Skip navigation to content

Dr Nicolas Wiater

Senior lecturer
Careers officer, GK programme convener

Phone: 01334 462625

Room: C32

Research profile

Research Interests

  • Greek literature and culture, especially Greek narratives of Roman history and Greek literary criticism in the late Hellenistic and early Imperial period
  • The history of Rome in the archaic and mid-Republican period
  • Graeco-Roman cultural, literary and political interaction in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE and CE.
  • Modern critical theory and classical texts, esp. cultural identity, sociology, narratology and narrative and historical interpretation

The main focus of my research is Greek historical writing and literary criticism under the Roman Republic and the Augustan Principate, in particular Polybius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, but I have also published on Diodorus Siculus, Flavius Josephus, Lucian and early Greek poetry. In my work I deliberately adopt a wide-ranging approach which deals with cultural and social approaches to literature and literary, narratological and stylistic analysis of the texts just as much as with key issues of archaic and early Republican Roman history such as the origin of the res publica, the history of the so-called ‘Struggle of Orders’, the Second Punic War, and treaties and international relations in the Roman world (e.g., the Roman-Carthaginian treaties, including the ‘Ebro Treaty’ and the foedus Cassianum).

Current Research

For Oxford University Press, I am working on a new commentary on book three of Polybius' Histories, the first commentary since Walbank's seminal 1957 work and the only comprehensive commentary on this or any book of the Histories. I explore the historical aspects of Polybius' work on the basis of the latest historical and archaeological research on the Roman Middle Republic along with the stylistic, linguistic and narratological aspects, for which I draw on modern literary-critical, social and narratological theories, including the on-going, lively debate about narrative, aesthetics and historical understanding. 

For Hiersemann Verlag, I am working on a multi-volume commented German translation of Dionysius of Halicarnassus' Early Roman History. The translation is the only available modern German translation of this key source on both the History of Archaic Rome and Greek prose literature and culture in Augustan Rome and is based on a thorough revision of the original Greek text. In the commentary I deal with a wide variety of different issues, including textual criticism, stylistic analysis, Dionysius' relationship with the Roman and Greek historical and literary tradition, engagement of the reader and aspects of historical importance.

With Dr. Alice König, I am embarking on a new collaborative research project entitled Visualising War On and Off the Page, which will look at the interplay between battle narratives across antiquity and beyond. This project is linked with my interests in Graeco-Roman warfare that results from my work on Polybius and Dionysius and in the intersection of history and narrative representation.

Research students

I am currently supervising a PhD on early Roman history. I am happy to supervise in any of the areas outlined above under "research interests". I am particular keen on working with postgraduate students interested in late Hellenistic and early Imperial Greek literature (prose and poetry), the interrelation of Greek and Roman literature and culture, the language and style of Hellenistic prose, and archaic and early republican Roman history and culture.


For further information on publications, please view my profile on the university's research portal.

Academic career

I hold an MA (with distinction, 2004) and a PhD (summa cum laude, 2008) from the University of Bonn (Germany), after having studied at Bonn and Frankfurt/ Main and spent time as a visiting student at the Università di Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore (2002/3) and the University of Cambridge (2006/7). Before coming to St Andrews in 2011, I spent a year as a Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral researcher, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, and Oldfather Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Find the School on