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Prof. Thomas Harrison

Professor of Ancient History
Equality and diversity officer

tehh@st-andrews.ac.uk

Phone: 01334 462615

Research profile

Research Interests

  • Greek history, especially archaic and classical 
  • The Achaemenid Persian empire
  • Greek historiography, especially Herodotus, Thucydides and the Alexander historians
  • Greek contact with, and Greek representations of, foreign peoples, especially Persians, Egyptians and Thracians
  • The history of the study of Classics and of the Ancient Near East from the nineteenth century 
  • Ancient imperialism; a new obsession is ancient slavery and its wider impact on Greek culture

Current research projects

I have two main current projects: the first, a book for a wider audience on Herodotus and his reception (especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries); the second, a study of the role of belief in ancient Greek religion.

Research Students

  • I have supervised doctorates on a wide range of topics in Greek history and classical receptions, including Greek ethnography, Athenian slavery, Herodotus’ use of his written sources, Greek atheism, the reception of Alexander the Great, and the religious stance of modern scholars on ancient Greek religion.  
  • I am currently supervising PhDs on the reception of Herodotus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the role of Classics in the inter-war period in Britain, the Persian background to Alexander the Great, and the relationship between Achaemenid history and the Iranian epic tradition. 
  • I am happy to supervise in any of the areas listed above under ‘research interests’ and am always open to discussing possible topics and approaches. 

 

 

Publications

Interpreting Herodotus
Harrison, T. E. H. & Irwin, E. (ed.) 22 Mar 2018 Oxford: OXFORD UNIV PRESS. 448 p.
Research output: ResearchAnthology

Polybius and his World.: Essays in Memory of F.W. Walbank
Gibson, B. & Harrison, T. 2013 Oxford: Oxford University Press. 432 p.
Research output: ResearchBook

Writing Ancient Persia
Harrison, T. 2011 London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Research output: ResearchBook

Empires of the Ancient World
Harrison, T. 2009 Thames and Hudson Ltd.
Research output: ResearchBook

Theo Doron: Festschrift for Theo Zinn
Harrison, T., Instone, S. & Brown, P. 2006 Gracewing.
Research output: ResearchBook

Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome
Bispham, E., Harrison, T. & Sparkes, B. A. 2006 Edinburgh University Press.
Research output: ResearchBook

Greeks and Barbarians
Harrison, T. E. H. 2001 Edinburgh University Press.
Research output: ResearchBook

Divinity and History. The Religion of Herodotus
Harrison, T. E. H. 2000 Oxford University Press.
Research output: ResearchBook

The Emptiness of Asia. Aeschylus' Persians and the History of the Fifth Century
Harrison, T. E. H. 2000 Duckworth. 191 p.
Research output: ResearchBook

 

Belief/practice
Harrison, T., Eidinow, E. (ed.) & Kindt, J. (ed.) 2015 The Oxford Handbook to Greek Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Research output: ResearchChapter

Herodotus on the character of Persian imperialism (7.5-11)
Harrison, T. & Fitzpatrick-McKinley, A. (ed.) 2015 Assessing Biblical and Classical Sources for the Reconstruction of Persian Influence, History and Culture. Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 9-48
Research output: ResearchChapter

Exploring Virgin fields. Henry and George Rawlinson on Ancient and Modern Orient
Harrison, T., Almagor, E. (ed.) & Skinner, J. (ed.) 2013 Ancient Ethnography. New Approaches. Bloomsbury, p. 223-55
Research output: ResearchChapter

The long arm of the King (Hdt. 8. 140-142)
Harrison, T., Truschnegg, B. (ed.), Bichler, R. (ed.) & Rollinger, R. (ed.) 2011 Herodot und das Persische Weltreich. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 65-74
Research output: ResearchChapter

Reinventing Achaemenid Persia
Harrison, T., Curtis, J. (ed.) & Simpson, S-J. (ed.) 2010 The World of Achaemenid Persia. History, Art and Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East . London: IB Tauris, p. 21-31
Research output: ResearchChapter

The Greeks
Harrison, T. & Erskine, A. (ed.) 2009 Blackwell Companion to Ancient History . Blackwells, p. 213-21
Research output: ResearchChapter

Oliver Stone, Alexander, and the unity of mankind
Harrison, T., Cartledge, P. (ed.) & Rose Greenland, F. (ed.) 2009 Responses to Oliver Stone’s Alexander. Film, History, and Cultural Studies. Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Press, p. 219-42
Research output: ResearchChapter

“Respectable in its ruins”: Achaemenid Persia, Ancient and Modern’, in L. Hardwick and C. Stray (eds.)
Harrison, T., Hardwick, L. (ed.) & Stray, C. (ed.) 2008 Blackwell Companion to Classical Reception . Vol. 2008, p. 50-61
Research output: ResearchChapter

Religion and the rationality of the Greek city
Harrison, T., Goldhill, S. (ed.) & Osborne, R. (ed.) 2007 Rethinking Revolutions . Cambridge University Press, p. 124-40
Research output: ResearchChapter

