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Dr Edmund Thomas, MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), PGCE (KCL), MSc Econ (Aberystwyth)

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Edmund Thomas is Lecturer in Ancient Visual and Material Culture and Director of the Durham Centre for Classical Reception. His main research interests are Roman architecture and its relation to Roman society and culture and the reception of ancient architectural traditions in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Baroque periods. His book Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age (Oxford University Press) appeared in 2007. He has written articles on the Pantheon and Septizodium in Rome, on Severan architecture and on Roman epigraphy, Roman sarcophagi and architectural aesthetics, and has jointly authored a work on the historical topography of Winchester from the late Iron Age to 1800 for the Historic Towns Atlas series, also to be published by OUP. He has spent lengthy periods of research in Rome and has been involved in archaeological excavations at Butrint in Albania. He is also a qualified archivist and has a special interest in the description and management of architectural drawings. He is presently completing a study of the spirally fluted column in antiquity, sponsored by the British Academy and the Council for British Research in the Levant, and is preparing two books, Words on Buildings: relations between architecture and text since antiquity, and Keystones: dialogues between architecture, philosophy, and politics. He is also co-editing a volume of papers on the materiality of inscribed texts in Greek and Roman antiquity with his colleagues Andrej and Ivana Petrovic, arising from a conference at Durham University in September 2012. Recent papers include a study of the spiral column from antiquity to the Baroque and "The ancient architecture of southern Italy and the music of the cosmos", exploring the connections between Pythagorean ideas and the architecture of Greek temples and ancient arches in southern Italy. He is presently working on the reception of Roman architecture in the Renaissance and the doctrine of the cosmic harmony for an edited volume on cosmic harmony in the Renaissance.

Research Interests

  • Roman Architecture
  • Monumentality
  • Ancient Aesthetics
  • Roman Epigraphy
  • Classicism
  • Roman Sarcophagi
  • Vitruvius
  • Light in Architecture
  • Spirally fluted columns

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Conference papers

  • Thomas, Edmund (1994), The monumentality of the basilica stoa at Thera and Antoninus Pius, in Xavier Dupré i Raventó&s eds, International Association of Classical Archaeology La ciutat en el món romà actes XIV Congrés Internacional d'Arqueologia Clàssica = La ciudad en el mundo romano: actas XIV Congreso Internacional de Arqueología Clásica. Tarragona, Spain, Comitè Organitzador del XIV C.I.A.C., Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Tarragona.

Edited works: conference proceedings

Edited works: contributions

  • Thomas, Edmund (Forthcoming). Reflecting on architecture. In A Companion to Ancient Aesthetics. Destree, Pierre & Murray, Penelope Blackwell.
  • Thomas,Edmund (2015). The beauties of architecture. In A companion to ancient aesthetics. Destree,Pierre & Murray,Penelope Wiley-Blackwell. 274-290.
  • Thomas, Edmund (2013). Introduction: Religious Architecture in the Roman Empire, East and West. In Cities and Gods: Religious Space in Transition. Kaizer, Ted, Leone, Anna, Thomas, Edmund & Witcher, Robert Peeters Publishers. 7-8.
  • Thomas, Edmund (2013). The Severan Period. In A Companion to Roman Architecture. Ulrich, Roger & Quenemoen, Caroline Wiley-Blackwell. 82-105.
  • Thomas, Edmund (2006). 'Atrium', 'Palace', 'Portico', 'Forum'. In The Harvard Companion to the Classical Tradition. Grafton, Anthony, Most, Glenn & Settis, Salvatore Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

  • Thomas, Edmund (2013). Chiasmus in Art and Text. Greece and Rome 60(01): 50-88.
  • Thomas, Edmund (2012). "Nero's Tomb" and the Crisis of the Third Century: Roman Sarcophagi as Public and Private Monuments. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 61/62(Spring/Autumn): 132-151.
  • Thomas, Edmund (1997). The architectural history of the Pantheon in Rome from Agrippa to Septimius Severus via Hadrian. Hephaistos 15(1997): 163-186.
  • Thomas, Edmund & Witschel, Christian (1992). Constructing reconstruction: claim and reality of Roman rebuilding inscriptions in the Latin West. Papers of the British School at Rome 60(1992): 135-177.

Journal papers: online

Other media: research

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