Alternate Author Name(s)

William Lester Reiter

Document Type


Date of Award



Lucius Aemilius Paullus (approximately 229 B.C.-160 B.C.), Rome, History, Republic, 264-30 B.C.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Thomas W. Africa

Second Advisor

Robin S. Oggins

Third Advisor

Michael C. Mittelstadt


The present study is largely historiographical in nature, its principal aim being a better understanding of Lucius Aemilius Paullus, consul of 182 and 168, and one of the crucial figures in Rome’s conquest of the Mediterranean. Paullus is most often represented as a man of pristine virtue and philhellenic persuasion, and his resulting image has clouded both the man and the events in which he was involved. In order to obtain a less biased view, careful consideration is given to the treatment of Paullus as found in Polybius, Livy, and Plutarch; and, finally, the attempt is made to provide a more objective view of Paullus and his part in history.

Every aspect of Polybius’ complex portrayal of his patron, Paullus, is examined with special emphasis given to the Polybian concepts of the statesman and the conqueror, and how Paullus complements these notions. In the case of Livy, Paullus is seen as a man schooled in the mos maiorum. The entire last extant pentad is analyzed using Livy’s dramatic construct of a patrician-plebeian confrontation as a basis; Livy’s Paullus is molded to this motif. Finally, Plutarch’s Life of Paullus is viewed as an effort to use the image of Paullus for didactic purposes. History has little meaning for Plutarch, and the moralist’s Paullus is the epitome of right and proper virtue.

The study concludes that each author employed the figure of Paullus according to his philosophy and biases. Paullus is better seen as a competent general and politician who never allowed cultural tastes to intrude into foreign affairs, and who was in concert with senatorial policies toward Greece, Macedon, and the East.