Section Banner Images

Empires to Nation-States

Late Antiquity

print icon Print Page

Back Button Off 1 of 3 Next Button On

Examining Stereotypes

Oriental Domination Prevailed and Caused the Downfall of the Empire

The false stereotype of Orientalism involves outdated and wrongful racial assumptions and prejudices. An example of this false Orientalist stereotyping is the essay by Tenney Frank, “Race Mixture in the Roman Empire,” in which he argued that Rome was destroyed by the rising influence of the “Orient.” Some inter-group tensions and ethnic stereotyping existed in late antique Latin and Greek literature. Individuals and masses and leaders from the Middle East did not swamp and drag down and ruin the Roman Empire. In fact, talented leadership came out of the dynamic Middle Eastern provinces in many fields and professions and succeeded in rising to prominence by benefiting from the existence of the empire to travel and to communicate. Ambitious persons strove to compete and fulfill their ambitions in respective ways of life. Some of them helped to preserve the empire and its literature. [See Frank, Tenney. “Race Mixture in the Roman Empire,” American Historical Review 21 (1916): 689-708 and Duff, A. M. Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1928. Esp. pp 8-11]

Supporting Links:

“The 7 Survival Habits of Byzantium.” The New York Times Ideas Blog. Link to resource (accessed March 9, 2010).

Next Button Off Late Antique Society Was an Unchanging Monolith

Empires to Nation-States » Late Antiquity » Examining Stereotypes

© 2010 The Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago  |  Page updated: 12/29/2010

Contact Information  |  Rights & Permissions