The Autocrat as Author. A Comparative Study of Ancient Monarchy from the Archaic Period to Late Antiquity

The project deals with ancient autocrats who were active as authors. The investigation extends from the Archaic period to Late Antiquity, and thus covers all of antiquity from ca. 600 B.C. to 600 A.D. The project’s premise is that in all forms of ancient monarchy – Archaic and Late Classical tyranny, Hellenistic monarchy, Roman and Late Antique emperorship – the position of the ruler was not incontestable. A considerable communicative effort was necessary to maintain power. The literary production of a ruler reflects a conscious decision to engage in specific monarchical self-fashioning. To analyse the functions of rulers’ authorship, this project examines the literary genres and thematic fields chosen by the autocrats, as well as their intended audiences.

The project has been funded by the DFG since February 2021 within the framework of a Heisenberg scholarship.

Project Manager

Avatar Haake

PD Dr. Matthias Haake


Ancient History


Am Hof 1e

53113 Bonn

Europe and Mediterranean Region

Study Region

9th Century B.C - 5th Century A.C.

Study Period

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