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Dr Myles Lavan

Senior lecturer in Ancient History
Director of Postgraduate Studies

mpl2@st-andrews.ac.uk

Phone: 01334 462610

Room: C22

Research profile

Research Interests

  • Political, social and cultural history of the Roman empire
  • Roman citizenship
  • Ideology and language of empire
  • Quantitative methods in ancient history
  • Roman historiography, especially Tacitus
  • Comparative history of ancient empires

Current research projects

My main focus has been Quantifying Enfranchisement, a project to quantify the spread of Roman citizenship from Augustus to Caracalla. The project centres on a novel, probabilistic approach to uncertainty in historical estimation. The initial phase was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2014-15). I have published the methodology and the preliminary results in an article in P&P 2016

I am collaborating with Clifford Ando on Roman Citizenship from Hadrian to Severus Alexander, a British Academy/Leverhulme-funded project (2016-18) that will revisit the conventional narrative that Roman citizenship had already been evacuated of most of its significance before Caracalla’s universal grant, in the light of my new perspective on the limited scale of enfranchisement before 212. 

I am also working to develop the methodological implications of my analysis of enfranchisement in the context of Probabilistic approaches to uncertainty in pre-modern history, a project supported by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2017-2019) which aims to demonstrate the wider potential of the probabilistic approach by deploying it to several new problems.

Longer-term projects include a collaboration with Christopher Whitton on a ‘Green and Yellow’ commentary on Tacitus Annals 14 for Cambridge University Press and work to expand on Slaves to Rome (Cambridge, 2013) with a number of article-length studies further exploring how the Roman elite conceptualized their imperial project.

Research Students

I would be very happy to supervise research projects in the areas listed above and on other aspects of Roman history and Latin literature. I have supervised PhD dissertations on:

  • Images of foreign peoples and place in Roman art
  • Writing the lives of Roman emperors
  • Roman land division
  • Actor Network Theory analysis of Early Roman Iberia
  • The Triumviral aristocracy

Publications

Cosmopolitanism and empire: Universal rulers, local elites and cultural integration in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean
Lavan, M. P. (ed.), Weisweiler, J. (ed.) & Payne, R. (ed.) 2016 Oxford University Press. (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)
Research output: Book/ReportBook

Slaves to Rome: Paradigms of Empire in Roman Culture
Lavan, M. P. 2013 Cambridge University Press. (Cambridge Classical Studies)
Research output: Book/ReportBook

 

Writing revolt in the early Roman empire
Lavan, M. P. 2016 The Routledge History Handbook of Medieval Revolt. Firnhaber-Baker, J. & Schoenaers, D. (eds.). Routledge
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

‘Father of the whole human race’: Ecumenical language and the limits of elite integration in the early Roman empire
Lavan, M. P. 2016 Cosmopolitanism and empire: Universal rulers, local elites and cultural integration in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Lavan, M., Payne, R. & Weisweiler, J. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 153-68 (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Cosmopolitan politics: The assimilation and subordination of elite cultures
Lavan, M. P., Weisweiler, J. & Payne, R. 2016 Cosmopolitanism and empire: Universal rulers, local elites and cultural integration in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Lavan, M., Payne, R. & Weisweiler, J. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 1-28
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

The empire in the age of Nero
Lavan, M. P. 2013 A Companion to the Neronian Age. Buckley, E. & Dinter, M. (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell, p. 65-82 (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World)
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

 

The spread of Roman citizenship 14-212 CE: quantification in the face of high uncertainty
Lavan, M. P. 1 Feb 2016 In : Past & Present. 230, 1, p. 3-46
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Florus and Dio on the enslavement of the provinces
Lavan, M. P. Dec 2013 In : Cambridge Classical Journal. 59, p. 125-151
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Slavishness in Britain and Rome in Tacitus’ Agricola
Lavan, M. P. May 2011 In : The Classical Quarterly. 61, 1, p. 294-305
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Slaves to Rome: The rhetoric of mastery in Titus’ Speech to the Jews (Bellum Judaicum 6.238-50)
Lavan, M. P. 2008 In : Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature. 36, 1, p. 25-38 14 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

 

The New Green-and-Yellow of Agricola (on A. J. Woodman, ed., with Christina S. Kraus, Tacitus: Agricola)
Lavan, M. P. 2015 In : Histos. 9, p. xxxix-xlv
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Roman death
Lavan, M. P. Mar 2014 In : Classical Review. 64, 1, p. 231 232 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Keith Bradley and Paul Cartledge. The Cambridge world history of slavery. Volume 1. The ancient Mediterranean world, Cambridge, 2011.
Lavan, M. P. 2014 In : Journal of Roman Studies. 104, p. 289-90
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Kyle Harper. Slavery in the Late Roman world, AD 275-425. Cambridge 2011
Lavan, M. P. 2013 In : Classical Review. 63, p. 552-5
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Carlos Noreña. Imperial Ideals in the Roman West: Representation, Circulation, Power. Cambridge 2011.
Lavan, M. P. 2013 In : Classical Review. 63, p. 214-16
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Eric Adler. Valorizing the Barbarians: Enemy Speeches in Roman Historiography. Austin 2011
Lavan, M. P. 13 Jan 2012 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Josaiah Osgood, Claudius Caesar: Image and power in the early Roman empire. Cambridge. 2010.
Lavan, M. P. 2012 In : Journal of Roman Studies. 102, p. 319-20
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Robin Nadeau, Les manières de table dans le monde gréco-romain. Rennes/Tours 2010
Lavan, M. P. 2012 In : Classical Review. 62
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Dylan Sailor. Writing and empire in Tacitus. Cambridge 2008
Lavan, M. P. 2011 In : Journal of Roman Studies. 101, p. 296-7
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Philp Parker. The empire stops here. London 2009
Lavan, M. P. 12 Jan 2010 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Eric Gunderson. Nox Philologiae: Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Roman Library. Madison Wis., 2009.
Lavan, M. P. 2010 In : Phoenix. Journal of the Classical Association of Canada. 64, p. 451-3
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Aron Sjöblad. Metaphors Cicero Lived By. Lund, 2009
Lavan, M. P. 2010 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2010
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Maurice Sartre. Histoires Greques: Snapshots from Antiquity. Harvard, 2009
Lavan, M. P. 1 May 2009 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

 

For further information on publications, please view my profile on the university's research portal.

Teaching

  • Honours modules on Ancient Empires, The Culture of Roman Imperialism, Roman Slavery and Death in Roman Culture 
  • Contributions to team-taught Honours Latin modules on Latin Letters and Latin Historical Writing. 
  • Contributions to the team-taught sub-Honours programmes in Ancient History and Latin Literature.

Academic career

My first degree was a BA in Classics from Trinity College Dublin (1995-9). I then went astray for five years – studying international politics and economics at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (1999-2001) and working as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co (2001-4) – before eventually seeing the error of my ways. I returned to Classics and completed an MPhil and PhD at Cambridge (2004-8). I was a Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (2008-10) and came to St Andrews in September 2010.

I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Roman Studies (2014-) and the Council of the Classical Association of Scotland (2013-).

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