John Pocock Compares the Roman and British Empires

John G.A. Pocock, Johns Hopkins University, gives the last Washington History Seminar for the semester on Monday, December 6 at 4:00 pm at the Wilson Center.

The Roman Empire was a Mediterranean phenomenon, the result of one city state’s conquests over other city states. Its central problem was the organization of military power in relation to political legitimacy. It was neither an empire of settlement nor an empire over peoples of alien and unassimilable culture. The British Empire was oceanic and commercial. By the end of the War of American Independence it had ceased to be an empire of settlement, but had acquired in India an empire over peoples not assimilable to European or British culture. The contrast has enduring relevance to the problems of today.

Click here for a video of his presentation.

John Pocock is Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. His books include The Machiavellian Moment (1975), The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History (2005), and Political Thought and History: Essays on Theory and Method (2009). He is completing a multi-volume study of Edward Gibbon. He is a recipient of the American Historical Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction.

This will be the last of the Washington History Seminars for the semester.  The series will return again on Mondays starting on January 24, 2011 with Sheldon Garon.

Reservations are requested because of limited seating. To reserve a seat at the seminar, contact Miriam Cunningham at 202-544-2422 ext 103 or email. The seminar takes place at the Wilson Center, located in the Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center (an initiative of the American Historical Association) and the Wilson Center. Wm. Roger Louis and Christian Ostermann are the co-directors. The seminar meets weekly during the academic year, January to May and September to December. Click here for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as videos and podcasts. The seminar is grateful for the support given by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.