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Dr Edmund Thomas

Associate Professor

MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), PGCE (KCL), MSc Econ (Aberystwyth)

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Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History201 38 North Bailey 
Member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture  
Departmental Rep (Classics) of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


Edmund Thomas is Associate Professor in Ancient Visual and Material Culture and Director of the Durham Centre for Classical Reception. His main research interests are Roman architecture and its relation to Roman society and culture and the reception of ancient architectural traditions in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Baroque periods. His book Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age (Oxford University Press) appeared in 2007. He has written articles on the Pantheon and Septizodium in Rome, on Severan architecture and on Roman epigraphy, Roman sarcophagi and architectural aesthetics, and has jointly authored a work on the historical topography of Winchester from the late Iron Age to 1800 for the Historic Towns Atlas series, also to be published by OUP. He has spent lengthy periods of research in Rome and has been involved in archaeological excavations at Butrint in Albania. He is also a qualified archivist and has a special interest in the description and management of architectural drawings. He is presently completing a study of the spirally fluted column in antiquity, sponsored by the British Academy and the Council for British Research in the Levant, and is preparing two books, Words on Buildings: relations between architecture and text since antiquity, and Keystones: dialogues between architecture, philosophy, and politics. He co-edited volumes of papers on the materiality of inscribed texts in Greek and Roman antiquity with Andrej and Ivana Petrovic and on interactions between animals and humans in classical antiquity with Thorsten Foegen. He is now co-editing a volume on the legacy of Plato's Timaeus between Late Antiquity and the Renaissance with Jacomien Prins. Recent papers include a study of palace descriptions in first- and second-century Latin literature and their relation to "Baroque" architecture; a consideration of the reception of the Elder Piny's account of Gaius Curio's revolving theatres in the architecture of Bernini; an analysis of movement in Jean de la Roque's description of Baalbek; and a survey of seasonality in imperial Roman architecture.

Research interests

  • Roman Architecture
  • Monumentality
  • Roman Epigraphy
  • Ancient Aesthetics
  • Roman Sarcophagi
  • Classicism
  • Vitruvius
  • Light in Architecture
  • Spirally fluted columns


Authored book

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Thomas, Edmund (1994), The monumentality of the basilica stoa at Thera and Antoninus Pius, in Xavier Dupré i Raventó&s eds, International Association of Classical Archaeology La ciutat en el món romà actes XIV Congrés Internacional d'Arqueologia Clàssica = La ciudad en el mundo romano: actas XIV Congreso Internacional de Arqueología Clásica. Tarragona, Spain, Comitè Organitzador del XIV C.I.A.C., Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Tarragona.

Conference Proceeding

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Supervision students