Purcell NicholasPosition

Camden Professor of Ancient History

Qualifications (e.g. BA (Exeter), DPhil (Oxford)...)

MA Oxford; FBA

Academic Background and Previous Positions

Formerly Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History, St John's College

Graduate teaching areas

All aspects of Roman history, and wider themes in ancient social and economic history, especially in Mediterranean contexts

Research Interests

Social, cultural, and economic history of the city of Rome in antiquity, and of ancient Italy; long-term history of the Mediterranean basin. The largest project to date was on that theme: The Corrupting Sea; a study of Mediterranean history, Oxford 2000 (jointly with Peregrine Horden).

In 2012 he gave the Sather Classical Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, on buying and selling in the Greek and Roman worlds, currently being prepared for publication.

Currently working on The Kingdom of the Capitol, a monograph on the historical importance of the Capitol in ancient Rome.


(Jointly with Peregrine Horden) The Corrupting Sea; a study of Mediterranean history,  Oxford 2000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ‘Rivers and the geography of power’, Pallas 90 (2012), 373-87
‘Beach, tide and backwash: the place of maritime histories’, in P.N. Miller, ed., The Sea: Thalassography and Historiography, Ann Arbor 2013, 84-108
‘”Romans, Play On!” Rome, city of the Games’, in P. Erdkamp, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rome, ch. 24, Cambridge 2013, 441-458.
‘On the significance of east and west in today's “Hellenistic” history: reflections on symmetrical worlds, reflecting through world symmetries’, in J.R.W. Prag and J.C. Quinn, edd., The Hellenistic West: rethinking the ancient Mediterranean, Cambridge 2013, 367-90
‘The ancient Mediterranean’, in P. Horden and S. Kinoshita, edd., A Companion to Mediterranean history, Malden 2014, 59-76                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ‘Unnecessary dependences: illustrating circulation in pre-modern large-scale history’, in M. Frenz and C. Wickham, edd., The prospect of global history, Oxford UP 2016, 65-79.
‘A second Nature? The riverine landscapes of the Romans’, in T. Franconi, ed., Fluvial landscapes of the Roman world, Portsmouth RI 2017, 159-164.
‘Such is Rome: Strabo on the imperial metropolis’, in D. Dueck, ed., The Routledge Companion to Strabo, London 2017, 22-34.
‘The non-polis and the game of mirrors: Rome and Carthage in ancient and modern comparison’, in D. Feeney, ed., Classical Philology (112.3, July 2017), 332-49.
‘Mountain margins: power, resources and environmental inequality in Antiquity’, in S. von Reden, ed., Économie et inégalité: ressources, échanges et pouvoir dans l’Antiquité classique, Entretiens de la Fondation Hardt 63, 2017, Geneva, 75-114.
‘Mediterranean perspectives on departure, displacement, and home’, in G. Biffis and S. Hornblower, edd., The returning hero: Nostoi and traditions of Mediterranean settlement, Oxford 2018, 257-86.

Email address

[email protected]




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