Portrait of Dr Christopher Burden-Strevens

Dr Christopher Burden-Strevens

Lecturer in Ancient History

About

Dr Christopher Burden-Strevens is a specialist in the history and historiography of the Roman Republic. He received a First Class Honours degree in Latin and Ancient Greek with French from the University of Glasgow, where he was awarded the Cowan Medal and the Ramsay Medal for graduating top of his year, as well as the Coulter Prize in Classics for producing the best undergraduate dissertation in the Arts & Humanities cohort. 

After his undergraduate MA, Christopher was awarded an Exhibition to study comparative philology of ancient languages at Balliol College, Oxford. In 2012 he joined the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators project at Glasgow, as one of its funded PhD students, completing his doctorate in 2015 on rhetoric in the Greek historiographers of the Roman Republic.
After completing his PhD, Christopher worked first as a Teaching Fellow in Classics at the University of Glasgow and was then appointed Lecturer in Roman History at Durham, where he won a distinguished service award. 

Christopher joined the University of Kent in 2017. As a native of the county, he particularly welcomes opportunities to engage with local schools and outreach initiatives.  

Research interests

Christopher is interested in the political history of the Late Republic, Latin and Greek historiography (especially its rhetorical dimensions), ancient education, and Early Roman history. He welcomes contact from current and prospective research students and is always eager to discuss these topics in person over coffee. 

In spring 2019, Christopher will undertake a short residency at the Hardt Foundation in Geneva, having received a Scholarship for Young Researchers. The purpose of this visit is to prepare his forthcoming monograph, Cassius Dio’s Speeches and the Transformation of the Res Publica, for press in 2020. 

His most recent publication, Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome, appeared in edited format with Brill in November 2018. Along with Dr Roman Frolov from Yaroslav’ State University, Russia, Christopher will be hosting a conference on Roman political initiative in Bielefeld, Germany, in July 2019, funded by the Humboldt Foundation and the University of Kent. 

Christopher peer-reviews for several academic journals, including Histos, Historia, Athenaeum, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Revue de Philologie, and The Classical Review.  

Christopher is a member of the Artefacts and Society research cluster.

Teaching

At undergraduate level, Christopher teaches Republican and Imperial Roman history, Latin and Ancient Greek (beginners), ancient historiography, and Roman civilisation.

At postgraduate level, he co-ordinates and teaches the MA in Ancient history and Archaeology the University's Rome School of Classical and Renaissance Studies, as well as teaching core modules in postgraduate research skills.

Publications

Book section

  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2018). ’Introduction’. In: Burden-Strevens, C. W. and Lindholmer, M. O. eds. Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome. Leiden & Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 1-23. Available at: https://brill.com/abstract/title/39300.
  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2017). Reconstructing Republican Oratory in Cassius Dio’s Roman History. In: Steel, C. E. W., Balbo, A., Marshall, R. and Gray, C. eds. Reading Republican Oratory: Reconstructions, Contexts, Receptions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 117-143.
  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2016). Fictitious speeches, envy, and the habituation to authority: writing the collapse of the Roman Republic. In: Lange, C. H. and Madsen, J. M. eds. Cassius Dio: Greek Intellectual and Roman Politician. Leiden: Brill, pp. 193-216. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004335318.
  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2015). Ein völlig romanisierter Mann? Identity, Identification, and Integration in the Roman History of Cassius Dio and in Arrian. In: Roselaar, S. ed. Processes of Cultural Change and Integration in the Roman World. Leiden: Brill, pp. 287-306.

Edited book

  • Burden-Strevens, C.W. and Lindholmer, M.O. eds. (2018). Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome. [Online]. Leiden & Boston: Brill. Available at: https://brill.com/abstract/title/39300.
    In a radical change of approach, Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome illuminates the least explored and understood part of Cassius Dio’s enormous Roman History: the first two decads, which span over half a millennium of history and constitute a quarter of Dio’s work. Combining literary and historiographical perspectives with source-criticism and textual analysis for the first time in the study of Dio’s early books, this collection of chapters demonstrates the integral place of ‘early Rome’ within the text as a whole and Dio’s distinctive approach to this semi-mythical period. By focussing on these hitherto neglected portions of the text, this volume seeks to further the ongoing reappraisal of one of Rome’s most significant but traditionally under-appreciated historians.

Review

  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2016). Review Discussion: Historical Knowledge and Historiographical Narratives in the Severan Period. Histos [Online] 10:9-18. Available at: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/histos/documents/2016RD02Burden-StrevensonKemezis.pdf.

Thesis

Forthcoming

  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2019). The Republican Dictatorship: an Imperial Perspective. In: Cassius Dio and the Late Republic. Brill Academic Publishers.
    This chapter proposes to look at one of the less studied aspects of Cassius Dio’s narrative of the decline of the Republic, namely the dictatorship. It argues that, in keeping with his especial interest in the Republic’s institutions and constitutional framework, Dio believed that the collapse of the res publica and emergence of Augustus’ Principate was intimately connected to the failures—constitutional, practical, and reputational—of Rome’s emergency magistracy. It shows that as a monarchist, Dio believed that the Republic could only survive intact while it had a temporary recourse to legitimate and temporary monarchy under restrictions agreed by the community—dictatorship—and that this view perhaps emerges more from a reading of Cicero than from his fellow Greek historians. However, the failure of the dictatorship to inspire confidence in the wake of Sulla, especially in the 60s and 50s BCE, as well as its practical and legal restrictions, led to a greater number of corrosive extraordinary commands and other destructive innovations. The solution, for Dio, ultimately lay in Augustus, who (like Pompey) recognised the flaws in the dictatorship and found different ways to define his power.
  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2018). From Republic to Principate. The Classical Review [Online] 69:1-5. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/classical-review.
  • Burden-Strevens, C. (2018). A Study of Cassius Dio: Fifty Years On. The Classical Review [Online] 69:1-5. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/classical-review.
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