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 numerous papers on the Roman civil wars, from the framing of enemies through language, to internal negotiation and diplomacy during civil conflict and the development of imperial values and iconography. I am also currently co-editing a volume on ‘Rediscovering the Roman Civil Wars of 49-30 BCE: New Approaches, New Evidence’, and am part of a German Research Network, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which explores the topic of ‘Internal War: Society, Social Order and Political Conflict in Antiquity’ (April 2018-March 2021).
Besides a specific focus on the language of peace and civil war, 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 held a three year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2016-2018), which examined 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 to examine the social interactions through which Rome, as a political entity, communicated and maintained its position in the Mediterranean.
I have been invited to present on my research a number of International conferences and research seminars, as well as public lectures and events, including the closing ceremony of the 2016 Being Human Festival at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. I am also contributed to a number of episodes for a BBC Radio 4 history programme (When Greeks Flew Kites) and contributed to the BBC History Magazine.