'What is History?', classical historiography, and the Roman world

In the latest of our recommendations series for undergraduate History degree applicants, we spoke to Dr Hannah Cornwell, Lecturer in Ancient History.


Carr, E. H. 2018. What is History?, London.   If you are new to history as a discipline (and even if you are not) this collection of essays (based on a series of lectures Carr delivered in Cambridge in 1961) is a great way into historical theory and the relationship between historical facts and interpretations.

Morley, N. 2004. Theories, Models and Concepts in Ancient History (Approaching the Ancient World), London.  An accessible guide to how to use theory to interpret historical evidence in the context of ancient history. Morley surveys a wide range of ancient historical topics including society and economy, the environment, gender and sexuality, and myth and rationality.

Pitcher, L. 2010. Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography, London.  A great introduction to the historiography (i.e. the writing of history) in the ancient world. This is an accessible study for thinking about the relationship between theory and practice in the ancient historians: how we can approach ancient texts as sources of history (or historical data) but also view them as works of literature at the same time.

Dench, E. 2018. Empire and Political Cultures in the Roman World, Cambridge. A new and highly accessible examination of how the Roman empire worked and was experienced by diverse groups and peoples. Dench outlines a new module for thinking about empire and the interaction and impact of Roman power on local articulations of political identities.

Three book covers for 'Writing Ancient History', 'Empire and Political Cultures in the Ancient World' and 'What is history?'