Hannah Cornwell

Hannah Cornwell

Colleges, School and Institutes


I completed my undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate at Oxford, where I also spent five years as a College Lecturer. As well as teaching I have also been an awardee of the British School at Rome and a research fellow at the University of Warwick, as part of an ARHC-funded project documenting the Ashmolean Museum’s collection of Latin inscriptions. In 2016 I began a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Classical Studies, which I transferred to Birmingham in 2017.

Research interests

My research interests focus on socio-political history of the Roman Republic and Empire, with a particular interest in the nature of Roman imperialism, and Roman attitudes towards their position as a political power in the Mediterranean.

My first book, Pax and the Politics of Peace (OUP, 2017), examines the two generations that spanned the collapse of the Republic and the Augustan period in order to understand how the concept of pax Romana, as a central ideology of Roman imperialism, evolved. I argue for the integral nature of pax in understanding the changing dynamics of the Roman state through civil war to the creation of a new political system and world-rule. Roman discourses on peace were part of the wider discussion on the way in which Rome conceptualized her Empire and ideas of imperialism. I have also published papers on the role of peace-makers and heralds in Roman literary accounts of conflict in terms of what this reveals about Roman attitudes to war and peace, and have several papers forthcoming on the language of peace in civil war, and the construction of political opponents as enemies in civil war.

Besides a specific focus on the language of peace, I have also published on the reactions to Roman imperialism, examining the geo-political situation of the western Alps under Augustus, and the elite response to imperial power. 

I held a three year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2016-2018), which examined the production of space as a means of understanding diplomacy as a social practice in the Roman world. This study focuses on the architectural and urban spaces of the city of Rome as a site of diplomatic practice, in order to examine the social interactions through which Rome, as a political entity, communicated and maintained its position in the Mediterranean. 

I have been invited to present on my research a number of International conferences and research seminars, and have also contributed to a number of episodes of a BBC Radio 4 history programme (‘When Greeks Flew Kites’).

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

    Ancient History

    2008 - 2012
  • Master of Philosophy, University of Oxford

    Greek and/or Roman History

    2005 - 2007
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

    Literae Humaniores

    2001 - 2005

Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, FRHistS

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I welcome proposals for supervision in any aspect of Roman History, especially political aspects of the Roman Republic and Early Principate, Imperial ideology, International Relations and diplomacy, and interdisciplinary approaches to history and material culture.