Tenney Frank

Tenney Frank books and biography

Tenney Frank

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Tenney Frank (born Clay Center, Kansas, USA May 19, 1876; died April 3, 1939, in Oxford, England) 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. Frank's other work focused on classical literature, with articles on Cicero, Strabo, Curiatius Maternus, Plautus, and Virgil, among others. He also worked on Latin inscriptions, including the stele from the Forum Romanum in Rome (vid. "On the Stele of the Forum" Classical Philology 14,1 (Jan., 1919), pp. 87-88), and on Roman construction and the Servian Wall of Rome (vid. "Notes on the Servian Wall" American Journal of Archaeology 22.2 (Apr., 1918), pp. 175-188 and "The Letters on the Blocks of the Servian Wall" The American Journal of Philology 45.1 (1924), pp. 68-69). 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).

Selected bibliography

  • A History of Rome (1923).
  • Economic History of Rome (1920, rev. ed. 1927).
  • Roman buildings of the republic, an attempt to date them from their materials Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome v. 3 (Rome, 1924).
  • Catullus and Horace (1928, repr. 1965).
  • Life and Literature in the Roman Republic (Sather Lecture, 1930).
  • An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome I and V (1933 & 1940).


  • History of Bryn Mawr College Classics[1]
  • Mason Hammond "Ancient Imperialism: Contemporary Justifications," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology vol. 58. (1948), pp. 105-16.


  • Norman W. DeWitt "Tenney Frank" The American Journal of Philology 60.3 (1939), pp. 273-287.

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