Professor Katherine Clarke

Academic Background

I teach mostly late republican and early imperial Roman History, covering the fascinating period of dynamic change during which Rome moved from a relatively democratic form of rule to the monarchical power of, albeit often benevolent, emperors. My research interests, however, range much more widely. I have published extensively on the works of Roman historians such as Tacitus, with his cynical take on the world of imperial power, and Polybius, who witnessed and analysed the rise of Rome as a global ruler. Both of my books to date focus on the Hellenistic period during which Rome began to emerge as the leading world power. My first book concerns the geographical tradition and examines the way in which Greek writers were forced to reevaluate their conceptions of the world in the light of Roman imperialism; this work focuses particularly on the geographer, Strabo, who left the only extensively surviving geographical description from antiquity (17 books), covering the whole known world. My second book shifts the focus from space to time, examining the conception and articulation of time in the Greek world, especially in the context of local history. By looking at the construction of the past through the medium of local historiography, it offers an insight into how different versions of the past and different constructions of time were offered to the community for approval. Besides publishing widely, I have appeared as invited speaker at many international conferences - from New York to Kyoto, the Basque country, Strasbourg, Milan, Essen, as well as in the UK. I am currently working on a book on Herodotus and his presentation of the natural world.

Research Interests

Greek and Roman historiography (especially Herodotus and Tacitus), ancient geographical traditions (especially in the late Hellenistic period), concepts of time, local and universal history.