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Dr Shaun Tougher 


Emperor and Author: the Writings of Julian the Apostate - Whilst the life and reign of Julian the last pagan Roman emperor (361–363) has been much studied, his own writings (e.g. panegyrics; speeches; hymns; satires; letters) have not been subjected to sufficient study in their own right. This project aims to address this gap in Julian studies. The main aim of the project is to hold a conference at which speakers will address all of Julian’s writings, each speaker taking an individual text or set of texts. The proceedings of this conference will be published.

The Byzantine Family: the Case of the Macedonian Dynasty - Compared to its Greek and Roman antecedents the Byzantine family has been inadequately studied. This project intends to consider the nature of the Byzantine family through the case of the imperial family of the Macedonians, from Basil I in the ninth century to Zoe in the eleventh. It will result in the first monograph devoted to the dynasty as a whole. The main aim of the project is to produce a monograph on the Macedonian Dynasty. However the aim is also to encourage wider research into the Byzantine family. A strand on the subject has already been organised for the IMC at Leeds in July 2007.

Eunuchs of the Roman Empire - In recent years there has been a dramatic rise in interest in the subject of eunuchs in world history. Eunuchs who have received particular attention are those of the Chinese and Byzantine empires, the castrati singers, the Christian Skoptsy of Russia, and the Hijras of modern India. Much of this interest has stemmed from the flourishing of gender studies as an academic discipline. There clearly exists also a more widespread and popular fascination with the subject of eunuchs, which has led to the publication of some more general books, such as Scholz’s Eunuchs and Castrati: A Cultural History (2001). These general books can however be problematic, as sometimes the expertise of the author is not sufficient to provide a reliable or critical guide to such a broad range of history. As yet no book has focused exclusively on Roman eunuchs. This projects aims to fill the gap. As the reaction to the recent discovery of the skeleton of a Roman eunuch at Catterick demonstrates, there is a huge general interest in the subject: there was extensive media coverage, including an item on Richard and Judy on Channel 4. A number of important academic books and articles on Roman eunuchs do exist, but they focus on individual groups or aspects, such as the self-castrating priests of the goddess Cybele (known as the Galli) (e.g. Mary Beard), Favorinus the intersex sophist from Gaul (e.g. Maud Gleason), the powerful court eunuchs of the later Roman empire (e.g. Keith Hopkins), and the place of castration in early Christianity (e.g. Walter Stevenson). The only general sustained treatment of Roman eunuchs is in Peter Guyot’s Eunuchen als Sklaven und Freigelassene in der griechisch-römischen Antike (1980). Thus there is ample scope for an accessible and wide-ranging treatment of Roman eunuchs in a single volume. The main aim of the project is to produce a monograph on eunuchs in the Roman empire (3rd century BC to 6th century AD).

Research Groups

Centre For Late Antique Religion & Culture (CLARC)

This centre promotes and supports the study of late antique religion and culture from the late Hellenistic Period to the early Middle Ages, also in relation to earlier and later periods, in particular Classical Antiquity and the modern world.