Tenney Frank

Tenney Frank

Portrait of Tenney Frank
Born (1876-05-19)May 19, 1876
Clay Center, Kansas
Died April 3, 1939(1939-04-03) (aged 62)
Oxford, England
Spouse(s) Grace Mayor 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).


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Tenney Frank



  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. [Rep. in The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. V, No. 4, 2005.]
  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.


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