The place of geography in Herodotus’ Histories
Harrison, T., Adams, C. (ed.) & Roy, J. (ed.) 2007 Travel, Geography and Culture in Ancient Greece and the Near East. Oxbow, p. 44-65
Research output: ResearchChapter

Greek Religion and literature
Harrison, T. & Ogden, D. (ed.) 2007 Blackwell Companion to Greek Religion . p. 373-84
Research output: ResearchChapter

The cause of things: envy and the emotions in early Greek historiography
Harrison, T., Konstan, D. (ed.) & Rutter, K. (ed.) 2003 Envy, Spite, Jealousy: The Rivalrous Emotions in Ancient Greece. Edinburgh University Press, p. 143-63
Research output: ResearchChapter

“Prophecy in reverse”? Herodotus and the origins of history
Harrison, T., Derow, P. (ed.) & Parker, R. (ed.) 2003 Herodotus and his World. Essays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest. Oxford University Press, p. 237-55
Research output: ResearchChapter

The Persian invasions
Harrison, T., Bakker, E. (ed.), de Jong, I. (ed.) & van Wees, H. (ed.) 2002 Brill’s Companion to Herodotus . Brill, p. 551-78
Research output: ResearchChapter

Sicily in the Athenian Imagination: Thucydides and the Persian Wars
Harrison, T. E. H. 2000 Ancient Sicily from Aeneas to Cicero. Smith, C. J. & Serrati, J. (eds.). Edinburgh University Press
Research output: ResearchChapter

Templum mundi totius: Ammianus and a religious ideal of Rome
Harrison, T. E. H. 1999 The Late Roman World and its Historian: interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus. Hunt, E. D. & Drijvers, J. W. (eds.). Routledge, p. 178-190
Research output: ResearchChapter

Aeschylus, Atossa and Athens
Harrison, T. & Dabrowa, E. (ed.) 1998 Ancient Iran and the Mediterranean World. Jagiellonian University Press, p. 69-86
Research output: ResearchChapter

Herodotus and the certainty of divine retribution
Harrison, T. & Lloyd, A. B. (ed.) 1997 What is a God? Studies in the Nature of Greek Divinity . Classical Press of Wales, p. 101-22
Research output: ResearchChapter

Herodotus and the ancient Greek idea of rape
Harrison, T., Deacy, S. (ed.) & Pearce, K. (ed.) 1997 Rape in Antiquity. Classical Press of Wales, p. 185-208
Research output: ResearchChapter

 

Review article: Beyond the polis? New approaches to Greek religion
Harrison, T. 2015 In : Journal of Hellenic Studies. 135
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Herodotus on the American empire
Harrison, T. 2009 In : Classical World. 102, p. 383-94
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Ancient and modern imperialism
Harrison, T. 2008 In : Greece and Rome. 55, p. 1-22
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Coming of age in ancient Greece - Images of childhood from the classical past
Harrison, T. 30 Jan 2004 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement. p. 26-26 1 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Mastering the landscape
Harrison, T. 2004 In : Electrum: studies in ancient history. 8 , p. 27-33 6 p.
Research output: ResearchArticle

Trying Neaira: The true story of a courtesan's scandalous life in ancient Greece
Harrison, T. 15 Aug 2003 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement. p. 25-25 1 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Herodotus
Harrison, T. 2003 In : Journal of Hellenic Studies. 123, p. 222-224 3 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Herodotus' views of nature
Harrison, T. 2003 In : Journal of Hellenic Studies. 123, p. 222-224 3 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Linguistics into interpretation. Speeches of war in Herodotus VII 5 and 8-11
Harrison, T. 2003 In : Journal of Hellenic Studies. 123, p. 222-224 3 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Black Athena writes back - Martin Bernal responds to his critics
Harrison, T. 19 Apr 2002 In : TLS, The Times Literary Supplement. p. 11-11 1 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Ancient history: Key themes and approaches
Harrison, T. 2001 In : Classical Review. 51, p. 439-440 2 p.
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Herodotus' conception of foreign languages
Harrison, T. 1998 In : Histos. 2
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Herodotus and The English Patient
Harrison, T. 1998 In : Histos. 5, p. 48-63
Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

 

Teaching

  • Honours modules on Persia and the Greeks, The Greeks and Others, and Alexander the Great.
  • Coordination and contributions to the first-year module on Greek history, and to other team-taught modules.
  • Various contributions to the MLitt in Classics; the supervision of MLitt and undergraduate dissertations. 

Academic career

I studied both for my undergraduate degree (in Ancient and Modern History, 1990) and my doctorate (supervised by Professors David Lewis and Robert Parker, 1995) at Wadham College, Oxford. The first of my three stints at St Andrews was as a Teaching and Research Fellow (temporary lecturer) from 1995 to 1997.  Then I went to the Department of History at UCL as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (1997-2000), before returning to St Andrews to a lectureship in Ancient History (2000-2004).  I moved to Liverpool in 2004 where I spent 11 happy years as Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology, before returning to the intellectual paradise of St Andrews in 2015.    

I have been involved for a long time in attempts to support and widen access to the teaching of Classics and Ancient History in schools, through work with the Joint Association of Classical Teachers and now as a trustee of Classics for All and as Chair of Council of the Classical Association of Scotland (2016-).

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