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Dr Nicolas Wiater

Senior lecturer
GK Programme Convener, Academic Misconduct Officer

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.


Dionysius von Halikarnass: Römische Frühgeschichte
Wiater, N. 2018 (Accepted/In press) Stuttgart: Hiersemann Verlag. 308 p. (Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur; vol. 84)
Research output: ResearchBook

Dionysius von Halikarnass: Römische Frühgeschichte
Wiater, N. 2014 Stuttgart: Hiersemann Verlag. 374 p. (Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur; vol. 75)
Research output: ResearchBook

The Struggle for Identity: Greeks and their Past in the First Century BCE
Schmitz, T. A. (ed.) & Wiater, N. (ed.) 2011 Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. 305 p.
Research output: ResearchBook

The Ideology of Classicism: Language, History, and Identity in Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Wiater, N. 2011 Berlin: de Gruyter. 395 p. (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte; vol. 105)
Research output: ResearchBook


Documents and Narrative: Reading the Roman Carthaginian Treaties in Polybius’ Histories
Wiater, N. 2018 Polybius and his Legacy. Miltsios, N. & Tamiolaki, M. (eds.). Berlin: de Gruyter, p. 131-165 34 p.
Research output: ResearchChapter

“Getting Over Athens: Re-Writing Hellenicity in the Early Roman History of Dionysius of Halicarnassus”
Wiater, N. 2018 (Accepted/In press) The Hellenistic and Early Imperial Greek Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought. Canevaro, M. & Gray, B. (eds.). Oxford University Press
Research output: ResearchChapter

“The Aesthetics of the Past: Language, Time, and Historical Consciousness in Dionysian Criticism”
Wiater, N. 2018 (Accepted/In press) Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Criticism and History in Augustan Rome. de Jonge, C., Oakley, S. & Schultze, C. (eds.).
Research output: ResearchChapter (peer-reviewed)

Polybius and Sallust
Wiater, N. 2017 The Oxford Handbook of Thucydides. Foster, E., Forsdyke, S. & Balot, R. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 659-76
Research output: ResearchChapter

“Expertise, ‘Character’ and the ‘Authority Effect’ in the Early Roman History of Dionysius of Halicarnassus”
Wiater, N. 2017 Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Culture. König, J. & Woolf, G. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, p. 231-59
Research output: ResearchChapter

“The Aesthetics of Truth: Narrative and Historical Hermeneutics in Polybius' Histories”
Wiater, N. 2017 Truth and History in the Ancient World: . Pluralising the Past. Ruffell, I. & Hau, L. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 202-25
Research output: Research - peer-reviewChapter (peer-reviewed)

Shifting Endings, Ambiguity and Deferred Closure in Polybius' Histories
Wiater, N. 2016 Knowing Future Time in and through Greek Historiography. Lianeri, A. (ed.). de Gruyter, p. 217-39 (Trends in Classics Supplementary Series)
Research output: ResearchChapter

Hellenistische Rhetorik
Wiater, N. 17 Oct 2014 Handbuch der griechischen Literatur der Antike : Die Literatur der klassischen und hellenistischen Zeit. Zimmermann, B. & Rengakos, A. (eds.). München: Beck Verlag, Vol. 2, p. 860-886 (Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft)
Research output: ResearchChapter

Wiater, N. 2012 Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Wiley-Blackwell
Research output: ResearchEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Greek Language and Dialects (Classical Times)
Wiater, N. 2012 Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Wiley-Blackwell
Research output: ResearchEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Writing Roman History – Shaping Greek Identity: The Ideology of Historiography in Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Wiater, N. 2011 The Struggle for Identity: Greeks and their Past in the First Century BCE. Wiater, N. & Schmitz, T. A. (eds.). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, p. 61-91
Research output: ResearchConference contribution

Introduction: Approaching Greek Identity
Wiater, N. & Schmitz, T. A. 2011 The Struggle for Identity: Greeks and their Past in the First Century BCE. Wiater, N. & Schmitz, T. A. (eds.). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, p. 15-45
Research output: ResearchChapter

