PhD (University of Pennsylvania)
Bio and Research
Seth Bernard has taught at the University of Toronto since 2014. He holds a BA in Classics from Amherst College and a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a Regular Member of the American School for Classical Studies at Athens and a Rome Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. His research focuses broadly on the social and economic history of Rome and Italy, and particularly of the Republican period. As an ancient historian, he works with all available material and is open to both traditional text- and document-based approaches as well as the incorporation of archaeological or scientific data into historical narratives. Such interests have led him to publish on topics as diverse as the early history of Roman coinage to the isotopic signature of stone from Rome’s first marble temples. He has just completed a monograph on architectural production and the developing structures of labor in the Mid-Republican city of Rome (396 – 168 BCE).
He is starting a new project on economic development and Roman imperialism in Italy from c. 500 – 200 BCE. This project is supported by an Insight Research Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and aims at collecting and analyzing all available data for consumption, production, and exchange, including textual and archaeological evidence, as well as relevant climate data. Other current studies include a paper on an elogium from Brundisium and Mid-Republican colonial history, a study of the epigraphic data for the mobility of building artisans in Hellenistic Italy, a study of early Roman ashlar technologies, an article on building technology and demography in Mid-Republican Rome, and a study of speleothems as record for Mediterranean climate.
In addition, he is co-director in collaboration with colleagues from the Università di Siena and the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Beni Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Pisa e Livorno of archaeological excavations on the Hellenistic acropolis of Populonia on the coast of Tuscany near modern Piombino. Populonia was a famous Etruscan centre for the production of metal and displayed precocious wealth from the early Iron Age, while production continues at a high level through the period of Roman conquest until the Sullan period, when the acropolis is destroyed and largely abandoned. The site is thus fundamental to our broader understanding of themes of economic production and Romanization in pre-Imperial Italy. Previously, he has participated in fieldwork projects in Greece, Morocco, and Italy.
He is happy to speak with prospective students interested in working on various topics of Early and Republican Roman socioeconomic history and the archaeology of Rome and Italy.
Specialization: Roman History, Roman Archaeology, Republican Rome and Italy
- Building Mid-Republican Rome: Labor, Architecture and the Urban Economy (Oxford University Press, 2018).
- “The Social History of Early Roman Coinage,” JRS 108 (2018): 1-26.
- “Urban development at Rome’s Porta Esquilina and church of San Vito over the longue durée,” with M. Andrews, JRA 30.1 (2017): 244-65.
- “Workers in the Roman Imperial Building Industry” in K. Verboven and C. Laes, eds Work, Labour, and Professions in the Roman Roman World, Brill (2016): 62-86.
- “Food distribution and immigration in imperial Rome” in L. de Ligt and L.E. Tacoma, eds Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire, Brill (2016): 50-71.
- “Varro and the Development of Roman Topography from Antiquity to the Quattrocento,” MAAR 59/60 (2014/15 ) 161-79.
- “Rhetorics of Land and Power in the Polla inscription (CIL X 6950)” with C. Damon and C. Grey, Mnemosyne 67 (2014): 953-85.
- “Ballast, Mining, and Stone Cargoes in the Lex portorii Asiae,” ZPE 191 (2014): 182-4.
- “Continuing the Debate on Rome’s Earliest Circuit Walls,” PBSR 80 (2012): 1-44.
- “Pentelic Marble in Architecture at Rome and the Republican Marble Trade,” JRA 23.1 (2010): 35-54.