Ancient History at UCSB


The Acts of...



Across two departments, History and Classics, UCSB has no fewer than five professors who identify their primary research area as Greek or Roman History. Greek History of the Archaic and Classical periods is covered by Profs. Jordan and Lee, whose specializations include history of land and naval warfare, historiography, archaeology and epigraphy, ethnic identity and religion. Prof. Morstein-Marx focuses on Republican Rome and the Early Principate, with occasional forays into Hellenistic history; special interests include historiography, oratory, political theory, Roman topography and monuments. Rome of the later Empire and Late Antiquity are represented by Profs. Drake and Digeser respectively, emphasizing paganism, Christianity, and the development of political and religious institutions.


In addition, several scholars in these two departments and others work and teach in closely related areas: Roman society (Shelton, Classics), Roman religion and Latin historiography (Hahn, Classics), Early Christianity (Thomas, Religious Studies), Greek and Roman art and archaeology (Erickson and Yegül, Classics and History of Art and Architecture). Also, the History Department has a strong Medieval program that pairs well with its strengths in Late Antiquity.


Profs. Erickson, Lee and Yegül are actively associated with excavations in Greece and Turkey, and through them certain opportunities of field or collection work may arise. Funds are available from the Argyropoulos Foundation for Hellenic Studies for study-travel in Greece.


The Faculty


Degree Programs


There are two graduate programs in Ancient History at UCSB, both of which award the M.A. and Ph.D. Both programs boast a low faculty-student ratio, extensive opportunities for faculty-student interaction, and a cohesive graduate student community.


Department of Classics

Department of History

MA and PhD in Classics with Emphasis in Ancient History

This interdisciplinary degree involves significant coursework in the History Department as well as Classics, and is designed for those students who wish to emphasize ancient history in their training, but without sacrificing the classical languages. The course of study combines a rigorous training in Greek, Latin, and Classical literature with research seminars in ancient history.

MA/PhD in History, Ancient Mediterranean World  

This program trains students in the professional practice of ancient history. The program involves comprehensive training in historical methods and the handling of evidence, along with rigorous language preparation. Specific course requirements are kept to a minimum in order to allow students maximum flexibility in designing (in consultation with their advisors) the course of study that best suits their needs and interests. Particular emphasis is given to making theoretical and comparative connections with other fields of history.




UCSB Ancient Historians and Associated Faculty



Elizabeth De Palma Digeser (Ph.D. Santa Barbara): Late Antiquity; late Roman philosophy and theology; late Roman law; paganism and Christianity; identity.


Harold A. Drake (Ph.D. Wisconsin): Roman empire; late antiquity; Christian-pagan relations.


Brice Erickson (Ph.D. University of Texas): Greek archaeology; Crete; ceramic studies.


Frances V. Hickson-Hahn (Ph.D. University of North Carolina): Roman religion; Livy.


John W.I. Lee (Ph.D. Cornell): Classical and Hellenistic Greece ; social and cultural history of warfare; Xenophon; Greek archaeology and epigraphy; ethnicity and identity.


Robert Morstein-Marx (Ph.D. Berkeley) Roman Republic and Early Empire; Hellenistic Greece; Roman historians and oratory; Roman topography and monuments; epigraphy.


Jo-Ann Shelton (Ph.D. Berkeley): Roman society; Roman imperial literature.


Tony Barbieri-Low (Ph.D., Princeton University, 2001): Ancient China, Chinese Archaeology, and Epigraphy


Christine M. Thomas (Ph.D. Harvard): Religions of the Roman Empire; early Christianity; Early Church history; archaeology of religions; oral and written modes in antiquity.


Fikret K. Yegül (Ph.D. Harvard): Greek and Roman art; architectural history.


Faculty in Related Fields



Stuart Smith (archaeology of Egypt and Nubia, culture contact and imperialism, ceramic analysis)

Phillip Walker (physical anthropology, Indo-European ethnography)


Apostolos Athanassakis (Greek poetry, classical linguistics)

Francis Dunn (Greek drama, Latin poetry, narrative theory)

Dorota Dutsch (Roman Comedy, Greek New Comedy, women in the ancient world)

Sara Lindheim (Latin poetry, critical and feminist theory)

Robert Renehan (Greek and Latin literature, textual criticism, Greek philosophy and medicine)



Voula Tsouna (ancient philosophy)

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