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Ancient World Studies

Dr Alan Ross 

Lecturer in Roman History, Ancient History project team; Admissions Team

Dr Alan Ross's photo

I study the political history and literature of the later Roman empire. My work focuses mostly on secular or ‘pagan’ historiography, epistolography, and epideictic oratory, particularly in the fourth century AD. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Classics at University College London and my master’s and doctorate at the University of Oxford. Before arriving at Southampton, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in Durban, South Africa, during which time I also held a visiting fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, and I subsequently held a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship in the School of Classics at University College Dublin.

Research interests

I am a Classicist and Ancient Historian interested in the intersection of literary and historical studies in Late Antiquity. My first book (OUP, 2016) focused on the greatest historian of Late Antiquity, Ammianus Marcellinus, whose Res Gestae offer the most detailed narrative account of the third quarter of the fourth century AD, and particularly of the reign of the last pagan emperor, Julian (often called 'the Apostate'). Using narratological and intertextual approaches, I investigated how Ammianus reworked traditional aspects of the genre of classical historiography to produce a narrative that subtly but forcefully engaged with and revised existing, contemporary responses to Julian's reign.

I have a wider interest in the generic interaction of texts in Late Antiquity, particularly between historiography and satire, hagiography, the novel, and epideictic oratory, on which I have published a number of articles. 

I am currently working on a book project that studies Greek political rhetoric in the mid-fourth century, and specifically a corpus of seven speeches of praise (panegyrics) addressed to Julian's predecessor, the emperor Constantius II. These offer an exciting opportunity to examine how three prominent ‘pagan’ authors created a political discourse on one of the first Christian emperors, via a generic form (panegyric) that was both traditional and open to creative innovation.

I am happy to supervise doctoral students on topics involving Greek and Latin literature of the Imperial period, or the political or intellectual history of the Later Roman Empire. I am also Southampton’s Subject Lead in Classics and Ancient History for the AHRC’s South West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, and would be delighted to answer questions about potential applications for funding in any ancient topic.

 

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Articles

Books

Book Chapters

HIST1164- Consuls, dictators and emperors: Roman politics in the first century BC

HIST2111- Roman Emperors and Imperial Lives: between biography and history, praise and blame (not available 2017/18)

HIST 3227- Emperor Julian and the Last Pagans of Rome Part 1, Julian: hero and apostate

HIST3228- Emperor Julian and the Last Pagans of Rome Part 2, The final pagan generation

HIST6113- The conversion of the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews and Christians

Dr Alan Ross
Building 65 Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2051

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