Professor John North appointed Acting Director of the Institute of Classical Studies

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Image of Professor John NorthDistinguished classical scholar Professor John North has been appointed as the Acting Director of the Institute of Classical Studies, one of the 10 prestigious research institutes that make up the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.

Professor North, who is Emeritus Professor of History and former Head of the History Department at University College London, will assume the Directorship in an acting capacity from 1 January 2012.

The Institute of Classical Studies is a powerful centre for classics in the UK. It is home to one of the most important classical studies libraries in the world, with more than 125,000 volumes, held by the Institute jointly with the Societies for the Promotion of Hellenic and of Roman Studies. It organises an extensive programme of seminars and events and also hosts several independent societies: the British School at Athens, the Classical Association, and the Joint Association of Classical Teachers.

Professor Roger Kain, Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to make such an excellent appointment. Professor North brings with him a wealth of experience and scholarly expertise, which will prove an invaluable asset as the Institute continues to evolve and prosper.”

Commenting on his appointment, Professor North said: “The Institute of Classical Studies has made and must continue to make a vital contribution to the study of the Classical world throughout the country and to promoting international contacts; I look forward enthusiastically to maintaining and developing that contribution.”

John North did his first degree in Greats at the Queen’s College, Oxford, before going on to complete his doctorate on the relation of politics and religion in republican Rome. He taught for 40 years at University College London and was Head of the History Department from 1992 until 1997 and from 2000 until 2002. In 2003 he was made an Honorary Fellow of UCL and was elected Emeritus Professor of History.

Professor North’s research interests lie in the religious history of Rome, in particular in the place of ritual activity in traditional pagan life, in the development of pagan religion in contact with alternative religions from the 2nd century BC onwards, and, more recently, in the religious activities of Roman slaves. He is joint director of the AHRC-funded Festus Lexicon Project, which aims to produce a new text, translation and commentary on the preserved parts of Festus and on the résumé of Paul the Deacon.

His recent work includes: The Religious History of the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews and Christians (edited, with S.R.F. Price) Oxford (2011); ‘Pursuing Democracy’ in Rome and the Mediterranean World, eds.  Alan Bowman et al. British Academy (2002);  ‘Caesar at the Lupercalia’, in Journal of Roman Studies 98 (2008), 144-60; ‘Ancient History, past and present’, in A. Erskine (ed.)  Blackwell’s Companion to Ancient History. Malden MA and Oxford (2009), 89-98; ‘Pagan Ritual and Monotheism’, in S. Mitchell and P. van Nuffelen  (eds.), One God: Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire. Cambridge and New York (2010); ‘Lex Domitia revisited’, in J.H. Richardson and F Santangelo (eds). Priests and State in the Roman World. Stuttgart (2011), 39-62.

For further information please contact:

Dee Burn
Head of Communications and External Relations
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8670; Email:

Notes for editors:

  • The Institute of Classical Studies, founded in 1953, is a national and international research centre for the study of the languages, literature, history, art, archaeology and philosophy of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It provides an internationally renowned research library available to scholars from universities throughout the world, in association with the Hellenic and Roman Societies, and is the meeting place of the main Classics organisations in the UK.
  • The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and The Warburg Institute.