Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

Douglas Boin, Ph.D.

Department of History

Courses Taught

Prof. Boin teaches undergraduate courses in all areas of the ancient Mediterranean world, from introductory classes on the Rise of Christianity in the Ancient Mediterranean to upper-division courses and seminars on the Roman Empire, Late Antiquity, The World of St. Augustine, and Mystery Religions in Antiquity. At the graduate level, he teaches courses on Greek and Roman history and the history of cities in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.


Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2009
M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 2003
B.A., Georgetown University, 1999

Research Interests

Boin's intellectual interests are driven by a strong desire to interrogate the social history of Republican, Imperial and Late Roman religions. He is also keenly intent on exploring broader issues related to the transformation of Roman society, which is another way of saying, he works at the intersection of politics and religion in ancient history.

Boin's research largely draws upon archaeological, anthropological, and sociological approaches to religion, as well as recent research on social memory, landscape, and the construction of identity. In all of his work, Boin has charted the transformations and economic changes that characterized Rome, Italy and the Western provinces during the imperial and late Roman periods. He also incorporates epigraphic material, as well as smaller objects like lamps, glassware, and ivory, to reconstruct a more intimate image of Roman daily life-exploring the social, cultural and visual continuities that bind the Roman "Age of Augustus" to the late Roman "World of Augustine"-and beyond.

Current avenues of interest include the city, people, and history of Rome in Late Antiquity to issues related to the transformation of Roman imperial cult. He has also recently completed a four-year project on the history of citizenship, immigration, and the reception of foreigners in the later Roman Empire and maintains an interest in biography, narrative history and publications. 

For more information on Boin's research, visit his research page. 

Publications and Media Placements

2020. Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome.
New York:  W.W. Norton
2017. Late Antiquity: A Social and Cultural History. Malden, MA: Wiley.
2015. Coming Out Christian in the Roman World. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
2013. Ostia in Late Antiquity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Articles and Translations
2014. “Hellenistic ‘Judaism’ and the Social Origins of the ‘Pagan-Christian’ Debate.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 22: 167–96.
2013. “A Late Antique Statuary Collection at Ostia's Sanctuary of Magna Mater: A Case-Study in Late Roman Religion and Tradition.” Papers of the British School at Rome 81: 244–77. 
2012. “The Acts of the Martyr Bonosa.” Acta Sanctorum IV (July).  Latin text, English translation, and notes, published on  Edited by Dr. J. T. Bakker (Netherlands).
2010a. “A Hall for Hercules at Ostia and a Farewell to the Late Antique ‘Pagan Revival.’” American Journal of Archaeology 114: 253–66.
2010b. “Late Antique Ostia and a Campaign for Pious Tourism: Epitaphs for Bishop Cyriacus and Monica, Mother of Augustine.” Journal of Roman Studies 100: 195–209.
2006. “The Acts of the Martyr Aurea.”  Acta Sanctorum IV (August).  Latin text, English translation, and notes, published on  Edited by Dr. J. T. Bakker (Netherlands).

Book Chapters
2018. “The Memory of the Maccabees, "Apostasy," and Julian's Rhetorical Appropriation of ‘Hellenismos’ as Signs of a Fourth-Century Intra-Christian Debate.” In Rhetoric and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity, edited by R. Flower and M. Ludlow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, under contract).
2015a. “Late Antique Divi and Imperial Priests of the Late Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries.” In Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition and Coexistence in the Fourth Century, edited by M. Salzman, R. L. Testa, and M. Sághy. New York: Cambridge University Press. 
2015b. “The Memory of ‘Peter’ (1 Peter 2.17) in Fourth-Century Rome: Church, Mausoleum, and Jupiter on the Via Praenestina.” In The Art of Empire: Christian Art in its Imperial Context. Edited by R. Jensen and L. Jefferson. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Reference Works
2018. “Ostia Antica.” In the World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, Inc. [Forthcoming.]
2015. “Pietas and “Sanctuaries.” In the Routledge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Edited by E. Orlin and J. Knust, L. Fried, and M. Satlow. New York: Routledge.
2015. Entries for the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Edited by O. Nicholson and M. Humphries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Entries on Italy: Crecchio, cubiculum, Faragola, Lucca, Ostia, Tor Pignattara in Rome, and the Villa dei Gordiani in Rome].
2010. “Synagogues” and “Church Buildings.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Edited by M. Gagarin. 2: 116–19 and 6: 411–13.  New York: Oxford University Press [Peer Reviewed].

Book Reviews
2016a. “Classicists’ Christian Problem.” A Review of SPQR: A New History of Ancient Rome by M. Beard. For The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2016.
2016b. Review of Housing the Chosen: The Architectural Context of Mystery Groups and Associations in the Ancient World by I. Nielsen. For the Journal of Roman Studies.
2015. Review of Banishment in the Later Roman Empire, 284-476 CE by D. Washburn. For The Classical Review.
2014. Review of Slandering the Jew: Sexuality and Difference in Early Christian Texts by S. Drake. For Classical Journal. April, 2014.
2012a. Review of Roman Landscape: Culture and Identity by D. Spencer. For Sehepunkte (Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften).
2012b. Review of Rom und Mailand in der Spätantike: Repräsentationen städtischer Räume in Literatur, Architektur und Kunst, edited by R. Fuhrer. For Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
2010. Review of The Second Church: Popular Christianity, A.D. 200–400 by R. MacMullen. For The Classical Review.


Honors and Awards

2017 Summer Humanities Research Award, Saint Louis University
2015–16 Mellon Faculty Development Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University 
2014 Innovative Teaching Fellowship, Saint Louis University, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, Saint Louis University.

Media, Interviews, and Public Writing (Selected)

2015a. “The Fall of Rome and All That,”, April 3, 2015 [Originally written for the History News Network, March 29, 2015]
2015b. “On Religion and Identity in Ancient Rome“: A podcast discussion with Prof. Richard Flower at the University of Exeter [At]
2014a. “Egyptian Artifacts Should Be Returned, Not Auctioned Off for Profit (with Prof. Tom Finan, Saint Louis University History Department),” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 19, 2014.
2014b. “Papyrus, Provenance, and Looting.” The International New York Times, March 3, 2014.