Professor Peter Thonemann

Academic Background

Since 2007, I have taught Ancient History at Wadham College to a succession of brilliant and inspiring students studying Classics, Ancient and Modern History, and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. It is the best job in the world. Wadham has long had a well-earned reputation as the most inclusive, pluralistic, and free-spirited college at Oxford, and I am proud of our success in attracting high-achieving undergraduates from a very wide range of backgrounds.  

I teach and supervise students across a pretty broad range of Greek and Roman historical topics, with a particular focus on the Greek-speaking world from the archaic period to Late Antiquity, as well as Achaemenid Persia. Trying to interpret the ancient world for non-specialist readers is a big part of what I do, and I write regularly on all aspects of antiquity (food, childhood, mathematics, sacrifice...) for the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, and others. 

I am interested in most aspects of the ancient Mediterranean world and western Asia, but the area I know and love best is Asia Minor (modern Turkey); my most recent book was a study of village life in a remote upland region of inland Asia Minor (The Lives of Ancient Villages: Rural Society in Roman Anatolia, 2022). I have published quite a few Greek inscriptions from Asia Minor, most recently a wonderful new text from the Ionian city of Teos, which I studied with my friend Mustafa Adak from the University of Antalya (Teos and Abdera: Two Cities in Peace and War, 2022). I have recently got interested in Lucian of Samosata: in 2021 I published a new translation and commentary on Lucian’s Alexander or the False Prophet, and I am currently working on a new Loeb translation of Lucian.

Research Interests

I am interested in most aspects of the ancient world, but particularly in people on the margins of Greco-Roman society: peasants, slaves, children, women, the illiterate and the underprivileged.

Research Keywords

Greek and Roman History, Achaemenid Persia, Greek Coinage, Greek Epigraphy, Asia Minor.


Full list of publications: Peter Thonemann full list of Publications August 2023

Selected publications:

The Lives of Ancient Villages: Rural Society in Roman Anatolia (2022)

Teos and Abdera: Two Cities in Peace and War (2022)

Lucian, Alexander Or The False Prophet (2021)

An Ancient Dream Manual: Artemidorus on the Interpretation of Dreams (Oxford: OUP, 2020)

The Hellenistic Age (Oxford University Press 2016)

The Hellenistic World: Using Coins as Sources (Cambridge University Press 2015)

The Maeander Valley: A Historical Geography from Antiquity to Byzantium, (Cambridge University Press 2011)

The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine, Co-author: Simon Price, (London: Allen Lane 2010)