Dr Hannah Cornwell

Dr Hannah Cornwell

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Lecturer in Ancient History

Contact details

Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Roman political and social history of the Republic and Early Empire, focusing on Imperialism, peace, and diplomacy.

Feedback and office hours

Mondays 14:00-16:00


  • BA in Literae Humaniores, University of Oxford.
  • MPhil in Ancient Greek and/or Roman History, University of Oxford.
  • DPhil in Ancient History, University of Oxford.


I completed my undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate at Oxford, where I also spent five years as a College Lecturer. As well as teaching I have also been an awardee of the British School at Rome and a research fellow at the University of Warwick, as part of an ARHC-funded project documenting the Ashmolean Museum’s collection of Latin inscriptions. In 2016 I began a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Classical Studies, which I have now transferred to Birmingham.


I have taught a wide range of Roman history and archaeology courses to undergraduates. 

My current courses include:

  • First year Project: ‘Augustus: The Man, the Myth and the Making of History’
  • Third year Seminar: ‘Rome, Social Conflict, and Civil War’
  • First year Module: Introduction to Greek and Roman History
  • Widening Participation Module: Ancient Worlds

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome proposals for supervision in any aspect of Roman History, especially political aspects of the Roman Republic and Early Principate, Imperial ideology, International Relations and diplomacy, and interdisciplinary approaches to history and material culture.


My research interests focus on socio-political history of the Roman Republic and Empire, with a particular interest in the nature of Roman imperialism, and Roman attitudes towards their position as a political power in the Mediterranean.

My first book, Pax and the Politics of Peace (OUP, 2017), examines the two generations that spanned the collapse of the Republic and the Augustan period in order to understand how the concept of pax Romana, as a central ideology of Roman imperialism, evolved. I argue for the integral nature of pax in understanding the changing dynamics of the Roman state through civil war to the creation of a new political system and world-rule. Roman discourses on peace were part of the wider discussion on the way in which Rome conceptualized her Empire and ideas of imperialism. I have also published papers on the role of peace-makers and heralds in Roman literary accounts of conflict in terms of what this reveals about Roman attitudes to war and peace, and have several papers forthcoming on the language of peace in civil war, and the construction of political opponents as enemies in civil war. 

Besides a specific focus on the language of peace, I have also published on the reactions to Roman imperialism, examining the geo-political situation of the western Alps under Augustus, and the elite response to imperial power. 

I currently hold a three year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, which examines the production of space as a means of understanding diplomacy as a social practice in the Roman world. This study focuses on the architectural and urban spaces of the city of Rome as a site of diplomatic practice, in order the examine the social interactions through which Rome, as a political entity, communicated and maintained her position in the Mediterranean.

Other activities



  • Pax and the Politics of Peace: Republic to Principate. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2017).

Pre-reviewed journal articles:

  • ‘The King who would be Prefect: Authority and Identity in the Cottian Alps’, Journal of Roman Studies 105, 41-72 (2015).

Edited Volumes:

  • A Place for Peace in a Time of War’, in A. Powell and A. Burnett (eds.) Coinage of the Roman Revolution Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales (forthcoming).
  • 'The construction of one’s enemies in civil war', in R. Westall (ed.) A House Divided:   Trinity College Dubline: Hermanthea (forthcoming).
  • Routes of Resistance to Integration: Alpine Reactions to Roman Power’ in R. Varga and V. Rusu-Bolindeț (eds.) Official Power and Local Elites in the Roman Provinces, London: Routledge (2017), ch. 4.
  • ‘Negotiating ideas of peace in the civil conflicts of the late Republic’ in E. P. Moloney and M. S. Williams (eds.) Peace and Reconciliation in the Classical World, London: Routledge (2017), ch. 6. 
  •  ‘The Role of The Role of the Peace-Makers (caduceatores) in Roman attitudes to War and Peace’, in G. Lee, H. Whittaker and G. Wrightson (eds.) Ancient Warfare: Introducing Current Research, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2015), 331-348.

Co-authored papers

  • H. Cornwell and J. Masséglia, ‘Signs, Symbols and Spaces in the Ashmolean Latin Collection’, in A. E. Felle and A. Rocco (eds.) Epigraphy and the Borders: Proceedings of the VI EAGLE International Meeting (24-25 September 2015, Bari, Italy), Oxford, Archaeopress Publishing (2016), 131-140.