), Aspects of friendship in the Graeco-Roman world. Proceedings of a conference held at the Seminar für Alte Geschichte, Heidelberg, on 10-11 June, 2000 (Portsmouth, Rhode Island 2001) 137-146
Review of W. Eck (Hg.), Lokale Autonomie und römische Ordnungsmacht in den kaiserzeitlichen Provinzen vom 1. bis 3. Jahrhundert (Oldenbourg 1999), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2001) 25 pgs.
Review of A. Watson, Aurelian and the Third Century (London & New York 1999), in Classical World 94 (2001) 284-286

“Introduction,” in J.-J. Aubert & B. Sirks (eds.), Speculum iuris. Roman Law as a Reflection of Social and Economic Life in Antiquity (Ann Arbor 2002) 1-14
Review of C. Ando, Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire (Berkeley 2000), in American Historical Review (2002) 921-922

“Historic vogue to set life in stone.” Review of J. Bodel (ed.), Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient history from inscriptions (London & New York 2001), in The Times Higher Education Supplement, January 3, 2003, 25
Review of T. Corey Brennan, The Praetorship in the Roman Republic (Oxford 2000), in Classical World 96.2 (2003) 224-226

Review of M. Tarpin, Vici et Pagi dans l’occident romain (Rome 2002), in Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004) 271-272

“Mommsens Princeps,” in W. Nippel & B. Seidensticker (eds.), Theodor Mommsens Langer Schatten. Das römische Staatsrecht als bleibende Herausforderung für die Forschung (Zürich-New York 2005) 161-176
Review article of R.H. Rodgers, Frontinus. De aquaeductu urbis Romae (Cambridge 2004), in Journal of Roman Archaeology 18 (2005) 502-508
Review of K. Verboven, The Economy of Friends. Economic Aspects of Amicitia and Patronage in the Late Republic (Brussels 2002), in Classical Review 55 (2005) 256-258
Review of B.H. McLean, An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great down to the Reign of Constantine (323 B.C. – A.D. 337) (Ann Arbor 2002), in Classical World 98 (2005) 230-231
Review of M. Roller, Constructing Autocracy. Aristocrats and Emperors in Julio-Claudian Rome (Princeton 2001), in Classical World 98 (2005) 455-456

“Frontinus and the Creation of a New Administrative Office,” in A. Kolb (ed.), Herrschaftsstrukturen und Herrschaftspraxis. Konzepte, Prinzipien und Strategien der Administration im römischen Kaiserreich (Berlin 2006) 79-88
“Rome the Superpower,” in D.S. Potter (ed.), A Companion to the Roman Empire (Oxford 2006) 126-152
Review of E. Meyer, Legitimacy and Law in the Roman World: Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice (Cambridge 2004), in Phoenix 40 (2006) 175-178

“Exemplary Government in the Early Roman Empire,” in O. Hekster, et al. (eds.), Crises and the Roman Empire. Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Nijmegen, June 20-24, 2006) (Leiden 2007) 75-96
“Petition to a Centurion from the NYU Papyrus Collection and the Question of Informal Adjudication Performed by Centurions,” in A.J.B. Sirks and K. Worp (eds.), Papyri in Memory of P.J. Sijpesteijn (Chippenham 2007) 79-97
“Attacken und Erniedrigungen als alltägliche Elemente der kaiserzeitlichen Regierungspraxis,” in R. Haensch and J. Heinrichs (eds.), Herrschen und Verwalten. Der Alltag der römischen Administration in der Hohen Kaiserzeit (Cologne-Weimar-Vienna 2007) 117-125

Review of L. Schumacher, Stellung des Sklaven im Sakralrecht. Corpus der römischen Rechtsquellen zur antiken Sklaverei (Stuttgart 2006), in BMCR 2008.07.21

“X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging Analysis of Inscription Provenance,” with J. Powers, R.E. Thorne, K. Clinton, N. Dimitrova, E.C. Geil, and D.-M. Smilgies, Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 343-350

“Prosopography,” in M. Gagarin, et al. (eds.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (Oxford 2010) vol. 6, 41-44

“Introduction,” in M. Peachin (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations (New York 2011) 3-36
“Cyrene Edicts,” “Decretum,” “Edict, magistrate’s,” “Edict, praetor’s,” “Rescriptum,” “Responsa,” in R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, et al. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Malden 2011)
Review of J. Osgood, Claudius Caesar. Image and Power in the Early Roman Empire (Cambridge 2011), in The Classical Journal (2011)

Review of A. M. Riggsby, Roman Law and the Legal World of the Romans (Cambridge 2010), in Mnemosyne 65 (2012) 866-868
Review of S. Pfeiffer, Der römische Kaiser und das Land am Nil. Kaiserverehrung und Kaiserkult in Alexandria und Ägypten von Augustus bis Caracalla (Stuttgart 2010), in Classical World 105 (2012) 145-147

“Augustus’ Res Gestae and the Emerging Principate” in W. Eck, B. Fehér, P. Kovács (eds.), Studia Epigraphica in Memoriam Géza Alföldy (Bonn 2013) 255-274
Review of U. Babusiaux, Papinians Quaestiones : zur rhetorischen Methode eines spätklassischen Juristen (Munich 2011), in Journal of Roman Studies 103 (2013) 342-343
Review of P. du Plessis (ed.). New frontiers: law and society in the Roman world (Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press, 2013), in BMCR 2013.09.36

Review of G. Woolf, Rome. An Empire’s Story (Oxford 2012), in BMCR 2014.02.44
Review of H. Mouritsen, The Freedman in the Roman World (Cambridge 2011), in Classical World 107 (2014) 285-286

“Weitere Gedanken zum Prozess des Verfassens kaiserlicher Reskripte,” in A. Kolb and U. Babusiaux (eds.), Das Recht der Soldatenkaiser. Rechtliche Stabilität in Zeiten politischen Umbruchs? (Berlin 2015) 211-224
“Augustus’ Emergent Judicial Powers, the Crimen Maiestatis, and the Second Cyrene Edict” in J.-L. Ferrary & J. Scheid (eds.), Il princeps romano: autocrate o magistrato? Fattori giuridici e fattori sociali del potere imperiale da Augusto a Commodo (Pavia 2015) 497-553
“Papinian” and “Julian” in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History

“Lawyers in Administration” in C. Ando, P.J. du Plessis, and K. Tuori (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society (Oxford 2016) 164-175
“Tiberius’ on Rhodes,” in F. Marco Simon and F. Pina Polo (eds.), Autoretratos: La creación de la imagen personal en la antigüedad (Barcelona 2016) 129-142

“In Search of a Roman Rule of Law,” Legal Roots. The International Journal of Roman Law, Legal History and Comparative Law 6 (2017) 19-64
“Frontinus’ De aquis and the Gnomon of the Idios Logos,” in K. Harter-Uibopuu and T. Kruse
 (eds.), Dienst nach Vorschrift? Vergleichende Studien zum “Gnomon des Idios Logos” (Vienna 2017)
“Gesellschaft und Heer, römisch” in M.A. Speidel and L. Burkhardt (eds.), Der Neue Pauy – Supplemente: Bd. 12 Militärgeschichte der griechisch-römischen Antike (Stuttgart – Weimar 2017)

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