Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Ulrike Roth

Senior Lecturer

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Education / Academic qualification

Master of Arts, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Dissertation topic: Der Prozess Jesu aus rechtshistorischer Sicht
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Nottingham
Thesis topic: The Female Slave in Roman Agriculture: Changing the Default


Ulrike Roth is an Ancient Historian, specialising in the study of slavery, esp. Roman. She joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in Edinburgh in 2004. Before, she held posts in the University of Wales, Swansea and at King's College London, where she taught both Roman and Greek history. Dr Roth is a historian by training: her alma mater is the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany), whence she graduated in 1997 with a degree in History, Theology and Pedagogy (‘Staatsexamen’).

After graduating, Dr Roth taught German for three years at a sixth-form college in Sussex, ran her own restaurant, and completed a PhD in Ancient History in 2004 at the University of Nottingham on the role of the female slave in Roman agriculture. Dr Roth has continued to work on slavery, which remains the main focus of her research. She has held a number of academic and research management roles at Edinburgh, including REF2014 co-ordinator for Classics (Unit 31), and the headship of Classics, 2011-2015.

Between 2009 and 2015, Dr Roth has served on the Standing Committee of the Council of University Classical Departments. Since 2010, she has been the Honorary Secretary of the British Epigraphy Society. She has reviewed for a number of journals and publishers, including Classical Quarterly and Oxford University Press, and has peer-reviewed applications for various funding bodies, including the AHRC and the Leverhulme Trust. She has herself had twice funding from the British Academy for her research, and has recently been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for her project on child slavery, tenable 2017-2020. Together with Prof. Paul du Plessis from the School of Law, she directs the Ancient Law in Context Research Network.

Research Interests

Dr Roth's research is primarily concerned with the study of slavery, in the Roman, as well as the early medieval world. She is also interested in the study of ancient Italy, especially with regard to the non-Roman peoples of Italy. Beside her current Leverhulme-funded research on child slavery at Rome, Dr Roth is working on Livy's Gallic Sack narrative, completing a monograph that demonstrates that Livy knew a version of the narrative that saw Rome taken in its entirety – but that he evidently chose to offer an alternative (hi)story, thereby ‘saving Rome’ from (the shame of) slavery.

Research students

Dr Roth's PhD students work primarily on a range of topics within the broader field of ancient slavery studies. Recently completed theses, and doctoral projects in progress, include investigations into slave sub-ownership structures at Rome, the (so-called) Sicilian slave rebellions, slaves' cultic activities, literary and legal perceptions of slaves in the Roman world, the role of freedwomen in Roman society, and the use of 'the Classics' in 19th century pro-slavery literature. Dr Roth also supervises on Roman republican, esp. epigraphic topics, and topics related to the (epigraphic) study of the peoples of ancient (so-called 'pre-Roman') Italy.

Dr Roth is happy to receive inquiries from potential PhD students who want to work in the areas of her research expertise.


Research outputs

  1. Review of: A. Rio, Slavery after Rome, 500-1100 (Oxford: OUP, 2017)

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  2. From Helius Afinianus to James Leander Cathcart: Defining public slavery

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

View all (39) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Research workshop: 'Ancient Law in Context Network Meeting', IX; Edinburgh, 1-2 June 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  2. ISOS Annual Public Lecture 2018; Nottingham, 24 April 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  3. Conference paper @ 'Public Slavery Across Time and Space'-conference; Newcastle, 22-24 March 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

View all (30) »

Research projects

  1. The Child Face of Roman Slavery

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

  2. Table Ronde on Ancient Slavery

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

View all (2) »

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