Dr Mattias Gassman

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Academic Background

After undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States and at Oxford, I did my doctorate at Cambridge, under the supervision of Christopher Kelly and Rosamond McKitterick.

PhD in Classics, Cambridge;

MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, Oxford;

MA in Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Minnesota;

BA in Classical Studies, BS in Biophysics and German, Iowa State

Research Interests

The rise of Christianity in the later Roman Empire (third through fifth centuries A.D.) revolutionised Mediterranean society. My research explores the cultural and religious aspects of this epoch-making transformation through close interpretation of Greek and especially Latin texts. A monograph, Worshippers of the Gods: Debating Paganism in the Fourth-Century Roman West is forthcoming with Oxford University Press, New York. My current project focuses on pagans and paganism in the works and world of Augustine of Hippo. 

Research Keywords

Augustine of Hippo, Roman religion, early Christianity, pagans and Christians, late antiquity, the secular


Latin language and literature, later Roman history, Roman religion 


Selected Publications:

1. Books

2020. Worshippers of the Gods: Debating Paganism in the Fourth-Century Roman West, Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2. Journal articles

2020. ‘A Feast in Carthage: Testing the Limits of “Secularity’ in Late Antiquity’, The Journal of Roman Studies 110, 199–219. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075435820001409

2019. ‘Cyprian’s Early Career in the Church of Carthage’, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 70/1, 1-17 https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046917002780

2018. ‘Debating Traditional Religion in Late Fourth-Century Roman Africa’, Journal of Late Antiquity, 11/1, 83–110, https://doi.org/10.1353/jla.2018.0013

2017. ‘The Roman Kings in Orosius’ Historiae Adversum Paganos’, Classical Quarterly, 67/2, 617–30. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009838817000702

2016. ‘Eschatology and Politics in Cyril of Jerusalem’s Epistle to Constantius’, Vigiliae Christianae, 70/2, 119–33. https://doi.org/10.1163/15700720-12341230

2. Book chapters

2017. ‘The Conversion of Cyprian’s Rhetoric? Towards a New Reading of Ad Donatum’. In Studia Patristica, 94: From Tertullian to Tyconius, ed. M. Vinzent, 247–57. Leuven: Peeters.

2017. ‘Et Deus et Homo: The Soteriology of Lactantius’. In Studia Patristica, 80: The Classical or Christian Lactantius, ed. M. Vinzent and O. Nicholson, 35–41. Leuven: Peeters.