Professor Mark Humphries
Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Telephone: (01792) 602786
Room: Office - 212
Second Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

Mark Humphries has been Professor of Ancient History at Swansea since 2007, and is currently head of the Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of St Andrews, and previously held posts at St Andrews, Leicester, Manchester, and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

His main areas of research focus on the transformation of the ancient world in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and he has published extensively on the religious, political, and ideological history of the period 200-700 CE. His current work focuses on three areas:

  • The interaction between local and imperial politics in the third to sixth centuries and the role of internal conflict in the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • The development of Christianity in the Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity.
  • Understanding developments in the Late-Antique Mediterranean in world-historical perspective.

He is also a general editor, with Professor Gillian Clark (Bristol) and Dr Mary Whitby (Oxford), of the series Translated Texts for Historians published by Liverpool University Press.

He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Areas of Expertise

  • History and literature of Late Antiquity
  • Early Christianity
  • City of Rome
  • Hagiography and the cult of saints


  1. Humphries, M. Cities and the Meanings of Late Antiquity. Brill Research Perspectives in Ancient History, 2.4, 1-112.
  2. Humphries, M. The Memory of Mursa: Usurpation, Civil War, and Contested Legitimacy under the Sons of Constantine. The Sons of Constantine, AD 337-361: In the Shadows of Constantine and Julian, edited by N. Baker-Brian & S. Tougher (pp. 157-183). Palgrave MacMillan
  3. Humphries, M. ‘Narrative and Subversion: Exemplary Rome and Imperial Misrule in Ammianus Marcellinus’. Ancient Narrative supplementum (pp. 233-254). Barkhuis
  4. Humphries, M. Narrative and Space in Christian Chronography: John of Biclaro on East, West, and Orthodoxy. Historiography and Space in Late Antiquity, edited by Peter Van Nuffelen (pp. 86-112). Cambridge University Press
  5. Humphries, M. ‘Family, Dynasty, and the Construction of Legitimacy from Augustus to the Theodosians’. The Emperor in the Byzantine World. Proceedings of the 47th Byzantine Spring Symposium, Cardiff 2014, edited by Shaun Tougher (pp. 13-27). Routledge

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  • CL-M08 Research Methodologies in Ancient History

    This module is designed to develop academic research skills, an understanding of the methods used in the advanced study of Classics and Ancient History, and a grasp of appropriate ways of presenting the results of such study.

  • CL-M09 Dissertation in Ancient History and or Classical Literature

    Dissertation in Ancient History or an approved Classical subject.

  • CL-M50 Narrative genres and theory

    A series of case-studies surveying the narrative literature of classical antiquity, and exploring appropriate literary and cultural theory.

  • CL-M76 Explorers, Travel and Geography in the Ancient World

    This module provides a chance to explore a variety of ancient approaches to exploration, travel and geography. We investigate texts from the Odyssey to late antique pilgrimage accounts, and we shall encounter a wide range of genres, e.g. fictional adventure stories, explorers' accounts, ethnography, maps and geographical studies, travel guides and geographical accounts embedded in historical works. We discuss different ways in which travel experiences and landscapes can be depicted through writing; you will be able to discover how the ancients approached the world, both the familiar places around the Mediterranean and distant regions which were hardly known.

  • CL-M78 Saints and Sinners in Christian Late Antiquity

    This module will analyse the presentation of various figures ¿ ranging from emperors and empresses to monks and bishops ¿ as heroes and villains in the discourses of the Christian Roman Empire in late antiquity. The core material for study will focus on texts: these will include accounts of emperors such as Eusebius¿ panegyrical Life of Constantine, diverging accounts of the emperor Julian from pagan and Christian perspectives, and Procopius¿ scandalous account of Justinian and Theodora in the Anekdota (Secret History), as well as various classics of the hagiographical genre, such as the lives of St Antony, St Martin of Tours, and St Ambrose of Milan. The module will also consider hagiographical literature produced in the 'Oriental' languages of Coptic (in Egypt) and Syriac (in the Near East). Students will be encouraged, in consultation with the module teacher, to follow their own interests in preparing their written assessments for the module: thus Egyptologists might examine a corpus of Egyptian hagiography, while medievalists might explore the Nachleben of various early Christian figures in the early and central middle ages.

  • CLD300 Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words. The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availability of supervisors and library material. This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research. There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.

  • CLH150 Rome from Village to Empire: An Introduction to Roman History

    This module introduces key places, peoples, and periods in Roman history. It is intended to provide a chronological and theoretical framework that will form the basis for more specialised study of Roman history at Levels 5 and 6. In addition to introducing key themes about the Roman world, such as imperialism, responses to Roman rule, social and political structures, `othering¿, gender, and religion, it will encourage students¿ critical engagement with a range of primary sources and help to develop their academic writing skills.

  • CLH230 The Heirs of Rome: The Making of Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam in the Early Middle Ages, 400-800

    The period between AD 400 and 800 saw the unmaking of the world of antiquity and the forging of the new civilizations of medieval Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam. It is, in short, an era with reverberations that are keenly felt in the present. This module will trace the main outlines of this seminal period, showing how the heritage of the Roman world was transformed in diverse ways during the early medieval centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of new forms of polity, religion, and socio-economic structures. On completion of the module, students will have a keen appreciation of how and why the different regions of eastern and western Europe and the Middle East, once untied under Roman rule, had come to follow widely diverging destinies.

  • CLQ100 Study Group: Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology (Year 1)

    2 hour weekly Study Group for Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology students (Year 1)

  • CLQ200 Study Group: Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology (Year 2)

    2 hour weekly Study Group for Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology students (Year 2)

  • FY-012 Introduction to Being Human

    This module will focus on introducing what it is to be human from a broad humanities and social science perspective. It will offer the opportunity to engage with key ideas, theory and literature within these disciplines. It will therefore prepare students for further academic work in the humanities and social sciences and initiate the development of critical thinking and creative abilities.

  • FY-018 History, Memory and the creation of Identity

    In most human societies, history and memory are important in the creation of identity. For example, consider how recent political debates often involve debates about the relevance of particular strands of history (such as `empire¿) to modern society. This module explores these relationships from the ancient societies of Egypt, Greece, and Rome to the modern world. It is designed to provide Foundation Year students intending to pursue degrees in Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology or History with an opportunity to reflect critically on what the past means and how we go about studying it.


  • From Boeotia to Achaea: Ethnognesis and development of Koina in Greek Antiquity. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Maria Pretzler
  • The Roman Face of the Gower - how the Gower changed under Roman occupation and what this tells of us of the impact of the Roman occupation on a rural community. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Nigel Pollard
  • The Court of the Theodosian Dynasty (379-455) (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Ersin Hussein