Photo of Simon LosebyDr Simon Loseby

B.A. (Oxon.), M.A. (York), D.Phil. (Oxon.)

Senior Lecturer in History

Late antique and early medieval history and archaeology, especially cities; exchange-systems; Gaul/Francia; the Mediterranean; Gregory of Tours

s.t.loseby@sheffield.ac.uk

+44 (0)114 22 22562 | Jessop West room 3.15

Semester Two Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:15-13:00 and Wednesdays 13:00-14:00

Profile

Biography

Simon Loseby read Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University as an undergraduate before taking an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of York. He then returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate, holding a junior research fellowship at St. Annes College (1991-93) and a Bowra Fellowship at Wadham College (1993-95), the latter in conjunction with a British Academy post-doctoral research fellowship. He has been a lecturer in medieval history at the University of Sheffield since 1995, and has published in particular on various aspects of late antique and early medieval urbanism and exchange-networks in Frankish Gaul and the Mediterranean.

Research

Research

Simon's current research is dominated by the writing up of a monograph, Marseille in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, to be published by Oxford University Press, as well as assorted articles on late antique and early medieval towns and trade. He intends to write a further monograph on Provence in the same period, the project for which he was formerly awarded a British Academy PDF, and a general book on late antique urbanism, while also undertaking further work on various aspects of the fascinating world of Gregory of Tours.

Simon's research interests include all aspects of the history and archaeology of late antiquity and the early middle ages (c.300 - c.900) and the transition from the ancient to the medieval world, but in particular cities, exchange-networks, the Mediterranean world, late Roman and Frankish Gaul, and the writings of Gregory of Tours.

Research Supervision

Simon is keen to supervise students working in any of the areas above, and especially welcomes applicants interested in late antique urbanism, interregional exchange, or any aspect of Frankish Gaul.

Chrissy Davison - Late Antique Cities in the Rhineland: a Comparative Study of Trier and Cologne in the Fourth to Fifth centuries.

James Chetwood - The Transformation of English Personal Naming and Social Change, 800-1300.

Further information on research opportunities within the department.

Publications

Full list of Publications

Books

Towns in Transition: Urban Evolution in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, (co-edited with N. Christie) (Aldershot, 1996), including 'Arles in Late Antiquity: Gallula Roma Arelas and urbs Genesii', pp. 45-70.

This comparative study takes a radical look at the survival, evolution and development of towns between AD 300 and AD 1000. The studies in this volume show that Roman towns long outlasted the Empire, and the so-called dark ages were a time of significant development in urban character and life. This contrasts with the popular view that this turbulent period was one of major depopulation, social upheaval and economic decline. It has been assumed that it marked a clear break between the Roman concept of a town and the medieval model. The contributions cover the complete geographical span of the Roman Empire and together provide an authoritative guide to the variations in survival from the Roman to the medieval.

Book Chapters

'Lost cities: the end of the civitas-system in Frankish Gaul', in S.Diefenbach and G.M.Müller (eds.) Gallien in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter: Kulturgeschichte einer Region, (Millennium-Studien 43) (Berlin/Boston, 2013), 223-52.

Loseby Gallien book cover'Lost cities: the end of the civitas-system in Frankish Gaul', in S.Diefenbach and G.M.Müller (eds.) Gallien in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter: Kulturgeschichte einer Region, (Millennium-Studien 43) (Berlin/Boston, 2013), 223-52.

The period from the 5th to the 7th century AD was characterised by far-reaching structural changes that affected the entire west of the Roman Empire. This process used to be regarded by scholars as part of the dissolution of Roman order, but in current discussions it is now examined more critically. The contributions to this volume of conference papers combine approaches from history and literature studies in order to review the changing forms and fields of the establishment of collective identities, and to analyse them in their mutual relationships.

'Post-Roman economies', in W.Scheidel (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy (Cambridge, 2012), 334-60.

Loseby Roman Economy book cover'Post-Roman economies', in W.Scheidel (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy (Cambridge, 2012), 334-60.