Der utopische Körper: Die Interpretation frühgriechischer Lyrik am Beispiel von Sappho frg. 31LP
Wiater, N. 2010 Antike – Lyrik – Heute: Zur Präsenz griechische und lateinischer Lyrik in deutschsprachiger Lyrik und Altphilologie der Gegenwart. Elit, S., Reents, F. & Bremer, J. (eds.). Remscheid: Gardez!, p. 23-49
Research output: ResearchConference contribution

Speeches and Historical Narrative in Polybius’ Histories: Approaching Speeches in Polybius
Wiater, N. 2010 Stimmen der Geschichte: Funktionen von Reden in der antiken Historiographie. Pausch, D. (ed.). Berlin: de Gruyter, p. 67-107 (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde; vol. 284)
Research output: ResearchChapter

Tragedies to Laugh at: Lucian on the Failures of Mimesis
Wiater, N. 2009 Melpomène dans tous ses états. Le tragique hors de la tragédie dans la litterature latine. Lefèbvre, L. & Glinatsis, R. (eds.). Vol. 1, 26 p.
Research output: ResearchConference contribution

Zankapfel Klassiker: Streit und Gelehrtenkontroverse als Konstituenten des griechischen Klassizismus im ersten Jahrhundert v. Chr. in den Schriften des Dionysius von Halikarnass
Wiater, N. 2008 Streitkultur: Okzidentale Traditionen des Streites in Literatur, Geschichte und Kunst. Baumann, U., Steiner-Weber, A. & Becker, A. (eds.). Göttingen: Vandenhoek und Ruprecht: Bonn University Press, p. 1-29 (Super alta perennis; vol. 2)
Research output: ResearchConference contribution


Amphictyon, son of Hellen? A misunderstood mythological reference in Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 4.25.3
Wiater, N. Dec 2016 In : The Classical Quarterly. 66, 2, p. 804-7
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Polybius on speeches in Timaeus: syntax and structure in Histories 12.25a
Wiater, N. Apr 2014 In : The Classical Quarterly. 64, 1, p. 121-135 15 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Reading the Jewish War: Narrative Technique and Historical Interpretation in Josephus’s Bellum Judaicum
Wiater, N. Jan 2010 In : Materiali e Discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici . 64, p. 145-185
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Geschichte als imaginäres Museum: Zum Geschichtsmodell in Diodors Bibliotheke.
Wiater, N. 2006 In : Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft. NF 30, p. 59-85
Research output: ResearchArticle

Geschichtsschreibung und Kompilation: Diodors historiographische Arbeitsmethode und seine Vorstellungen von zeitgemäßer Geschichtsschreibung.
Wiater, N. 2006 In : Rheinisches Museum. 149, p. 248-71
Research output: ResearchArticle

Eine poetologische Deutung des σηκός in Simon. Fr. 531 PMG
Wiater, N. 2005 In : Hermes. 133, p. 44-55
Research output: ResearchArticle


Dreyer, B .,Polybios. Studienbücher Antike 4. Hildesheim, Zurich and New York: Georg Olms, 2011
Wiater, N. 2014 In : The Classical Review.
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Jennifer R. Ballengee, The Wound and the Witness. The Rhetoric of Torture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009.
Wiater, N. 7 Apr 2012 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Thorsten Fögen, Wissen, Kommunikation und Selbstdarstellung: Zur Struktur und Charakteristik römischer Fachtexte der frühen Kaiserzeit. Zetemata 134. München: Beck 2009
Wiater, N. 2010 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2010.12.27
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Diodore de Sicile. Bibliothèque historique. Fragments livres XXI-XXVI, ed. P. Goukowsky. Paris: Budé 2006
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Erich S. Gruen (ed.), Cultural Borrowings and Ethnic Appropriations in Antiquity. Stuttgart 2005
Wiater, N. 2007 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2007.07.46
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Klaus Bringmann, Augustus. Darmstadt 2007
Wiater, N. 2007 In : Frankfurter elektronische Rundschau zur Altertumskunde (FeRA). 5
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

W. Martin Bloomer, The Contest of Language. Before and Beyond Nationalism. Notre Dame, IN. 2005
Wiater, N. 2006 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2006.06.21
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review

Anouk Delcourt, Lecture des Antiquités Romaines de Denys d’Halicarnasse. Un historien entre deux mondes. Brussels 2005
Wiater, N. 2005 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2005.10.46
Research output: ResearchBook/Film/Article review


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.

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