Mary T. Boatwright - Imperial Women

Mary T. Boatwright

Esther Van Deman Scholar in Residence
March 8–April 16, 2021
Profession
Professor Emerita of Classical Studies, Duke University
Biography

Mary “Tolly” Boatwright’s year as an undergraduate at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome during the early 1970s was instrumental in her decision to attend graduate school and become a professional classicist. The landmark books that followed include Hadrian and the City of Rome (1987), Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire (2000), and Peoples of the Roman World (2012). She also coauthored two leading textbooks in the field—The Romans: From Village to Empire and A Brief History of the Romans, first published in 2004 and 2005, respectively—with Daniel J. Gargola and Richard J. A. Talbert. After a distinguished career that includes over forty years of teaching classical studies and history, Boatwright is now professor emerita at Duke University.

In 1977–78, Boatwright was Affiliated Fellow with the University of Michigan, where she was earning her doctorate. She returned to AAR in 1978–79 to work as an assistant for a conference that John D’Arms ran on the seaborne commerce of ancient Rome. Since then Tolly has made periodic appearances at the Academy—most recently in summer 2015 when she began research for her new book, Imperial Women of Rome: Power, Gender, Context.

During her 2021 Residency, Boatwright made progress on her biography of Agrippina the Younger. “This is a very new endeavor for me, since I have tended to work on topography, Hadrian, and social history.” She had plans to visit several sites: Agrippina’s villa on the Bay of Naples, where the Roman empress was killed by order of her son Nero; the spot nearby where her remains were cheaply and hurriedly interred; and locales in Rome and elsewhere that are home to inscriptions and portraits of her. Tolly also discussed “Colonial Cities and Imperial Citizens” with Mia Fuller in a February Conversations/Conversazioni.