Dr Lewis Webb

Academic Background

I am a Departmental Lecturer in Roman History at Merton College and the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford.

I received a BMedSci in Neurology and Physiology (2009) from Flinders University, a BA (Hons) in Classical Studies and Psychology (2011) and an MPhil in Classical Studies (2014) from the University of Adelaide, and a PhD in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (2019) from the University of Gothenburg. My PhD thesis examined competitions for status among senatorial women in Mid-Republican Rome with a focus on competitive domains, resources, and regulation.


Research Interests

I am a Roman historian with experience in archaeological field work in Greece and Italy, and training in ancient languages and epigraphy. My main research foci are: 1) the histories and voices of women in ancient Rome, 2) civic religion and crisis management in the Roman Republic, and 3) the interactions between Romans, non-Romans, and landscapes in ancient Etruria and Thessaly. In all three areas, I am interested in diversifying historical narratives, recovering the voices of the marginalized, and using interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives to break new ground.

My current research project is entitled Crisis rituals: Civic religion and crisis management in the Roman Republic and is funded by the Swedish Research Council. This project investigates the interactions between, and transformative effects of, community crises and the official religious responses of male and female leaders in Republican Rome.

Additionally, I am a researcher within two archaeological projects in Italy and Greece, namely the Swedish research project Understanding Urban Identities from the Bronze Age to the Roman time: The case of Vulci in the context of southern Etruria in Viterbo, Italy, which is investigating the ancient city of Vulci, and the Greek-Swedish Palamas Archaeological Project in the municipality of Palamas, Greece, which is investigating the ancient cities at Vlochos and Metamorfosi.

I am also a series editor for the book series Women in Ancient Cultures for Liverpool University Press: https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/topic/book-series/women-in-ancient-cultures 



Research Keywords

Roman history; Roman archaeology; Roman material culture; Roman urbanism; Roman Republic; Roman women; Roman religion; senatorial women; female visibility; gender history; crisis; crisis management.


Undergraduate teaching: papers in Roman Republican history (period papers 241-146 BC, 146-46 BC, 46 BC-AD 54; Cicero and Catiline), Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome, Religions in the Greek and Roman World, and Texts and Contexts.

Masters teaching: papers in Roman Republican history, and Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome.

PhD supervision: I welcome students interested in Roman Republican history, genders and sexualities in the ancient Mediterranean, and ancient religions. 


Full Publications:

Selected Publications:

K. Frank, G. Gilles, C. Plastow, and L. Webb (eds), Female Agency in the Ancient Mediterranean (Liverpool University Press, in press), https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/book/10.3828/9781802071856

L. Brännstedt and L. Webb, ‘Review Article: Gender in Ancient Rome: New Directions and Voices’, Opuscula 16, (2023), 249–254, https://ecsi.se/opathrom-16-11/ 

‘B. Longfellow and M. Swetnam-Burland (edd.) Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices: Roman Material Culture and Female Agency in the Bay of Naples’, Journal of Roman Studies 113, (2023), 252– 254, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-roman-studies/article/abs/brenda-longfellow-and-molly-swetnamburland-eds-womens-lives-womens-voices-roman-material-culture-and-female-agency-in-the-bay-of-naples-austin-university-of-texas-press-2021-pp-408-illus-isbn-9781477323588-5500/D5E963EFA990CD66CA17E4F35A243827 

‘Female interventions in politics in the libera res publica: Structures and practices’, in C. Burden-Strevens and R.Frolov (eds), Leadership and Initiative in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome (Brill, 2022), 151–188, https://brill.com/display/book/9789004511408/BP000006.xml?language=en 

L. Webb and L. Brännstedt, 'Gendering the Roman triumph: Elite women and the triumph in the Republic and early Empire’, in G. Woolf and H. Cornwell (eds), Gendering Roman Imperialism (Brill, 2022), 58–95, https://brill.com/display/book/9789004524774/BP000012.xml

‘lex Canuleia’, in T. Whitmarsh (ed.), Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2022), https://oxfordre.com/classics/display/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.001.0001/acrefore-9780199381135-e-8260

M. Bayless, J. Liliequist, and L. Webb (eds), Gender and Status Competition in Pre-Modern Societies (Brepols, 2021), https://www.brepols.net/products/IS-9782503596327-1

I. Selsvold and L. Webb (eds), Beyond the Romans: Posthuman Perspectives in Roman Archaeology (Oxbow, 2020), https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv13pk8qb

'Mihi es aemula: Elite female status competition in Mid-Republican Rome and the example of Tertia Aemilia', in C. Damon and C. Pieper (eds), Eris vs. Aemulatio. Valuing Competition in the Ancient World (Brill, 2019), 251–80, https://brill.com/display/book/edcoll/9789004383975/BP000015.xml 

'Gendering the Roman imago', EuGeStA 7 (2017), 140–183, https://eugesta-revue.univ-lille3.fr/pdf/2017/5.Webb-Eugesta-7_2017.pdf   

'Shame transfigured: Slut-shaming from Rome to cyberspace', First Monday 20.4 (2015), http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5464/4419

Forthcoming publications:

‘Spectatissima femina: Female visibility and religion in urban spaces in Republican Rome’, American Journal of Philology.

‘ordo matronarum’, in T. Whitmarsh (ed.), Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford University Press).