Ben Salisbury

Ben Salisbury

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

Title of thesis: Before Public Opinion: The Role of Tribunes of the Plebs in Creating, Manipulating, and Responding to Popular Sentiment, c. 70 - 49 BC

Supervisor: Dr Henriette van der Blom and Dr Hannah Cornwell 

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Ancient History, First Class – University of Manchester
  • MA Classics and Ancient History, Distinction – University of Manchester

Biography

  • I began an undergraduate degree in Ancient History at the University of Manchester in 2013 and graduated (First Class) in 2016. I remained at the University of Manchester for my Masters degree in Classics & Ancient History (Distinction), which I began in 2016 and finished in 2017. From September 2017 - January 2018, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the same institution, teaching on the level 3 module: The Early Roman Republic, alongside my supervisor Dr Peter Morton. I received my Midlands3Cities DTP award in the summer of 2018 and took up my place at the University of Birmingham that autumn. Over the first two years of my doctoral studies, I have published, taught, and spoken on a range of topics within the scope of late Republican law and politics. At the beginning of 2020, I spent two months in Spain working with Dr Cristina Rosillo-López and Prof. Francisco Pina Polo developing my research on tribunician engagements with public opinion. I continue to volunteer as Special Editions Editor for the New Classicists journal; in which capacity I have overseen the publication of two edited collections. I am now in the third and final year of my PhD and am preparing to submit my thesis before the end of 2021.

Teaching

  • Seminar Leader in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology on the Level 2 Module, Age of Cicero

Doctoral research

PhD title
Before Public Opinion: The Role of Tribunes of the Plebs in Creating, Manipulating, and Responding to Popular Sentiment, c. 70 - 49 BC
Supervisors
Dr Henriette van der Blom and Dr Hannah Cornwell
Course
Classics and Ancient History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

Research

I investigate the relationship between politicians – specifically the tribunes of the plebs – and public opinion at Rome in the late Roman Republic (c. 70 -49 BC). My thesis offers and uses definitions of a Roman public sphere and a Roman public opinion to contextualize interactions between tribunes of the plebs and the Roman populace. I examine how the unique position of the tribunate relative to the spatial, temporal, sex-, wealth-, age, and status-based limitations on communication at Rome afforded tribunes of the plebs the best platform for meaningful engagements with manifestations of collective sentiments. In short, I research how people living at Rome were able to talk to one another, how their conversations functioned as public opinions, how these public opinions eventually reached the ears of Rome’s governing politicians, and how these politicians engaged with this whole process.

Other activities

Research placements

  • Visiting Research Student (AHRC M4C Research Placement) - January 2020
  • Universidad Pablo de Olavide; Universidad de Zaragoza. Project Title: Tribunes of the Plebs and Public Engagements with Public Opinion. Hosts: Dr Cristina Rosillo-López; Prof. Francisco Pina Polo - March 2020

Research Grants

  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Student Development Fund to cover the course fees of attending University College London’s summer school in Homeric Greek (August 2020).
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Student Development Fund to cover the course fees and accommodation costs of participating in the ‘City of Rome Postgraduate Course’ at the British School at Rome, Rome (April – May 2020). 
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Cohort Development Fund to organise and host the conference Cicero Away Day, University of Birmingham, (June 2020). 
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Student Development Fund to cover my travel, accommodation and stipend extension while undertaking the role of visiting research student at Universidad Pablo de Olavide and Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain (January – March 2020).
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Research Training Support Grant to attend and present at the conference, Spaces of Roman Constitutionalism, University of Helsinki (September 2019).
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Cohort Development Fund to organise and host the conference Meaning, Memory, and Movement: Ancient and Medieval Spaces, University of Birmingham, (November 2019).
  • Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership Student Development Fund to attend and present at the conference, The Popular In Classical Antiquity, University of Pennsylvania (April 2019). 
  • The Mrs Anderson Travel Fund (University of Manchester) for attending two conferences (Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History) in London (Kings College London & Birkbeck University of London). 
  • The Classical Association Small Conference Grant for the conference Cicero Away Day 2020, University of Birmingham, (June 2020).

Papers

2021
  • (Accepted) Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History, University of Exeter, United Kingdom (20th-21st March 2020). Paper title: ‘They Said it Changes When the sun Goes Down: Temporal Limitations on Communication in the Roman Public Sphere’.
  • (Invited) Departmental Postgraduate work-in-progress series, Rosetta Forum, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (17th March 2020). Paper title: TBC.
  • (Invited) Departmental Research Seminar Series, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain (17th February 2020). Paper title: Tribunes of the plebs and public opinion in the Late Roman Republic’. 
  • (2019), Spaces of Roman Constitutionalism, University of Helsinki, (26th-28th September 2019), Part of the ERC funded ‘Law, Governance, and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition’ project – ‘Defining a Public Sphere at Rome in the Late Roman Republic’. 
  • (2019), 'Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic: Public Spirit, Emotional Appeals, and Collective Decision Making', Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History, Cambridge.
  • (2019), 'Reconsidering the Language of Popular Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic', The Popular in Classical Antiquity, University of Pennsylvania. 
  • (2018), 'For the Many (and the Few): The place of the lex Gabinia de bello piratico and the lex Manilia in studying popular sentiment', Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History, Birkbeck University of London.

2020

  • ‘Tribunes of the Plebs and Public Opinion in the Late Republic’, Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures: Humanities Lab, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, (13th November). 
  •  ‘ante primam lucem: tribunes of the plebs and the boundaries of public discourse in the later Roman Republic’, Annual CAHA Colloquium, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. (26th June). 
  • ‘Tribunes of the plebs and public opinion in the Late Roman Republic’. Departmental Research Seminar Series, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain, (17th February). (Invited) 

2019

  • ‘Defining a Public Sphere at Rome in the Late Roman Republic’, Spaces of Roman Constitutionalism, University of Helsinki, Finland (26th-28th September), (an international conference for doctoral candidates, early career researchers and senior scholars), Part of the ERC funded ‘Law, Governance, and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition’ project. 
  • ‘Reconsidering the Language of Popular Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic’, The Popular in Classical Antiquity Graduate Student Conference, University of Pennsylvania, United States (26th April). 
  • ‘Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic: Public Spirit, Emotional Appeals, and Collective Decision Making’, Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History, Cambridge University, United Kingdom (16th March). 

2018

‘For the Many (and the Few): The place of the lex Gabinia de bello piratico and the lex Manilia in studying popular sentiment’, Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom (17th March).

 

Publications

  • ‘The Status of Plebiscita 494-287 BC’, New Classicists, 1, pp. 41-58 (2019)
  • (Forthcoming) Editor, ‘Selected Papers from the ‘Meaning, Memory and Movement: Ancient and Medieval Spaces’ conference, New Classicists, Vol. 4 (2021)
  • Editor, ‘Selected Papers from the ‘Popular in Classical Antiquity’ conference, New Classicists, Vol. 2 (2020)