This book offers readers a comprehensive and innovative introduction to the economy of the Roman Empire. Focusing on the principal determinants, features and consequences of Roman economic development and integrating additional web-based materials, it is designed as an up-to-date survey that is accessible to all audiences. Five main sections discuss theoretical approaches drawn from economics, labor regimes, the production of power and goods, various means of distribution from markets to predation, and the success and ultimate failure of the Roman economy. The book not only covers traditionally prominent features such as slavery, food production and monetization but also highlights the importance of previously neglected aspects such as the role of human capital, energy generation, rent-taking, logistics and human wellbeing, and convenes a group of five experts to debate the nature of Roman trade.

'Mediterranean cities', in P. Rousseau (ed.) A Companion to Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2009), 139-55.

'Mediterranean cities', in P. Rousseau (ed.) A Companion to Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2009), 139-55.

An accessible and authoritative overview capturing the vitality and diversity of scholarship that exists on the transformative time period known as late antiquity.

'Ceramics and the transformation of the Roman world', M.Bonifay et al (eds.) LRCW 2. Late Roman coarse wares, cooking wares, and amphorae in the Mediterranean: archaeology and archaeometry (BAR 1662, 2 vols., Oxford, 2007), 1-14. 'Ceramics and the transformation of the Roman world', M.Bonifay et al (eds.) LRCW 2. Late Roman coarse wares, cooking wares, and amphorae in the Mediterranean: archaeology and archaeometry (BAR 1662, 2 vols., Oxford, 2007), 1-14.
'Decline and change in the cities of late antique Gaul', in J-U. Krause and C. Witschel (eds.) Die Stadt in der Spätantike – Niedergang oder Wandel? (Historia Einzelscriften 190) (Stuttgart, 2006). Loseby Die Stadt book cover'Decline and change in the cities of late antique Gaul', in J-U. Krause and C. Witschel (eds.) Die Stadt in der Spätantike – Niedergang oder Wandel? (Historia Einzelscriften 190) (Stuttgart, 2006).
'The Mediterranean economy', in P. Fouracre (ed.) The New Cambridge Medieval History vol. 1, 500-700 (Cambridge, 2005).

Loseby New Cambridge book cover'The Mediterranean economy', in P. Fouracre (ed.) The New Cambridge Medieval History vol. 1, 500-700 (Cambridge, 2005).

'Marseille and the Pirenne thesis, II: "ville morte"', in C. Wickham and I. Hansen (eds.) The Long Eighth Century (Leiden, 2000)

Loseby Eighth Century book cover'Marseille and the Pirenne thesis, II: "ville morte"', in C. Wickham and I. Hansen (eds.) The Long Eighth Century (Leiden, 2000)

The eighth century has not been analysed as a period of economic history since the 1930s, and is ripe for a comprehensive reassessment. The twelve papers in this book range over the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean from Denmark to Palestine, covering Francia, Italy and Byzantium on the way. They examine regional economies and associated political structures, that is to say the whole network of production, exchange, and social relations in each area. They offer both authoritative overviews of current work and new and original work. As a whole, they show how the eighth century was the first century when the post-Roman world can clearly be seen to have emerged, in the regional economies of each part of Europe.

'Power and towns in late Roman Britain and early Anglo-Saxon England', in Gisela Ripoll and Josep M. Gurt (eds.) Sedes regiae (ann. 400-800) (Barcelona, 2000).

Journal Articles

'Reflections on urban space: streets through time', Reti Medievali Rivista 12.1 (2011), 3-23.

'Le rôle économique de Marseille pendant l´Antiquité tardive', in M. -P.Rothé and H. Tréziny (eds.) Carte archéologique de la Gaule, 13/3: Marseille et ses alentours (Paris, 2005).

Réseau éphémère: la disparition des villes antiques britanniques et ses implications continentales', in A. Ferdière (ed.) Actes du Colloque « Capitales Éphémères », 25e supplément à la Revue Archéologique du Centre de la France (Poitiers, 2004).

