Skip to main content View Site Map

Ari Bryen

Assistant Professor
On leave 2014-15


302C Woodburn Hall
P.O. Box 6303
Morgantown, WV 26506-6303
Phone: 304.293.9407
Fax: 304.293.3616

Teaching Fields

  • Ancient Rome
  • Ancient Greece
  • Roman law
  • Legal and social history


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2008
  • MA, University of Chicago, 2003
  • BA, University of Maryland, College Park, 2001

Research Interests

Ari Bryen came to WVU after holding an ACLS New Faculty Fellowship in the Departments of Rhetoric and Classics at UC Berkeley, and a Visiting Research Scholarship at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. He earned a Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Chicago, where he wrote his dissertation on interpersonal violence in Roman-period Egypt. His interests in ancient legal documents have led him to ask about the role of law and courts in day-to-day life in Rome’s provinces, and in imperial encounters in general. Working with ancient documents has also given him an interest in historical methodology, that is, in the array of humanistic and social-scientific reading techniques for extracting new answers and questions from old, fragmentary, and occasionally intractable bits of ancient trash. This has involved looking at processes of drafting and archiving, interpreting visual and literary modes of presenting legal information, and of tracing how stories about laws, courts, and rulers come to be redacted and retold by non-elite actors.

Courses Offered

  • HIST 101: Western Civilization from Antiquity to 1600
  • HIST 393I: Roman History
  • HIST 393R: Roman Law
  • HIST 484: Imperialism in the Ancient Mediterranean (capstone)



Violence in Roman Egypt: A Study in Legal Interpretation. Empire and After (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)


“Author’s Response,” Law and Social Inquiry 2015 (response to review symposium on Violence in Roman Egypt)

“Martyrdom, Rhetoric, and the Politics of Procedure,” Classical Antiquity 33 (2014): 243-80

“Law in Many Pieces,” Classical Philology 104 (2014): 346-65

“Histories of Violence: Notes from the Roman Empire,” 125-51 in R. Campbell (ed.), Violence and Civilization: Studies of Social Violence in History and Prehistory. Joukowsky Institute Publications 4 (Oxbow, 2014)

“Histories of Violence: Notes from the Roman Empire,” 125-51 in R. Campbell (ed.), Violence and Civilization: Interdisciplinary Sketches of a Deep History Joukowsky Institute Publications 4 (Oxbow, 2014)

“Judging Empire: Courts and Culture in Rome’s Eastern Provinces,” Law and History Review 30 (2012): 771-811

“Gemellus’ Evil Eyes (P.Mich. VI 423-4)” (w/ A. Wypustek), Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 49 (2009): 535-55.

“Visibility and Violence in Petitions from Roman Egypt,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 48 (2008): 181-200.

In Progress:

“Dionysia’s Complaint: Emotion, Truth, and Language in the Courtroom” in C. Kotsifou (ed.), Emotional Display, Persuasion, and Rhetoric in Papyri, Heidelberger althistorische Beiträge und epigraphische Studien (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, forthcoming 2015)

“Tradition, Precedent, and Power in Roman Egypt” in L. Reinfandt and S. Tost (eds.), Official Epistolography and the Language(s) of Power, Papyrologica Vindobonensia (Vienna: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, forthcoming 2015)

“Reading the Citizenship Papyrus (P.Giss. 40)” for C. Ando and J.-F. Schaub, Citizenship and Empire in Europe, 200-1900 (revised version submitted)

“Crimes against the Person” for P. Du Plessis, K. Tuori, and C. Ando (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society (revised version submitted)

“Harm and Redress” (lead author) for C. Humfress, D. Ibbetson, and P. Olivelle, The Cambridge Comparative History of Ancient Law (initial version submitted)
· Contributing author: “Law and the State”; “Legal Institutions”; “Contracts”

“Criminals in Roman Egypt,” for A. Lanni (ed.), A Cultural History of Crime, vol 1: Antiquity, Bloomsbury Academic Press

“Tacitus on Labeo on iniuria

Law and the Boundaries of Authority in the Roman World


Aldo Schiavone, The Invention of Law in the West. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.6.16

Detlef Liebs, Summoned to the Roman Courts: Famous Trials from Antiquity. Classical Review 63 (2013): 534-36

John Noel Dillon, The Justice of Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control. Law and History Review 32 (2014): 717-19

John Bauschatz, Law and Enforcement in Ptolemaic Egypt. Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists (submitted)

WVU Research
Faculty Resources
office of information technology
Human Resources
Eberly Strategic Plan
A State of Minds