Professor Richard Flower
My research interests range across the Roman, late Roman and early medieval periods, although I specialise in the role of invective and abuse in all forms of politics and the formation of authoritative knowledge in late antiquity. This includes working on a number of early Christian writings that have traditionally been seen as part of Patristics.
Having spent several years looking at polemic in the political culture of the later Roman empire, I am currently pursuing a project examining the growth of late-antique heresiology in the context of classical notions of the ordering of knowledge. During 2015-16, I held an AHRC Early Career Fellowship entitled Cataloguing Damnation: The Birth of Scientific Heresiology in Late Antiquity, which allowed me to make substantial progress with the writing of a monograph on this subject. I am also currently editing the Cambridge Companion to Christian Heresy and, together with Professor Morwenna Ludlow, a volume entitled Rhetoric and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity, which results from a conference held at Exeter in 2015.
As part of my AHRC project, I started recording a series of interviews with academics about surprising and unfamiliar aspects of the ancient world, which are available to listen to as podcasts. Even though my Fellowship has finished, I am continuing to record more of these interviews.
If you're a final-year undergraduate or a potential applicant student considering doing an MA or PhD dissertation on a late-antique topic (or anything else Roman that sounds fun), then please send me an email and I'll be happy to discuss your ideas with you.
Originally from Sheffield, I did my BA, MPhil and PhD at Clare College, Cambridge. After I finally stopped being a student in 2007, I took up a Research Fellowship at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and then a Temporary Lectureship at Sheffield, before coming to Exeter in 2012.