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.


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

Research Interests

Author, translator and essayist, Douglas Boin is a professor of history at Saint Louis University. An internationally recognized authority on the history of the Mediterranean world, he is the author, most recently, of Alaric the Goth: An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome (Norton), which was translated into multiple languages and named a "Best Book of 2020" by The Economist. His research is concerned with recovering history’s silences, correcting its distortions, and addressing its omissions. He teaches courses about how to find evidence to document overlooked experiences, how to use story-driven research to present encounters with difference, and about unusual or misunderstood aspects of culture and society in Ancient Rome, like the rise of Christianity and the history of the Goths.

Italy, the subject of his articles and four books, continues to be the site of his ongoing work, where he directs the Spello Project, an archaeological investigation to document missing chapters in the history of the Umbrian town. His essays and media appearances at Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR reflect on why the ancient world’s peoples, languages, politics, religions, and beliefs still matter.

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

2023. “Two Approaches to Equality, Inequality, and Justice in the Ancient World.” In Divided Worlds: Challenges in Classics and New Testament Studies. Edited by C. Hodge, T. Joseph, and B. Liew (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press), 329–36.

2020a. “Emperor Julian, An Appropriated Word, and a Different View of Fourth-Century ‘Lived Religion.’” In Lived Religion in the Ancient World: Approaching Religious Transformations from Archaeology, History, and Classics, edited by Edited by V. Gasparini, M. Patzelt, R. Raja, A-K. Rieger, J. Rüpke, and E. Urciuoli (Berlin: De Gruyter), 517–30. 
2020b. “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, 48–66. Edited by R. Flower and M. Ludlow. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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.

Edited Volumes

2022. The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White. Edited by J. Gunderson, T. Keddie, and D. Boin. Boston: Brill.
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

2023. Review of Urban Developments in Late Antique and Medieval Rome: Revisiting the Narrative of Renewal. Edited by Gregor Kalas and Ann van Dijk for the Catholic Historical Review.

2022a. “Classical Dinosaur.” Review of Crassus: The First Tycoon (Yale University Press) by P. Stothard. For History Today, December edition.

2022b. “Rome, Zombie City.” Review of The Eternal Decline and Fall of Rome (Oxford University Press) by E. Watts. For History Today, March edition.

2020a. “Around the Other Pond.” Review of Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic Kingdom (Oxford University Press) by D. Roller. For History Today, August edition.

2020b. Four New Books on Early Christianity and the Greco-Roman World: A Review of J. Harrison and L. Welborn, eds., The First Urban Churches: Vol. 1, Methodological Foundations (2015); Vol. 2, Roman Corinth (2016); Vol. 3., Ephesos (2018a); and Vol. 4, Roman Philippi.” Journal of Roman Studies 110: 367–70. 2023. Review of Urban Developments in Late Antique and Medieval Rome: Revisiting the Narrative of Renewal. Edited by Gregor Kalas and Ann van Dijk for the Catholic Historical Review.

2019. Review of A Century of Miracles: Christians, Pagans, Jews, and the Supernatural, 312-410 by H. Drake. For The American Historical Review. 

2018a. Review of Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World by L. Hurtado. For the Catholic Historical Review.

2018b. Review of Late Ancient Knowing: Explorations in Intellectual History, edited by C. Chin and M. Vidas. For the Journal of Roman Studies.

2018c. “Saints, Emperors, and the Triumph of Christianity.” A Review of The Triumph of Christianity by B. Ehrman. For The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2018.
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

2023. Beaumont Research Award, “Ground-Truthing the Results of a SLU-Led, International  Geophysical Survey at Ancient Roman Hispellum (Spello, Italy),” Saint Louis University  

2020-21. Beaumont Research Award, “New Research on the Urban and Religious Transformation of Ancient Roman Hispellum (Spello, Italy),” Saint Louis University

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.