Greg Woolf

Greg Woolf is an historian of the Roman Empire, and of antiquity more generally. He currently teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles where he is Ronald J. Mellor Distinguished Professor of Ancient History. He divides his time between Santa Monica and Fife in Scotland.

Before moving to the US, he held professorships in London and St Andrews, and before that he held fellowships in various Oxford and Cambridge Colleges. He has also spent time as a visiting professor in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and also of the Societies of Antiquaries of both London and Scotland, and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Classical Studies, of which he is a past director.

He writes mostly cultural history, on literacy and urbanism, on cultures of imperialism and cultures of mobility, on religion and gender in antiquity. Much of his writing draws on archaeological material and he edits the Journal of Roman Archaeology. His most recent book was The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: a natural history which offered an ecological approach to thousands of years of urbanism. The future of ancient history, he believes, lies in a closer exploration of the links between the humanities and the life sciences. Current projects include a reassessment of human mobility in antiquity and an investigation of the processes through which religions, in a modern sense, were invented at the end of antiquity and then spread at the expense of other kinds of ritual and cosmological experience.

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