Dr Adrastos Omissi
- Lecturer (Classics)
I am a specialist in the later Roman Empire (3rd-5th centuries AD), and my research has focussed on three key themes: the late Empire's civil wars, the corpus of late Roman panegyric, and the question of collective memory and of attempts to control or prohibit memorialisation (the so called damnatio memoriae).
My book Emperors and Usurpers: Civil war, panegyric, and the construction of legitimacy in the Later Roman Empire (Oxford Studies in Byzantium. Oxford: 2018), unites these three interests and constitutes an exploration of the civil wars of the Roman Empire, from the accession of the emperor Diocletian (284) until the death of the emperor Theodosius (395). The book approaches this work with an eye on the question of memory and memorialisation, and takes as its starting point the considerable problem that all Roman civil wars are described in sources written by the victors. Embracing this problem, rather than attempting to overcome it, the book explores how victorious regimes sought to blacken their defeated enemies and to control the way that the past was remembered and commemorated. I use panegyric as my primary source and not only provide the first comprehensive account of the late Empire's civil wars, but advance a detailed thesis for how legitimacy and imperial authority were conceived in the Roman Empire.
My interest in panegyric has also led me to co-edit a volume on panegyric in the later Roman Empire, Panegyric from Diocletian to Honorius (Liverpool University Press, 2020). This book, a collection of articles from an international body of leading scholars in the field of panegyric studies, unites this rather disparate field through its comparative approach, bringing together scholars working on every author and collection within the corpus of late Roman panegyric and exploring what was distinct about the medium in this period.
For the future, my work will explore the role of civil war in the unravelling of Roman imperial power in the western Mediterranean.
British Academy Small Grant
Principal’s Early Career Mobility Scheme, University of Glasgow
Institute of Classical Studies Public Engagment Grant
British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in History
I would be very keen to supervise students working in any aspect of late Roman, Late Antique, or early Byzantine history, particularly students working on political culture, imperial representation, or the military establishment. My own future work will be exploring the emergence of Romano-Germanic culture and the interactions between Romans and barbarians, and I would likewise be particularly interested to support individuals looking to do research in these areas.
Current PhD topics:
- The Suicide Taboo: The Emergence of Suicidal Shame in Christian Late Antiquity
- Rituals of Power: The Roman Imperial Admission from the Severans to the Fourth Century
Classical Civilisation 1B (pre-honours)
Classical Civilisation 2B (pre-honours)
Latin Level 1 (pre-honours)
Latin Level 2 (pre-honours)
Roman Warfare (honours)
Ancient Warfare (honours)
The Later Roman Empire, 270-400 (honours)
Imperium Indivisum: The Collapse of the West Roman Empire in the Fifth Century AD (honours)