Hannah Cornwell

Hannah Cornwell

Colleges, School and Institutes

Biography

I completed my undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate at Oxford, where I also spent five years as a College Lecturer (Keble, Trinity and Worcester Colleges). 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 the ARHC-funded Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project. In 2016 I began a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, which I then transferred to the University of Birmingham in 2017. Since completing the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, I have been a Lecturer in Ancient History at Birmingham.

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 numerous papers on the Roman civil wars, from the framing of enemies through language, to internal negotiation and diplomacy during civil conflict and the development of imperial values and iconography. I am also currently co-editing a volume on ‘Rediscovering the Roman Civil Wars of 49-30 BCE: New Approaches, New Evidence’, and am part of a German Research Network, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which explores the topic of ‘Internal War: Society, Social Order and Political Conflict in Antiquity’ (April 2018-March 2021).

Besides a specific focus on the language of peace and civil war, 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, as well as public lectures and events, including the closing ceremony of the 2016 Being Human Festival at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. I am also contributed to a number of episodes for a BBC Radio 4 history programme (When Greeks Flew Kites) and contributed to the BBC History Magazine.

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

Yes

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.

Postgraduate research projects I have supervised or am currently supervising include:

Ben Salisbury, ‘Before Public Opinion: The Role of Tribunes of the Plebs in Creating, Manipulating, and Responding to Popular Sentiment in the Late Roman Republic (c. 70 – 49 BC)’ (supervising with Dr Henriette van der Blom)

Hayley Merchant, ‘A Comparative Study of the Purpose of Military Iconography during Times of Stability and Instability in the Roman Empire from the First to the Fourth Centuries AD’ (supervising with Dr Gareth Sears).

Richard Kendall, ‘Civic Identity in Transtiberim: The Development of an Urban Community’ (supervised with Dr Gareth Sears).

Joshua Larosa, ‘Augustus and the use of Roman ideals to legitimise his rule’ (supervised with Dr Henriette van der Blom)