School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Simon Corcoran

Lecturer in Ancient History


I completed my doctorate at Oxford on the emperor Diocletian and the era of the tetrarchs in 1992, which was subsequently published as the prize-winning The Empire of the Tetrarchs (Clarendon Press, 1996), and I maintain a strong interest in the era of Diocletian and Constantine.

However, my principal area of interest is Roman legal history across both antiquity and the early Middle Ages, on which I have published widely in print and on-line, especially as part of work for the Volterra Roman law projects at University College London (1999-2015).

I have a particular interest in manuscripts and the transmission of ancient texts, and was trained in palaeography at both the University of Liverpool (1993/4) and King’s College London (2000/1). I was involved in the identification of parchment fragments of the otherwise lost Roman legal work, the Gregorian Code, in 2010, on which I am currently writing a book in collaboration with my project colleague, Benet Salway.

I have a strong interest in Greek and Latin epigraphy and currently serve on the steering committee of the British Epigraphy Society. I am also on the council of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, having previously served on the councils of both the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (2006-2009) and the British Institute at Ankara (2011-2015).

Academic Qualifications

2018: Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

1994: M.Ar.Ad. Archives Administration, University of Liverpool.

1992: D.Phil. Ancient History, University of Oxford.

1984: BA Literae Humaniores, University of Oxford.

Academic Employment

2016- : Lecturer in Ancient History, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, Newcastle University. Since 2018 also Degree Programme Director for the four undergraduate Classical degrees within the School (Classics [Q800], Classical Studies [Q810], Classical Studies & English [QQ83], Ancient History [V110]).

1999-2015: Senior Research Fellow, Department of History, University College London.

1995-1998: Assistant Archivist, Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham.



My most recent research has been on the history, manuscript tradition, and impact of the Justinian Code (published in its surviving revised edition in AD534), but also on other early mediaeval legal works in the Roman tradition including the Summa Perusina and the Lex Romana Canonice Compta. I am also finishing a book with Dr Benet Salway of UCL on the parchment fragments that we have identified as coming from the otherwise lost Gregorian Code (a precursor of that of Justinian).

I am currently developing a research plan to study the bilingual Greek and Latin world of legal teaching and practice in the Roman empire in the sixth century, a crucial period of legal convergence and linguistic divergence as the empire struggled first to revive, then just to survive. This era, that of Justinian, came to underlie later legal traditions in both east and west, with enduring effects even today across the many contemporary Civil Law jurisdictions and beyond.

Most recently I have been working on a well-known manuscript by the early English historian, William of Malmesbury (c.1090-c.1143), Bodleian Arch Selden B16, which contains both Roman historical and Roman legal texts.

I am happy to supervise research not only in late Roman/early mediaeval legal history, but in late antiquity generally, including the era of the tetrarchy and Constantine. I am happy also to supervise topics relating to slavery in the Roman world.


Both Semesters, 2018/19


CAC3000/CAH3000: UG 3rd year dissertation (Dissertation supervisor)

Semester 1, 2018/19


CAH2061: Slavery in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Module leader)

HIS2240: Greece from Ancient Times to the 21st Century (lecturer)


CAC8000: Research Skills and Dissertation Training (lecturer)

Semester 2, 2018/19


CAH1014: The Roman World from Romulus to Heraclius:  history and culture from 753BC to AD641 (Module leader)

CAH2009: Portfolio in Ancient History 1: Commentaries (lecturer)

CAH3037: The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine (Module leader) [taught jointly with CAH8037]


CAH8020: Masterclass in Ancient History (lecturer)

CAH8037: The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine (Module leader) [taught jointly with CAH3037]

I am available to teach the following Postgraduate modules on subjects relating to my research interests: 

  • CAC8106: Independent Study Project in Classics and Ancient History 1 
  • CAC8107: Independent Study Project in Classics and Ancient History 2


  • Corcoran S. The Codex of Justinian: the life of a text through 1,500 years. In: Frier,B, ed. The Codex of Justinian. A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp.xcvii-clxiv.
  • Corcoran S. The Würzburg fragment of Justinian’s constitutions for the administration of recovered Africa. In: Freu C; Janniard S; Ripoll A, ed. Libera curiositas. Mélanges d'histoire romaine et d'Antiquité tardive offerts à Jean-Michel Carrié. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016, pp.97-114.
  • Corcoran S. Roman law in Ravenna. In: Herrin,J;Nelson,J, ed. Ravenna: Its Role in Earlier Medieval Change and Exchange. London: Institute of Historical Research, 2016, pp.163-197.
  • Corcoran S, Crawford M, Salway B. Sixth Book, First to Twentieth Titles. In: Frier,B, ed. The Codex of Justinian. A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp.1407-1485.
  • Corcoran S. "The Augusti and Caesars say": Imperial communication in a collegiate monarchy. In: Procházka,S;Reinfandt,L;Tost,S, ed. Official Epistolography and the Language(s) of Power. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference of the Research Network Imperium and Officium. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015, pp.219-236.
  • Corcoran S. From unholy madness to right-mindedness: or how to legislate for religious conformity from Decius to Justinian. In: Papaconstantinou,A;McLynn,N;Schwartz,D, ed. Conversion in Late Antiquity: Christianity, Islam, and Beyond. Papers from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, University of Oxford, 2009-2010. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015, pp.67-94.
  • Corcoran S. Hincmar and his Roman legal sources. In: Stone,R;West,C, ed. Hincmar of Rheims : Life and Work. Manchestser: Manchester University Press, 2015, pp.129-155.
  • Corcoran S. State correspondence in the Roman Empire: Imperial communication from Augustus to Justinian. In: Radner,K, ed. State Correspondence in the Ancient World from New Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp.172-209.
  • Corcoran S. Barsauma and the imperial court. In: Hahn,J;Menze,V, ed. The Wandering Holy Man: the Life of Barsauma, Christian Asceticism and Religious Conflict in Late Antique Palestine. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2017. Submitted.
  • Corcoran S. Roman law and the two languages in Justinian's empire. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 2017, 60(1), 96-116.
  • Corcoran S. The Projet Volterra and the palingenesis of imperial constitutions: principles and problems. In: Lohsse,S;Marino,S;Buongiorno,P, ed. Texte wiederherstellen, Kontexte rekonstruieren. Internationale Tagung über Methoden zur Erstellung einer Palingenesie, Münster, 23.–24. April 2015. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017, pp.139-160. Submitted.
  • Corcoran S. Less of the same? Continuity and change in the official epigraphy of the late empire. In: Destephen,S; Dumézil,B, ed. Le Prince chrétien, IVe-VIIe siècle. 2017. Submitted.