Chris MowatDr Chris Mowat

B.A., M.A. (Manchester), Ph.D. (Newcastle)

Teaching Associate in Ancient History

Roman Republican History; Roman Religion; Gender and Sexuality.

+44 (0)114 22 22598 | Jessop West 1.11

Semester Two 2018/19 Office Hours: Tuesdays 14:00-16:00 



Chris Mowat is a Teaching Associate in Ancient History. They have just completed their Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle on the relationship between gendered identities and divination practice in the late Roman Republic. They are particularly interested in the history of gender and sexuality, in both the ancient world as well as the modern, and in religious identities in the ancient world.


Current Research

Chris’ research focuses on the intersection between gender and religious identities in the Roman Republic. Their Ph.D. research used the theoretical starting point of performativity in order to understand how gender and divinatory identities each influenced the construction of the other in the late Roman Republic.

They are also interested in the ways in which we can talk about (modern) categories of gender and sexual identities in the past, and the language we use to talk about non-normative identities. They are currently developing a research project on non-binary gender identities in the Roman world.



'An intersex manifesto: Naming the non-binary constructions of the ancient world', (under review).

'A study in spontaneity: Some notes on the divinatory handbook P.Ryl. 28', Religion in the Roman Empire 2.3 (2016), pp. 415-440.


Module Leader

HST2507 The Roman Republic and the making of Roman Italy (500-90 BC) 

Around 90 BC, after an alliance with the Romans which had lasted centuries, the Italians decided to revolt against Rome, and were subsequently offered Roman citizenship if they laid down their arms. Italian enfranchisement represented a phase of a long process of co-existence and integration in the same geographical area of a variety of peoples and communities with extremely different languages, institutions and cultures, including Greeks and Etruscans, within a framework increasingly dominated by Rome.

The "Italian question" is one of the key elements for our comprehension of the history of Republican Rome, and it had profound consequences in the social and political crisis which led to the fall of the Republic and the institution of Imperial autocracy. How should we understand this long process of integration, its factors, and the immense cultural change it has caused? This module will present an introduction to the different peoples in ancient Italy, but it will also analyse the early history of Rome and how the Roman Republic conquered and controlled the peninsula, and with what consequences.


HST3184/3185 From Julius Caesar to Augustus: Rome’s Revolution (89 BC-14 AD)

Did the Romans really believe in their gods? We know from the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero that some of them did not and there are cynical statements showing that some of them recognised the importance of religion for controlling their compatriots, choosing to see or not see supernatural events and prodigies depending on their political aims.

Yet religion for the Romans was all-pervasive. Every public act was also a religious one. The Greek historian Polybius described the Romans as the most religious of peoples, and we have countless documents of acts of worship towards the gods. What was the role of individuals in a religion which has been so frequently characterised in modern scholarship as formal, merely public, and essentially empty?

This module will look at the history, the institutions, the cultic practices and the most important deities of Roman religions. We will also look at religious change, discussing the introduction of gods from other places, the related question of religious tolerance, and the worship of Roman Emperors.


HST6074 Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses 

The Greeks and the Romans were, like the great majority of peoples in the ancient world, polytheist, i.e. they had many gods and goddesses. These divinities were omnipresent, and they played important roles from essential issues of public interest to the most mundane aspects of human life. In this module we will explore how we should understand these divinities, looking at different ancient sources, including mythological stories, temples, cults and votive gifts. We will consider the relationship between Roman and Greek divinities, placed very early in an established system of mutual translations (e.g. Venus = Aphrodite). We will also examine how modern scholars have looked at ancient gods and goddesses.

The two main historiographical approaches to ancient gods have been either studying all the evidence on a specific divinity in a monograph, or considering groups of divinities as structures. We will see the advantages and the disadvantages of both approaches, and discuss alternative methodologies, such as considering gods and goddesses through their association with concepts. Finally, we will see how allegory has allowed ancient gods to survive antiquity and thrive in Medieval and Renaissance art and literature.


Public Engagement

Public Engagement

Chris considers outreach and knowledge sharing beyond the campus to be an important aspect of their academic research. Until recently, they were the Public Day Coordinator of the LGBT History Project NE, and they keep links with the organisation.

In the Media

Chris has blogged for NOTCHES - (re)marks on the history of sexuality. You can find their posts here.

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

To follow