Dr Rory Cox

Dr Rory Cox

BA., (Hons), MA.,(London), D.Phil., (Oxon), FRHistS - Lecturer

Contact Details

E-mail - rwscc@st-andrews.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 463316
Fax - +44 (0)1334 463334

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews


Teaching and Research Interests

My research covers intellectual history and military history. I am particularly interested in the ethics of war and violence, and the relationship between the just war tradition and applications of violence. Increasingly, I am motivated by tracing connections between premodern ethics and contemporary ethical and politico-military challenges.

My publications have explored ideas of justifiable self-defence, asymmetric warfare, and notions of non-combatant immunity. My monograph, John Wyclif on War and Peace (2014), argues that the fourteenth-century English scholastic, John Wyclif, rejected medieval just war doctrine and was Europe’s first pacifist. 

I am currently working on an exciting new book project, War and Justice: from Antiquity to the End of the Middle Ages, which will be published by Princeton University Press. This broad comparative history examines how ancient and medieval societies in the Near East and the West (c. 3000 BC - 1600 AD) thought about the relationship between war and justice, focusing particularly on the affinities and continuities that can be identified in the ethics of war over time and across cultures.

I have a number of forthcoming publications in journals and edited volumes (below).

From September 2017 to June 2018 I will be a Visiting Humanities Collaboration Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and the The Huntington Library.

I am an Associate Director of the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History.

Here I discuss just war doctrine with Dan Snow:

And some thoughts about U.K. involvement in the war against ISIS:

Main Publications

  • John Wyclif on War and Peace, Royal Historical Society Studies in History xc (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2014).
  • 'The Ethics of War up to Thomas Aquinas', in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War, ed. Seth Lazar and Helen Frowe (Oxford University Press: 2015), currently available online with hard-copy forthcoming.
  • 'A Law of War? English Protection and Destruction of Ecclesiastical Property During the Fourteenth Century', English Historical Review (2013) 128 (535 ): 1381 - 1417.
  • ‘Asymmetric Warfare and Military Conduct in the Middle Ages’, Journal of Medieval History 38 (2012): 100-125.
  • ‘Natural Law and the Right of Self-Defence According to John of Legnano and John Wyclif,’ in Fourteenth-Century England VI, ed. C. Given-Wilson (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010), pp. 149-69.
  • ‘Wyclif: Medieval Pacifist’, History Today (August 2010): 25-7.

Forthcoming Publications

  • Rory Cox, 'Expanding the History of the Just War: The Ethics of War in Ancient Egypt', International Studies Quarterly (forthcoming).
  • Rory Cox ‘Religion and the Hundred Years War’, in The Hundred Years War Revisited: Problems in Focus, ed. Anne Curry (forthcoming 2017).
  • Rory Cox, 'Gratian', Just War Thinkers, ed. Cian O'Driscoll and Daniel Brunstetter (forthcoming 2017).

Teaching Duties

Dr Cox is on research leave 2017-18

Dr Cox teaches on ME1006, ME2003 and HI2001 sub honours courses and offers the following honours courses;
Medieval Political Thought
Justifying Medieval Warfare
England and France at War in the Fourteenth Century
Nature and the Occult in the Late Middle Ages

Also teaches on the Mediaeval Studies M. Litt. and Intellectual History M.Litt programmes.

MS5001 - Approaches to Mediaeval Studies 
IH5003 – The Theory and Practice of Intellectual History
IH5002 – Turning Points in the History of Ideas

Research Students

Current Research Students:

Jiazhu Hu, Voices of Medieval English Towns 1300-1500
Rory MacLellan, Patronage of the Knights Hospitaller in the British Isles, c.1300-1400

I am happy to supervise students undertaking research in the following areas:

  • Late medieval intellectual history, particularly political thought.
  • History of the ethics of war.
  • European military history, thirteenth to fifteenth centuries.