Tenney Frank

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Tenney Frank
Tenney Frank.jpg
Portrait of Tenney Frank
Born(1876-05-19)May 19, 1876
DiedApril 3, 1939(1939-04-03) (aged 62)
Alma materUniversity of Kansas; University of Chicago
OccupationAncient historian and classical scholar
Spouse(s)Grace Frank

Tenney Frank (May 19, 1876 – April 3, 1939) was a prominent ancient historian and classical scholar.


Tenney Frank earned his A.B. at the University of Kansas in 1898 and A.M. the following year. Frank went on to receive his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1903. Frank taught at Bryn Mawr College as Professor of Latin from 1904 until 1919, when he moved to the Johns Hopkins University. At Bryn Mawr Frank wrote and published his influential study Roman Imperialism in 1914. Frank believed that Rome's imperialism stemmed from a desire to keep peace in the Mediterranean world by preventing the rise of any rival power.[1] Frank's other work focused on classical literature, with articles on Cicero, Strabo, Curiatius Maternus, Plautus, and Virgil, among others.

He wrote periodically for the American Historical Review, including a paper on the demise of the various ancient Italian peoples that comprised the Roman ethnicity in Julius Caesar's day. Arguing that Roman expansion brought in masses of foreign peoples and slaves that over time changed the ethnic make-up of the Roman populace and contributed to the empire's ruin.[2]

He worked on Latin inscriptions, including the stele from the Forum Romanum in Rome,[3] and on Roman construction and the Servian Wall of Rome[4] and.[5] His work on the Roman economy was a seminal study of the economy and trade in the Roman world.

He married Grace Edith Mayer in 1907. Of Swedish ancestry, Frank was influenced by his agrarian roots. He was also multilingual and had a great facility for languages, including Scandinavian tongues. At Johns Hopkins, Frank trained Thomas Robert Shannon Broughton, with whom he collaborated on his studies of the Roman economy. A bibliography of Frank's work may be found in The American Journal of Philology 60.3 (1939).


  • (1903). A Stichometric Scholium to the Medea of Euripides, The University of Chicago Press.
  • (1904). Attraction of Mood in Early Latin: A Dissertation, Press of the New Era Printing Company.
  • (1920). An Economic History of Rome, Johns Hopkins University Press [rev. ed. 1927].
  • (1922). Vergil, a Biography, Henry Holt & Company [Russell & Russell, 1965].
  • (1923). A History of Rome, Henry Holt & Company.
  • (1924). Roman Buildings of the Republic, American Academy in Rome.
  • (1928). Catullus and Horace, Henry Holt & Company [Russell & Russell, 1965].
  • (1930). Life and Literature in the Roman Republic, Sather Classical Lectures, University of California Press, Sixth Printing, 1971.
  • (1932). Aspects of Social Behavior in Ancient Rome, Harvard University Press [Cooper Square Publishers, 1969].
  • (1933 & 1940). An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, Johns Hopkins University Press.
    • Vol. I: Rome and Italy of the Republic.
    • Vol. V: Rome and Italy of the Empire.


  • "Italy." In Encyclopædia Brtitannica, Vol. XII, 1929 (In part).


  1. ^ Hammond, Mason (1948). "Ancient Imperialism: Contemporary Justifications," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 58, pp. 105–16.
  2. ^ Frank. Tenney (1916). "Race Mixture in the Roman Empire," The American Historical Review, Vol. XXI, No. 4.
  3. ^ "On the Stele of the Forum", Classical Philology, Vol. XIV, No.1 (Jan., 1919), pp. 87‑88.
  4. ^ "Notes on the Servian Wall" American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. XXII, No.2 (Apr., 1918), pp. 175‑188.
  5. ^ "The Letters on the Blocks of the Servian Wall", The American Journal of Philology, Vol. XLV, No.1, (1924), pp. 68‑69.


Further reading[edit]

  • Baynes, Norman H. (1943). "The Decline of the Roman Power in Western Europe. Some Modern Explanations," Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. XXXIII.
  • Broughton, T. R. S. (1990). “Tenney Frank.” In Ward W. Briggs and William M. Calder III, (eds.), Classical Scholarship. A Biographical Encyclopedia, Garland Publishing, pp., 68–76.
  • Muller, Herbert Joseph (1952). The Uses of the Past, New American Library.

External links[edit]