Seth Bernard

Associate Professor
PhD (University of Pennsylvania)

(on leave 2020-21)

Contact Information

Phone:  (416) 978-5477
Room:  LI 122F

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 to 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. His 2018 monograph on architectural production and the developing structures of labor in the Mid-Republican city of Rome (396 – 168 BCE), and he has completed a draft of a new book on non-written forms of historical culture in early Italy. Other current publication projects include two papers on themes of connectivity in Iron Age Italy and Mid-Republican Rome, a co-edited volume on new approaches to the Mid-Republic, a study of food and caloric energy in the Roman building industry, and a collaborative workshop and project to investigate the climate background of the Roman conquest of Italy.

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. He has participated in fieldwork projects in Greece, Morocco, and Italy, and he currently co-directs with colleagues at the University of Siena excavations at the site of Populonia in Tuscany. A preliminary report of this work is available (in Italian) in the open-access online journal Gradus.

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

Select Publications

  • Building Mid-Republican Rome: Labor, Architecture and the Urban Economy (Oxford University Press, 2018).
  • “The Imperial victoriatus in new inscriptions from Pompeii and London,” AJN 32 (2020): 127-37.
  • “Hephaestus in a new graffito from Populonia,” Studi Etruschi 82 (2019 [2020]): 99-110.
  • “Notes on the elogium of a benefactor at Pompeii,” with J. Bodel, A. Bendlin, C. Bruun, and J. Edmondson, JRA 32.1: 148-82.
  • “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 [2016]) 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.