I am an ancient historian, currently based in Essex. I studied at the University of Nottingham, where a received my PhD in 2011. Since leaving Nottingham I have taught courses on Roman history at University College London, and the University of Kent.
I specialise in Roman history, and particularly the last decades of the Republic and the rise of the Principate. Above all, however, I am fascinated by religion in the Roman world. This includes not only the more famous and well-established customs of the Roman state, but also the religious activities of private households and individuals, and even the religions of barbarian nations which drew so much comment from curious Roman onlookers. The cults of Mithras, Isis, Druidism and Bacchus have all featured in my research.
In recent years I have developed what some have described as an 'unhealthy' interest in Roman attitudes towards dirt and impurity, both within religious settings and more widely in Roman society. This was the subject of my doctoral thesis, and has provided me with an extensive range of memorable (albeit generally unpleasant) anecdotes about Roman dirt and hygiene.
I am currently researching this subject further, and am focusing on the uses of dirtiness as a means of attacking groups or individuals in Roman society. At times, slaves, women, enemies and those involved in unclean trades, such as undertakers and executioners, were all criticised or denigrated in Latin literature using the language of impurity, a language which marked them out as different, dangerous or otherwise 'lower' than those who existed at the centre of Roman society.