Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, or Rostovtsev ( ) ( , Zhitomir, Ukraine – October 20, 1952, New Haven, USA) was one of the 20th century's foremost authorities on ancient Greek, Iranian, and Roman history.
completing his studies at the universities of Kiev and ,
Rostovtsev served as an assistant and then as a full professor at
the . In 1918, he emigrated to the United States,
where he accepted a chair at the University of
Wisconsin–Madison before moving to Yale University in 1925. He oversaw all archaeological activities of
the latter institution in general and the excavations of Dura-Europos in particular.
working in Russia, Rostovtsev
was recognized as the world's preeminent authority on ancient
history of South Russia and Ukraine.
He summed up his vast
knowledge on the subject in Iranians and Greeks in South
(1922) and Skythien und der Bosporus
His most important archaeological findings at Yale were described
in Dura-Europos and Its Art
Rostovtsev is remembered as the first historian to examine the
ancient economies in terms of capitalism and revolutions.
Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire
A Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World
(1941) were his pioneering works that transferred the attention of
historians from military or political events to global economic or
social problems that had been formerly hidden behind their
- Bongard-Levin, G.M. The great Russian historian M.
Rostovtsev in the USA: The years of exile. Lewiston, NY:
Edwin Mellen Press, 1999 (in Russian, ISBN 0-7734-3226-4).
- Bowersock, G.W. "Rostovtzeff in Madison" in American
Scholar, Spring 1986, Vol. 55 Issue 3,
- Hopkins, Clark. The discovery of Dura-Europos. New
Heaven: Yale University Press, 1979 (ISBN 0-300-02288-3).
- Momigliano, Arnaldo.
"M.I. Rostovtzeff" in The Cambridge Journal, 1954, 7,
Studies in historiography (The Academy Library,
TB 1288). New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966, Studies on
Modern Scholarship. Berkeley: University of California Press,
1994 (paperback, ISBN 0-520-08545-0), pp. 32–43.
- Reinhold, Meyer. "Historian of the Classic World: A Critique of
Rostovtzeff", Studies in Classical History and Society
(American Classical Studies; 45). New York: Oxford University
Press, 2002 (ISBN 0-19-514543-7), pp. 82–100.
- Shaw, Brent D. "Under Russian eyes: [Review article]",
The Journal of Roman studies, Vol. 82. (1992),
- Wes, Marinus A. Michael Rostovtzeff, historian in
exile: Russian roots in an American context
(Historia-Einzelschriften; 65). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner
Verlag, 1990 (ISBN 3-515-05664-5).
- Reviewed by Brent D. Shaw in The Journal of Roman
Studies, Vol. 82. (1992), pp. 216–228.
- Wes, Marinus A. "The Russian background of the young
Rostovtzeff", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte,
Vol. 37, No. 2. (1988), pp. 207–221.
- Wes, Marinus A. "The Correspondence between Rostovtzeff
and Westermann. A Note on Gaetano De
Sanctis", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte,
Vol. 42, No. 1. (1993), pp. 125–128.