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Professor Dominic Rathbone

Professor Dominic Rathbone

Professor Dominic RathboneProfessor of Ancient History

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2059
 Department of Classics
E5, North Wing
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS

Research interests and PhD supervision

My research interests range across the Roman world from what we can reconstruct about the early Roman Republic and other Italic peoples of the time, such as the Samnites, through the political and agrarian history of the middle Republic (the relationship between landownership and political power), the unification of Italy via the Social War and establishment of the Principate (Augustus, Nero), the effects of Roman rule on Egypt as revealed by study of the documentary papyri, to the so-called ‘crisis’ of the third century. My focus is often on economic aspects, including population, farm sizes and management, prices, shipping, banking, taxation, and I like to combine evidence from archaeology, documents on papyrus from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and the Roman lawcodes with the ancient narrative sources.

I am happy to supervise students in topics related to my own research interests, and more widely in ancient economic history and study of the papyrus documents from Graeco-Roman Egypt.

For more details, please see my full research profile

Selected publications

D.W. Rathbone, Economic Rationalism and Rural Society in Third-Century A.D. Egypt: The Heroninos Archive and the Appianus Estate (Cambridge University Press, 1991) pp.xix + 489

ed. R.S. Bagnall & D.W. Rathbone, Egypt from Alexander to the Copts: an Archaeological and Historical Guide (London 2004).

D.W. Rathbone & P. Temin) ‘Financial intermediation in first-century AD Rome and eighteenth-century England’, (in) ed. K. Verboven, K. Vandorpe & V. Chankowski, Pistoi dia tèn technèn. Bankers, Loans and Archives in the Ancient World. Studies in Honour of Raymond Bogaert (Leuven 2008) 371-419.

D.W. Rathbone, ‘Poor peasants and silent sherds’, (in) ed. L. de Ligt & S. Northwood, People, Land and Politics. Demographic Developments and the Transformation of Roman Italy, 300 BC - AD 14 (Leiden 2008) 305-32.

D.W. Rathbone ‘Earnings and costs: living standards and the Roman economy (first to third centuries AD)’, (in) ed. A. Bowman & A. Wilson, Quantifying the Roman Economy. Methods and Problems (Oxford 2009) 299-326.

For a complete list of publications, please see our full research profile.


At BA level I contribute to the Department's coverage of the history of the Roman Republic and the Roman Principate, and often offer a course focussed on Augustus.

At MA level I often offer courses on Tacitus and Nero and on Roman Egypt.

Expertise and public engagement

I directed a surface survey of sites of Graeco-Roman villages in the Fayyum, Egypt, in 1995-1998.

I am Chairman of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Management Committee of the Egypt Exploration Society

I am Vice-President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.



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