Clifford Ando

Clifford Ando
  • University of Chicago
  • David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, History, and Law
  • Residential Fellow (2014-2015)
  • "Roman Social Imaginaries"

Clifford Ando is David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, History, and Law at the University of Chicago. From 2011-2016, Professor Ando also served as Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Religions. He is a Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and World Languages at the University of South Africa. He specializes in the history of government, law, and religion in the Roman empire.

He is the author of several monographs: Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire (2000; corrected paperback 2013); The Matter of the Gods (2008); Law, Language and Empire in the Roman Tradition (2011; a French translation, under the title L'Empire et le Droit. Invention juridique et réalités politiques à Rome, appeared in 2013); Imperial Rome AD 193 to 284. The Critical Century (2012). After his fellowship at NDIAS, Ando published a monograph based on the research he conducted in residence, Roman Social Imaginaries. Language and Thought in Contexts of Empire (2015), as well as a volume on religion in the ancient world, Religion et gouvernement dans l'Empire romain (2016). Among editorial projects, he has published, together with Seth Richardson, a collection entitled Ancient States and Infrastructural Power. Europe, Asia and America (2017).

Professor Ando’s first monograph won the American Philological Association’s Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. He is also the recipient of a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He has been a Junior Fellow and a Frederick Burkhardt Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies; a Fellow of the Huntington Library; a New Directions Fellow of the Mellon Foundation; a Fellow of the Max Weber Kolleg of the University of Erfurt; and a Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has held visiting positions in the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford; the Collège de France; the École Pratique des Hautes Études; the Université Panthéon-Assas; the University of Münster; the American Academy in Rome; and the University of British Columbia.

Professor Ando is editor of the series Empire and After, associate editor of Bryn Mawr Classical Review, and serves on the editorial boards of Classical PhilologyCritical Analysis of Law, and the Oxford Series in the History and Theory of International Law.


  • Roman Social Imaginaries: Language and Thought in the Context of Empire

    University of Toronto Press, 2015

    Clifford Ando

    Ando Social Imaginaries Crop

    In an expansion of his 2012 Robson Classical Lectures, Clifford Ando examines the connection between the nature of the Latin language and Roman thinking about law, society, and empire. Drawing on innovative work in cognitive linguistics and anthropology, Roman Social Imaginaries considers how metaphor, metonymy, analogy, and ideation helped create the structures of thought that shaped the Roman Empire as a political construct.

    Beginning in early Roman history, Ando shows how the expansion of the empire into new territories led the Romans to develop and exploit Latin’s extraordinary capacity for abstraction. In this way, laws and institutions invented for use in a single Mediterranean city-state could be deployed across a remarkably heterogeneous empire.

    Lucid, insightful, and innovative, the essays in Roman Social Imaginaries constitute some of today’s most original thinking about the power of language in the ancient world.

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