Classics, Race, and Edwardian Anxieties about Empire

Emma Reisz

in Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199584727
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595301 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Classics, Race, and Edwardian Anxieties about Empire

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This chapter examines links between British fears about the decline of empire during the Edwardian period, and Edwardian scholarship examining the collapse of classical empires. In a climate of rising anti‐imperial nationalism, some Edwardian imperial apologists considered the British Empire to be weak compared to its ancient counterparts, and attributed this vulnerability to the multi‐racial character of modern imperialism. However, some Edwardian classical scholars argued that race and racial difference had been equally significant in the decline of ancient empires, invoking supposed racial differences in antiquity to explain the decline of both Greece and Rome. Examples examined in detail in this chapter include Cromer's Ancient and modern imperialism and Goetze's Foreign Office murals. The chapter also contains an extended discussion of W. H. S. Jones's studies of malaria in ancient Greece and Rome, including consideration of the role played in Jones's research by Ronald Ross and other experts in tropical medicine.

Keywords: British Empire; classics; imperial decline; Edwardian; Goetze; Cromer; W. H. S. Jones; Ronald Ross; malaria; race; reception

Chapter.  6542 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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