Dr Nigel Pollard
Associate Professor
Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Telephone: (01792) 604061
Room: Office - 123
First Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

Besides his current postgraduate and undergraduate teaching at Swansea, and past teaching at Oxford, Bowdoin College (Maine, USA) and the University of Michigan, Dr Pollard was 2008-2009 Professor-in-Charge of Duke University’s Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome and 2013 Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Classics at Carleton College (Minnesota, USA). He has also co-directed summer schools in Rome and Pompeii for the British School at Rome.

Current Research

Dr Pollard is a Roman historian and archaeologist. His particular interests include cultural property protection in conflict zones, both historic and modern; all forms of interaction (culture, economy, administration, power and control) between the ruling elites of the Roman empire and its subjects. He works with all forms of evidence that sheds light on these issues, including art and archaeology, ancient texts and documents (inscriptions, papyri) and modern (20th century) archives. Much of his research focuses on the eastern part of the Roman empire (Syria and Egypt) and Italy, although his interests range beyond those areas.

At present Dr. Pollard is primarily working on a study of protection, damage and reception of archaeological sites and monuments in the Second World War, including the work of the Allied Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (the ‘Monuments Men’), and as a board member of the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield, engages with governments, NGOs and military personnel to promote the protection of cultural sites in conflicts and natural disasters.

Publications

  1. & The Complete Roman Legions. London-New York: Thames and Hudson.
  2. Soldiers, Cities, and Civilians in Roman Syria. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  3. Imperatores castra dedicaverunt: Security, army bases and military dispositions in later Roman Egypt (late third – fourth century AD). The Journal of Late Antiquity 6, 3-36.
  4. The Chronology of Karanis. A Reappraisal. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 35, 147-161.
  5. Art, Benefaction and Elites in Roman Etruria. Papers of the British School at Rome 66, 57-70.

See more...

Teaching

  • CL-M91 Archaeology and Topography of Ancient Rome

    This module will engage students in detailed critical analysis of archaeological, literary and epigraphic source material to examine key issues and themes in the development of the ancient city of Rome from protohistory to c. AD350, its topography and monuments in the imperial period, and its rediscovery and display from the Middle Ages to the present day.

  • CLH145 Introduction to Greek and Roman Art and Architecture

    This module is an introduction to the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome from c. 800 BC to c. AD 500, examining technical and aesthetic developments in ancient art in their cultural, social and political contexts, and providing an introduction to their influences on later periods of western art and architecture. Media to be examined include sculpture in stone, bronze and terracotta, including portraits and relief sculpture as well as free-standing statues; painting, including painted pottery, tomb painting and domestic wall-painting; and the architecture of temples, secular public buildings and houses. Students will learn to engage with and discuss a range of visual materials in seminars, as well as reading both ancient and modern discussions of the material at which they will be looking.

  • CLH2006 The Imperial Image: Roman Emperors and Empresses in History, Literature and Art from Augustus to the Severans.

    Roman emperors and their male and female kin are among the most intensively documented individuals of the ancient Mediterranean world. We know about them from a variety of different source materials including literature (biography, narrative history and rhetoric), inscriptions and visual media (portrait and relief sculpture, coins). However, none of these media are unproblematic. As the Roman historian Tacitus (hardly a dispassionate witness himself) points out, ancient writers' accounts swung from sycophancy to hostility as individual emperors came to the throne and then passed on. Official art, on the other hand, presented the imperial family as the emperor wished it to be portrayed. Much of our evidence depicts emperors and their kin as polarised packages of conventional rhetorical vices and virtues, with (for example) the implausibly virtuous Marcus Aurelius at one extreme, and the equally implausibly vicious Gaius Caligula (or Domitian, or Commodus) at the other. This module will develop students' ability to engage in critical study of imperial power and personalities in the Roman world, through a nuanced study of the available evidence. Within the wider framework of lecture-based classes (twice-weekly, shared with CLH3006) addressing the general issues raised by the study of Roman emperors and empresses, CLH2006 students will examine the vices and virtues of selected emperors and imperial women in weekly workshops.

  • CLH216 Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome

    This module enables students to examine and analyse the development and structure of the Roman imperial army and its role both in war (foreign and domestic) and in policing the Roman empire. The main emphasis is on the period 31 BC to c. AD 300, although earlier and later periods will be considered as background. Much of the emphasis is on the organisation of the army and its war-fighting capabilities, considering weapons and equipment, tactics, and military technology. Using primary written and archaeological evidence, as well as modern scholarship, students will study the different external enemies and other security challenges (internal security, civil war) faced by legions in different parts of the empire.

  • CLH284 Writing Ancient History

    This module examines the writing and study of ancient history. It considers the range of available evidence (historical sources, epigraphy, biography, archaeology, numismatics) as well as modern approaches to the interpretation of the evidence.

  • CLH3006 The Imperial Image: Roman Emperors and Empresses in History, Literature and Art from Augustus to the Severans.

    Roman emperors and their male and female kin are among the most intensively documented individuals of the ancient Mediterranean world. We know about them from a variety of different source materials including literature (biography, narrative history and rhetoric), inscriptions and visual media (portrait and relief sculpture, coins). However, none of these media are unproblematic. As the Roman historian Tacitus (hardly a dispassionate witness himself) points out, ancient writers' accounts swung from sycophancy to hostility as individual emperors came to the throne and then passed on. Official art, on the other hand, presented the imperial family as the emperor wished it to be portrayed. Much of our evidence depicts emperors and their kin as polarised packages of conventional rhetorical vices and virtues, with (for example) the implausibly virtuous Marcus Aurelius at one extreme, and the equally implausibly vicious Gaius Caligula (or Domitian, or Commodus) at the other. This module will interrogate critically the evidence for the nature of imperial power in the Roman world and the sources that survive for individual members of the imperial family. Within the wider framework of lecture-based classes (twice-weekly, shared with CLH2006) that address the general issues raised by the study of Roman emperors and empresses, CLH3006 students will examine particular case studies of evidence drawn from the Severan imperial dynasty in weekly workshops.

Supervision

  • Expansion of Christianity in the late-antique Balkans,300-600 (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Humphries
  • War and Cultural Heritage in Florence, 1943-1946 (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Jonathan Dunnage

Principal archaeological fieldwork

Dr Pollard is an experienced field archaeologist and has worked in many parts of the Roman empire, ranging from the Roman colonia of Glevum (Gloucester) in England to sites on the eastern margins of the empire, such as Koptos (modern Qift) in Egypt and Androna (Andarin) in Syria, taling in sites like Carthage (Tunisia) and Pompeii along the way.

In addition, Dr. Pollard has worked on museum collections and archives including the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (materials from Karanis and Terenouthis in Egypt, and Seleucia-on-the-Tigris in Iraq), the Yale University Art Gallery (Dura-Europos), the UK and US National Archives and the US Air Force Research Agency archive (on Second World War monuments protection). He has also published archaic and Republican pottery from Professor Margareta Steinby’s Lacus Iuturnae excavations in the Forum Romanum, and was heavily involved in the production of the later volumes (4-6) of the Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, an international reference work on ancient Rome.