Dr Geoffrey Nathan

Honorary Senior Lecturer
BA U.C. Berkeley, MA Hons Washington, PhD U.C. Los Angeles
School of Humanities & Languages


9385 1251
Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Family and Household Studies, History: Classical Greek and Roman, Classical Greek and Roman History, European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)

Dr. Geoffrey Nathan is a specialist in Late Antique Roman History, although he has written and taught on all periods of the Roman world.  His area of specialisation is social history, focusing on the family and private life.  His critically acclaimed book The Family in Late Antiquity, The Rise of Christianity and the Endurance of Tradition (Routledge 2000), has become the standard work on the subject. His other publications include aspects of Livy's narrative of Rome, step-fathers in the ancient world, the life and career of the late Roman aristocrat Anicia Juliana, and a number of biographies on late imperial notables.  In 2017, he edited (with Sabine Huebner) Mediterrannean Families in Antiquity  (Wiley-Blackwell). Forthcoming in 2018, he will publish four contributions and one article. He is currently working on refugee crises in Late Antiquity.


Dr. Geoffrey (Geoff) Nathan received a BA in History from the University of California (Berkeley), a MA in Medieval History from the University of Washington (cum laude), and a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Prior to coming to UNSW in 2003, he previously taught at U.C.L.A., Western Oregon University and California State University at San Diego.

In 2000, he authored The Family in Late Antiquity (Routledge).  His publications include the recently edited Basileia: Essays in Imperium and Culture (Melbourne 2011).  Currently he is co-editing a book with Sabine Hübner on the the Mediterranean family in the pre-modern world and working on a monograph on Anicia Juliana.

While serving primarily as UNSW's Roman Historian, he also teaches medieval history. Recently, he also teaches into the History first year gateway course and introductory European Studies.



Current research:

Anicia Juliana

Refugees in the Later Roman Empire

Honours and prizes

NEH Summer Scholar, Chapel Hill North Carolina, USA (2017)

Honorary Senior Lecturer, UNSW (2016 - )

Professional contribution


--Basileia. Empire and Culture in Byzantium. Papers in  Honour to Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys, Byzantina Australiensa 17, ed. with Lynda Garland (Melbourne 2011)

--Family in Late Antiquity.  The Rise of Christianity and the Endurance of Tradition, Routledge (London 2000)


Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

--“The Vienna Dioscorides’ dedicatio to Anicia Juliana,” in G. Nathan and L. Garland, eds., The Emperor and Culture in Byzantium. Papers in Honour to Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys, Byzantina Australiensa 17 (Melbourne 2011)

--“‘Woe to those making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless’: Christian Ideals and the Obligations of Stepfathers in Late Antiquity,” in Growing Up Fatherless in Antiquity, S. Huebner and D. Ratzan, eds. (Cambridge 2009)

--“Remapping the Landscape:  Early Christianity and the Graeco-Roman World.  A Review Article,” Journal of Religious Studies Journal of Religious Studies 32, 2008

-- “Pothos ton Philoktistou”:  Anicia Juliana’s Architectural Narratology,”, Byzantine Narrative.  Papers in Honour of Roger Scott, Byzantina Australiensia 16, John Burke et al..eds. (Melbourne 2006),

--"Pudicitia Plebeia Womanly Echoes in the Struggle of the Orders," in “Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History,” Collection Latomus, vol. 11 (2003)

--"The Rogation Ceremonies of Late Antique Gaul:  Creation, Transmission and the Role of the Bishop," Classica et Mediaevalia 49 (1998)

--"Medicine and Sexual Practices in Late Antiquity," Epoche 18 (1993)

--"The Last Emperor:  The Fate of Romulus Augustulus," Classica et Mediaevalia 43 (1992)


Unpublished Papers Given at Refereed Conferences/Workshops:

--“ Extended Family in the Experiences of Ausonius and Libanius” Symposium of the FASS Research Cluster on Imperial, Colonial and Transnational Histories, UNSW, September 2013

-- “Bettini, Saller, and the Taxonomy of Extended Family in Ausonius’ Parentalia”  Workshop on the Mediterranean Household and Family, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Röstock, Germany, May 2012

--“The Ideal Male in Late Antiquity and the Example of Flavius Stiicho” International Medieval Conference 13, Leeds, UK, July 2011

--“Of Veiian Entrails and Falerian Children,” Annual Meeting of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies, Perth, February 2010

--“Anicia Juliana, domesticity among aristocratic women, and the Vienna Dioscurides manuscript” Annual Meeting of the ASCS, Sydney, February 2009

--“The Vienna Diosorides’ dedicatio to Anicia Juliana:  a usurpation of imperial patronage?” XV Biennial AABS Conference, Sydney, February 2008

--“Public Womanhood and Anicia Juliana,” Sydney Classical Association, Sydney, September 2005

--“Control of Nature and Controlled by Nature:  Anicia Juliana, Aristocratic Women, and the Vienna Dioscurides Manuscript,” Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of Canada, Banff, May 2005

-- “Pothos ton Philoktistou”:  Anicia Juliana’s Architectural Narratology,” XIV Biennial AABS Conference, Melbourne University, August 2004

--“Fledgling Mothers of the Church,” SSEC Annual Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, May 2004

Affiliations and membership


American Philological Association

Australasian Society for Classical Studies

Australian Association for Byzantine Studies

Phi Alpha Theta

Professional Appointments;

Executive Board, Australasian Society for Classical Studies

Executive Board, Australian Association for Byzantine Studies

Editorial board, De Imperatoribus Romanis, an online encyclopaedia of Roman emperors

Editorial Board, Byzantina Australiensia


Related links


Other information

Past PhD students 

Katherine Jacka, Idrisi’s Siqillya: The Nuzhat as a Source for Sicilian History (co-supervisor)

Past MA students
Richard Hurley, Alexandrian Coinage from the Reign of Hadrian

Past Honours students

Jacqueline Mahoney, Models of Roman and Germanic womanhood in the early medieval period

Claudia Sirdah, Self-Defnition through the Other: Byzantines in the Poetry of al-Mutannabi and Abu Firas

Michael Tong. Visions of Judgment and Salvation: The Prostitute in Early Christian Literature

Thomas Angove, Defining "Roman-ness": a Comparison of Cato the Elder with Cato the Younger

Clare Foley, Slavery and Shifting Trade Patterns in Late Antiquity

Cathie Harris, Cicero's De Officiis in Seventeenth Century Children's Advice Literature

Danielle Newmann, Female Education in Sparta

Richard Hurley, Moneyers in the Age of Augustus

Sophie Small, A Comparative Study of Graeco-Roman Historiography of Classical Antiquity. Thucydides, Tacitus and thei Continuators

Stephen Boss, The Roman Way of Death