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Professor Alan Bowman FBA

Classics and Ancient History
Alan Bowman profile picture

About this Fellow

At Oxford University, Professor Bowman has held the posts of Student (tutorial fellow) of Christ Church (1977-2002), Camden Professor of Ancient History (2002-9) and Principal of Brasenose College (2010-5). His main area of research is the social and economic history of the Roman Empire, with a particular interest in the documentary evidence of the Greek papyri for Egypt and of the Vindolanda Writing-tablets for northern Britain. He also has a strong interest in digital scholarship and Information Technology as it relates to the visualisation and decipherment of damaged documents. He was the founder of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents at the University of Oxford and served as Director until 2018. Major research projects in which he is currently involved are:

- The Corpus of Greek and Bilingual Inscriptions of Ptolemaic Egypt (CPI), an updated edition of about 600 inscriptions from Egypt between Alexander the Great and the death of Kleopatra.

The Oxford Roman Economy Project, quantifying growth and decline in the economic performance of the Roman empre from c. 200 BC to AD 350.

The Vindolanda Writing-Tablets, continuing work on imaging and deciphering unpublished tablets Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Vol.IV, Part 1, The Wooden Writing-tablets.

He was Vice-President (Humanities) of the British Academy from 2014-2018.




Current post

  • Former Principal and Camden Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, Brasenose College, University of Oxford

Past Appointments

  • Lecturer in Ancient History, University of Manchester, 1972 - 1977
  • Student, Christ Church University of Oxford, 1977
  • Lecturer in Ancient History, University of Oxford, 1977
  • Camden Professor of Ancient History, University of Oxford, 2002
  • Student of Christ Church and University Lecturer in Ancient History, University of Oxford, University of Oxford, 1977
  • Former Principal and Camden Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, Brasenose College University of Oxford, 2015
  • Camden Professor of Ancient History, University of Oxford and Fellow of Brasenose College, University of Oxford, 2002

British Academy Appointments

  • Vice-President Humanities, 2014 -


Artefacts and Images of the Ancient World 2005

Egypt after the Pharaohs 1986

Agriculture in Egypt, from Pharaonic to modern times (_PBA_ 96, 1999)

The Vindolanda writing tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses III) 2003

The Roman Agricultural Economy: Organization, Investment, and Production 2013

Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier. Vindolanda and its People 2003, rev. ed.

Other Classical Antiquity Fellows

Professor Richard Hunter

Greek and Latin literature, particularly of the Hellenistic and imperial periods, and the ancient reception and criticism of classical texts

Professor Eleanor Dickey

Greek and Latin languages and literature; ancient scholarship; ancient bilingualism and second-language learning; politeness and forms of address in Latin and Greek; sociolinguistics of ancient languages

Professor Robert Fowler

Greek historiography and mythography; Greek epic poetry; Greek lyric poetry; History of Classical Scholarship