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Edward Watts Edward Watts
Department of History
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive MC 0104
La Jolla , California , 92093-0104
(858) 534-2733
H&SS Room: 4005

Curriculum Vitae

Professor Watts received his PhD in History from Yale University in 2002. His research interests center on the intellectual and religious history of the early Byzantine Empire. His first book, City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria (University of California Press, 2006), details how the increasingly Christian upper class of the late antique world used a combination of economic and political pressures to neutralize pagan elements of the traditional educational system. City and School received the Outstanding Publication Award from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South in 2007. His second book, Riot in Alexandria: Historical Debate in Pagan and Christian Communities (University of California Press, 2010), draws upon Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac sources to show how historical traditions and the personal relationships that gave them meaning shaped interactions between Byzantine social and religious groups. The study reconstructs an Alexandrian riot that erupted in 486 AD and uses this moment of violence to initiate a broader discussion of the effect that notions of a shared past had on the behavior of pagan intellectuals, Christian ascetics, and bishops from the fourth to early seventh centuries. Riot received a 2010 PROSE Award Honorable Mention in Classics and Ancient History. In addition to these two books, he has co-edited two other volumes (From the Theodosians to the Tetrarchs [Cambridge, 2010] and Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity [Ashgate, 2012]) and authored more than 25 articles. He is currently working on two monographs, The Last Pagan Generation and The Social History of Platonism. Before coming to UCSD, Professor Watts taught for ten years at Indiana University. Professor Watts will teach courses on Byzantine History, Roman History, Late Antique Christianity and paganism, and the history of the Medieval Mediterranean.



  • Cith and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria, Transformation of the Classical Heritage Series, (Vol. 41). University of California Press, 2006
  • Riot in Alexandria: Tradition and Group Dynamics in Late Antique Pagan and Christian Communities, (University of California Press, 2010).
  • From the Tetrarchs to the Theodosians: Essays on Later Roman History and Culture, 284-450 CE, Co-edited with Cristiana Sogno and Scott McGill (Cambridge, 2010).
  • Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity, co-editied with David Brakke and Deborah Deliyannis, (Ashgate Publishing, 2012)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Hypatia's Sisters: Female Philosophers in the Foruth and Fifth Centuries," in Within the Circle of Ancient Ideas and Virtues, (Cracow, forthcoming).
  • "Christianization, " in Late Ancient Knowing, ed. C. Chin and M. Vidas, forthcoming.
  • "Athenian Elite Self-Presentation and the Durability of Traditional Cult in Late Antiquity," in Late Roman Cities: Identites, Buildings, and Beliefs, ed. P. Rousseau, (Washington, DC, forthcoming).
  • “The Historical Context: The Rhetorical Use of Suffering in Libanius’ Monodies, Letters, and Autobiography,” in The Cambridge Companion to Libanius, ed. L. van Hoof, (Cambridge, forthcoming).
  • “Libanius on Theodosian Era Temple Violence: Rhetoric and Reality,” in Le vie del sapere nell'area siro -mesopotamica de 3rd al 12the century, ed. C. Noce, et al., forthcoming.
  • “Theodosius II in Egyptian Anti-Chalcedonian Literature,” in Images of Theodosius II, ed. R. Flower and C. Kelly, volume in preparation.
  • “Damascius’ Isidore: A Perfectly Imperfect Philosophical Exemplar,” Byzantina et Slavica Cracoviensia, forthcoming.
  • “Speaking, Thinking, and Socializing: Education in Late Antiquity,” in The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, ed. S. Johnson, (Oxford, 2012), forthcoming.
  • “Translating the Personal Aspect of Late Platonism in the Commentary Tradition,” in Translation and Christianization—Origins of the Latin and Syriac Commentary Tradition, ed. J. Watt and J. Lössl, (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 137-151.
  • “Doctrine, Anecdote, and Action: Reconsidering the Social History of the Last Platonists (c. 430-c. 550 CE),” Classical Philology 106 (2011), pp. 226-244.
  • “John Rufus, Timothy Aelurus and the Fall of the Western Roman Empire,” in Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World, eds. R. Mathisen and D. Shanzer, pp. 97-106, (Ashgate, 2011).
  • “Three Generations of Christian Philosophical Biography,” in From the Tetrarchs to the Theodosians: Essays on Later Roman History and Culture, 284-450 CE, eds. S. McGill, C. Sogno, and E. Watts, (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 117-33.
  • “The Enduring Legacy of the Iatrosophist Gessius,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 49 (2009), pp. 113-134.
  • "Interpreting Catastrophe: Disasters in the historical works of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite, Socrates, Philostorgius, and Timothy Aelurus," Journal of Late Antiquity 2.1 (2009), pp. 79-98.
  • “Creating the Academy: Historical Discourse and the Shape of Community in the Old Academy,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 127 (2007), pp. 106-22.
  • “Creating the Ascetic and Sophistic Mélange: Zacharias Scholasticus and the intellectual influence of Aeneas of Gaza and John Rufus,” ARAM 18-9 (2006-7), pp. 153-64.
  • “The Murder of Hypatia: Acceptable or Unacceptable Violence,” in Violence in Antiquity, ed. H. A. Drake, (Ashgate, 2006), pp. 333-42.
  • “Winning the Intracommunal Dialogues: Zacharias Scholasticus’ Life of Severus,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 13.4 (2005), pp. 437-65.
  • “Where to Live the Philosophical Life in the Sixth Century: Damascius, Simplicius, and the Return from Persia,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 45 (2005), pp. 285-315.
  • “Orality and Communal Identity in Eunapius’ Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers,” Byzantion 75 (2005), pp. 334-61.
  • “The Student Self in Late Antiquity,” in Religion and the Self in Antiquity, eds. David Brakke et al., (Bloomington, IN, 2005), pp. 234-52.
  • “An Alexandrian Christian Response to Fifth-century Neoplatonic Influence,” in The Philosopher and Society in Late Antiquity: Essays in Honour of Peter Brown, ed. Andrew Smith, (Swansea, 2005), pp. 215-229.
  • “Justinian, Malalas, and the End of Athenian Philosophical teaching in A.D. 529,” Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004), pp. 168-83.
  • “Student Travel to Intellectual Centers: What was the Attraction?,” in Travel, Communication and Geography in Late Antiquity, ed. Linda Ellis and Frank L. Kidner, (Ashgate, 2004), pp. 13-23.
  • “The Late Antique Student’s Perspective on Educational Life,” New England Classical Journal 27 (2000), pp. 73-78.
  • “The Motifs of Imperial Authority in the Portraiture of Arcadius,” Brown Classical Journal 11 (1997), pp. 29-34.

Teaching Fields

  • Byzantine History
  • Roman History
  • Greek Intellectual Culture from the Second Sophistic to the Reign of Heraclius
  • Late Antique Religious, Social, and Intellectual History
  • Coptic Christianity

Courses Taught

  • Byzantine History
  • Roman History
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean
  • Late Antique Paganism
  • The Last Pagan Generation
  • The Making of Late Antiquity 
  • The Late Antique Near East
  • Anti-Chalcedonian Egypt