Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jacqueline M. Elliott

Second Advisor

Peter E. Knox

Third Advisor

Noel Lenski


This thesis attempts a re-evaluation of the early Roman histories. The first chapter challenges the traditional conception of the methodology of the "annalists," i.e. that they drew directly and substantially from the extant public chronicles of Rome, known as the Annales Maximi. Testimonia on the Annales Maximi are examined case-by-case, and it is concluded that, whatever these records were, our access to their content and nature has been irrecoverably damaged as a result of the agenda of later authorities. Thus, a new naming principle is proposed for the "annalists" as "early Roman historiographers" (ERHs). The second chapter explores the extant fragments of the ERHs without the assumed strictures of the "annalistic" genre, and investigates the numerous aetiologies found therein. These rationalizing strategies are adduced as further evidence that the ERHs deserve a reappraisal in form, content, and methodology.