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Introduction of Christopher Smith (University of St Andrews)

UrbNet Visiting Professor, 21 October - 15 December 2019.

Christopher John Smith is a Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews and former Director of the British School in Rome. In 2017 he was selected as recipient of the Premio ‘Cultori di Roma’ in recognition of his contribution to research and scholarship on the city of Rome.

His research interests include the social and economic development of early Rome & Latium, particularly as evidenced through archaeology and comparative developments in the southern and eastern Mediterranean.  Within this, he has addressed general aspects of urbanization and state formation.

He has also investigated the evolution and legal and symbolic significance of republican political institutions, particularly the gens, and how these were characterised by contemporary sources  and interpreted in the modern historiography of the subject from Sigonio to Vico, Lewis Henry Morgan, Engels and Marx to the current day.

His interest in historiography, with a specific interest in fragmentary Roman historians, extends to Greek historiography and to writers such as Plutarch, Pliny the Elder and Aulus Gellius, who are our sources for much fragmentary literature, as well as the periods of the late Republic which generated the most substantial historical accounts. This in turn has led him to work on Cicero.

His current project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, uses Roman kingship as a point of departure for a broader study of power in archaic societies, and the legacy of Roman ideas about sovereignty in the modern day.

His numerous publications include (in selection): 

Smith, C. J. (2018). Gli Etrusci, Milan.

Smith, C. J. (2012). "A Hundred Years of Roman History: Historiography and Intellectual Culture", Papers of the British School at Rome 80, 295-323, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S006824621200013X.

Smith, C. J. & Powell, A. (eds). (2009). The lost memoirs of Augustus: and the development of Roman autobiography, Swansea.

Smith, C. J. (2005). "The 'Origo Gentis Romanae': Facts and Fictions", Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 48:1, 97-136.

Smith, C. J. (1996). Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC, Oxford-New-York.