Classics > People > Faculty Members > Chris Dickenson

Dr Christopher Dickenson
BA Manchester, MA Leiden, PhD Groningen


Marie Curie Fellow, Faculty of Classics
Hardie Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, Lincoln College


The Gibson Building
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road




Profile: My interest in the ancient world is wide ranging but my research focuses above all on how the society, culture and political life of the post-Classical polis were shaped by the day-to-day experiences of urban life. Alongside my new project I am currently working on transforming my PhD thesis “On the Agora : Power and Public Space in Hellenistic and Roman Greece” into two separate monographs. I’ve recently returned to the UK after living in the Netherlands for fifteen years. I was awarded my PhD at the University of Groningen in 2012. Prior to taking up my research fellowship at the University of Oxford I worked for two years as a lecturer in the History Department of the Radboud University of Nijmegen.

Research Keywords:

Roman Greece, monuments, public space, statues, power, politics, religion

Research Interests:

My new project as a Marie Curie Fellow is entitled “A mosaic of memories – monuments and public space in Roman Greece (c.200 BC to c. 200 AD)”. The project will explore the ways in which spatial setting contributed to the meaning of the statues, tombs and other monuments that were so ubiquitous in the civic centres of the Roman period polis. Combining archaeological, literary and epigraphic evidence the project will compare the types of monuments that stood in different areas of public space (agoras, gymnasia, theatres, bathhouses etc) in the cities of the Roman province of Achaea, which corresponds roughly to the area of central and southern modern day Greece. Four key case studies (provisionally: Athens, Corinth, Delphi and Messene), for which there are relatively high levels of archaeological and epigraphic evidence, will form the heart of the investigation but useful evidence from smaller or less well-represented sites will also be drawn upon. An analysis of the ways that different groups and individuals deployed monuments to target particular audiences will cast light on how monuments were used to negotiate power both within the local community and with the Imperial government. The project will also consider the ways in which juxtaposing monuments of different types or periods could serve to create significant connections and encourage particular readings or responses. An important aim of the project is to challenge a still rather popular vision that the polis’ public spaces in Roman times became like museums, cluttered with monuments to the detriment of meaningful human interaction. Considering the types of activities that took place in and around public monuments will deepen our understanding of the ancient perception of them within the urban landscape.

Selected Publications:

'The Agora as Setting for Honorific Statues in the Roman Period Greek East', in Civic Honours – The Politics of Honour in the Greek Cities of Roman Imperial Times (1st-3rd C. AD), O.M. van Nijf and A. Heller (eds.), (In press).

On the Agora: the Evolution of a Public Space in Hellenistic and Roman Greece (c. 323 BC- 267 AD), (Leiden, Brill In press).

'Contested Bones The Politics of Public Burial in Roman Greece (c. 200 BC - 200 AD)', Ancient Society, Vol: 46, (2016), 95-163.

'Pausanias and the Archaic Agora at Athens', Hesperia, Vol: 84, (2015), 723-70.

'Kings, Cities and Marketplaces. Negotiating Power through Public Space in Hellenistic Greece', in Public Space in the Post-Classical City. Proceedings of a One Day Colloquium Held at Fransum, the Netherlands. June 23rd 2007, Dickenson and van Nijf (eds.), (2013), 37-75.

Public Space in the Post-Classical City. Proceedings of a One Day Colloquium Held at Fransum, the Netherlands. June 23rd 2007, Dr C. Dickenson and Prof. Dr. Onno van Nijf (eds.), Caeculus 7. Leuven, Peeters., (2013).