Teaching

Module Leader

The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, HST236 (Level 2 module)

The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, HST236

This module will explore one of the classic problems of world history, conventionally seen in terms of 'decline and fall', but recently reinterpreted in a more positive light with a new emphasis on 'transition', 'transformation', and the cultural diversity of a period now generally known as Late Antiquity. These themes will be explored through a lively historiographical debate, backed up with a wide range of informative and entertaining primary sources, which offer ample scope for the development of Course Assigments. Students will acquire a good general awareness of the last century of the western Roman empire, but will also explore a number of important comparative themes in history such as authority, community and identity, why empires exist, and how they end. No prior knowledge of the period is required.

Ruling After Rome: The First Barbarian Kingdoms, c.470–c.540, HST2032 (Level 2 document module)

Ruling After Rome: The First Barbarian Kingdoms, c.470–c.540, HST2032

The disintegration of the western half of the Roman empire in the course of the fifth century was probably an outcome that no-one had expected or intended, but it created a vast political vacuum that was filled by barbarian kings, who set about turning their existing power-bases into kingdoms: Vandal Africa, Visigothic Spain, Ostrogothic Italy, Frankish Gaul, and Burgundian, well, Burgundy. To do so, they needed to retain the loyalty of the warrior followings that were the basis of their power, while accommodating the interests of long-established provincial Roman elites, who could provide them with legitimacy and practical advice in exchange for the security of their lands and status. The strategies through which the kings satisfied these very different audiences, and the problems that they faced, are the subject of this course.

Gregory of Tours and his World, HST380/381 (Level 3 Special Subject module)

Gregory of Tours and his World, HST380/381

This module invites students to engage with the curious world of Gregory, bishop of the city of Tours in central France in the late sixth century, who wrote a century after the fall of the western Roman empire, in a Frankish kingdom that was arguably the most successful of the states that succeeded it. Fast, furious, and frequently funny, Gregory's writings (all readily available in translation) have long been recognised as among the most important, and certainly the liveliest primary sources to survive from the so-called Dark Ages. Over the last decade Gregory's reputation as a lurid, but rather naive reporter of events has been transformed by a series of studies bringing out the hidden subtleties and coded criticisms in his writings, thereby opening up a range of vigorous and continuing controversies about his methods and motives. Students will approach these debates - and the enigma that is Gregory himself - by looking through the bishop’s eyes at life in the Frankish kingdoms from four perspectives: kingship, the holy, the structure of society, and the wider world. The emphasis throughout will be on close study of the vivid narrative traditionally known as the History of the Franks (but which Gregory called the Histories) backed up with extracts from Gregory’s other writings and those of his contemporaries.

The first group of seminars plunges into the violent and dangerous world of high politics, and looks at Gregory's portrayal of the ideals and realities of Frankish kingship. The second will consider the Church, and the behaviour in life – and after death – of the bishops and saints whose activities Gregory describes in his Wonders and interleaves into his political narrative in the Histories, focussing on Gregory's perception of the holy and how its power works. In the second semester we turn to a number of broader aspects of sixth-century Frankish society, comparing what Gregory tells us about them with the evidence of other contemporary sources, before returning finally to international politics, and, through close study of a particular episode, to Gregory as a historian. No prior knowledge of the period is required for this module, though survivors of the Fall of Rome may be interested in what emerged from the wreckage, and those of Warriors, Saints, and Heroes will recognise a similar world.

The Transformation of the Roman World, HST6842 (Postgraduate module)

The Transformation of the Roman World, HST6842

In around AD350 a vast area stretching from northern Britain to the Arabian desert lay under the authority of the Roman empire. The ensuing centuries saw the fragmentation of this uniquely powerful political entity into smaller units. Traditional perceptions of this period as one of `decline and fall´ have recently been challenged by a new emphasis on the progressive political, religious, cultural and economic transformation of the Roman world. This module explores the lively debates about the nature of the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, and the factors which influenced the different development of the various states which eventually succeeded the Roman empire.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

To follow

In The Media

To follow

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Simon has previously acted as Senior Admissions Tutor and Exams Secretary, and served on the full range of departmental committees and the Faculty of Arts board. He is currently the department’s Unfair Means Officer.