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Dr Kate Gilliver

Dr Kate Gilliver

Reader in Ancient History

+44 (0)29 2087 4258
4.04, John Percival Building
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Roman military historian and archaeologist with particular interests in the conduct of war and the practicalities of waging war in the Roman world from the second Punic war to the third century AD. I have published on the Roman Art of War, display and uniformity in Roman military equipment, and on temporary encampments.

More recently I have concentrated on pedagogic issues, including the introduction and adoption of alterative approaches to teaching, particularly flipped and active learning, and innovative assessments that blend degree specific knowledge and analysis with creativity and enterprise.

I am Academic Lead for Assessment and Feedback for the University


I grew up in Dorchester, the Roman town of Durnovaria, and with regular visits to museums, archaeological sites and studying local history in school, perhaps not surprisingly fell in love with everything Roman at an early age. I spent a year working as a volunteer at Dorset County Museum before studying Classics & Classical Archaeology at King’s College London (1984-88), then progressing to my PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL (1988-92). After a year as a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome I arrived in Cardiff as a lecturer in Ancient History in 1993.

My research interests focus on the Roman army and Roman warfare. My PhD thesis on The Roman Art of War: theory and practice led to further work on war crimes, brutality and massacres in Roman warfare, and on Roman campaign camps, the latter leading to a collaboration with the Brecon Beacons National Park to enhance visitor experience at Roman military sites near Sennybridge.

In teaching, I am a strong advocate of alternative approaches to learning. I employ role-play seminars to encourage students to study events such as the Neronian fire of AD64 or themes such as interactions between soldiers and civilians from different perspectives, and have introduced flipped learning and active small group work in my modules.

I am Academic Lead for Assessment and Feedback for the University, Academic Lead for the Digital Learning Environment Review, including the introduction of Blackboard Ultra Courses as the new Virtual Learning Environnment, and support the School of History, Archaeology & Religion in teaching and pedagogic development.

Outside of the University, I am a keen hill and mountain walker, and since 2011 have been an operational hill member of Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team.

Education and qualifications

1993 PhD, Institute of Archaeology, University College London

1988 BA (Classics and Classical Archaeology), King's College London

Career overview

1993– Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader in Ancient History, Cardiff University

1992–93 Rome Scholar, British School at Rome

Notable achievements

I am a regular contributor to TV programmes on aspects of Roman history, particularly the Roman army and warfare. These appearances include:

  • National Geographic channel Ancient Technology, 2006
  • UK History series War Women, 2003

Historical Consultant for the BBC Timewatch documentary Roman Soldiers to Be, 2001, which looked at the training of Roman soldiers through the words of the fourth-century military writer Vegetius, and the eyes (and suffering) of nine civilian volunteers who spent a week training and camping during the wettest winter on record.

Speaking engagements

  • Don't let your EdTech Tools Use You, 2021, Education Technology seminar panelist
  • Classroom Flipping, Cardiff Met, 2017
  • The Good, the Bad and the Consequences: Martial Values and Roman Warfare, Annual Caerleon Lecture, 2007
  • Decimation in the Roman Army, Classics Department research seminar, University of South Africa, 2005
  • Display in Roman Warfare, Classical Association of South Africa Conference, Pretoria, 2005
  • Battlefield Virtuosi: Courage and Display in Roman Warfare, Classical Association, University of Leeds, 2003



  • Prytherch, Z. et al. 2018. Evaluation of student engagement with differential media for Flipped Classroom teaching. Presented at: EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, Amsterdam, 25-29 June 2018 Presented at Bastiaens, T. et al. eds.Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) pp. 1923-1928.


  • Gilliver, K. 2012. Roman legions. In: Martel, G. ed. The Encyclopedia of War. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. -.
  • Gilliver, K. 2012. Gaius Julius Caesar. In: Martel, G. ed. The Encyclopedia of War. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. -.






At present my teaching is limited to Y2/3 option modules as I am on a part-time secondment from Ancient History, but I have taught on the following modules in the past, contributing to themes on Roman political and social history, and Roman archaeology.

  • Investigating the Ancient World, Skills & Evidence
  • The Ancient World in 20 Objects
  • Introduction to Ancient History 2: Empires East & West
  • The Roman Revolution
  • Roman Imperial History
  • Life in Ancient Rome
  • The Roman Army
  • Independent 2nd Year Study
  • Final Year Dissertation


I am available to supervise research students in the following areas:

  • Roman Warfare
  • The Roman Army

External profiles

Research links