Associate Professor Caillan Davenport

BA (Hons), MPhil (Qld.), DPhil (Oxon.), FHEA, FRHistS
Associate Professor of Classics and Head of the Centre for Classical Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Classical Greek And Roman History 430305
  • Latin And Classical Greek Literature 470513

Research interests

  • Roman history from the Republic to Late Antiquity
  • Roman emperors in antiquity and their reception in later periods
  • Roman imperial court society and ceremonial
  • Comparative study of monarchy and court societies
  • Documentary evidence for Roman history, especially inscriptions and coins
  • Greek and Latin historiography of the Roman empire
  • Roman letter writing, especially the correspondence of Marcus Aurelius and Fronto
  • Rumour and gossip in pre-modern societies


Dr Caillan Davenport is Associate Professor of Classics and Head of the Centre for Classical Studies at the Australian National University. He studied Latin, Ancient Greek, and Ancient History at the University of Queensland, receiving the University Medal in Latin. With the support of a John Crampton Travelling Scholarship, he undertook a DPhil in Ancient History at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professor Alan Bowman. He held positions at the University of Queensland (2011-2017) and Macquarie University (2017-2021) before coming to the ANU in January 2022.

In the course of his career, Dr Davenport has received the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize, a Rome Award from the British School at Rome, an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, and an Experienced Researcher Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which he held at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main with the sponsorship of Professor Hartmut Leppin. He has been named a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Dr Davenport is committed to public outreach and engagement. He has written for The Conversation, appeared on ABC Radio, given talks at the Queensland Museum and the Australian Museum in Sydney, and delivered numerous lectures to school groups. He is a regular contributor to the Emperors of Rome Podcast, which was named Best Australian History Podcast in 2019 by Apple.

Researcher's projects

Dr Caillan Davenport is the author of A History of the Roman Equestrian Order (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which won the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize. The judges' citation described the book as 'a most impressive work of profound scholarship...of great ambition, erudition, and sophistication'. The book has been praised as 'a major work of scholarship and a very readable book' (Classics for All), 'an impressively scholarly but readable study' (Choice), 'an impressive work of is sure to become the new standard work of reference' (Ancient History Bulletin), 'a remarkable success' (Classical Review), 'learned and important advance' (Journal of Roman Studies), 'compelling reading' (Classical World) and 'magnificent...Davenport's magnum opus sets the whole subject on a new footing' (American Historical Review).

Dr Davenport is also the co-editor of Fronto: Selected Letters (Bloomsbury, 2014, with J. Manley) and the co-editor of Emperors and Political Culture in Cassius Dio's Roman History (Cambridge University Press, 2021, with C. Mallan). He has published widely on the history and historiography of ancient Rome in journals such as Classical Quarterly, Journal of Late Antiquity, Journal of Roman Studies, Journal of Roman Archaeology, and Papers of the British School at Rome.

He is currently completing a book of essays on the Roman emperor and his rule in the context of global monarchical culture, called The Roman Imperial Monarchy. The book explores the interactions between the 'republican' and 'monarchical' elements in the imperial state, examining issues such as dynasty, communication, behaviour, and representation.

He is also working on a monograph entitled Talking about the Caesars: Roman Emperors in Rumour, Gossip and Imagination, which examines Rome's rulers from the perspective of their subjects. Drawing upon letters, graffiti, fables, plays, sermons, poems, and papyri, he analyses how people discussed the emperors' powers, bodies, sex lives, deaths, and successions across almost seven hundred years of Roman history from Julius Caesar to Heraclius.

In addition, Dr Davenport is engaged in two collaborative projects. Together with Dr Meaghan McEvoy (ANU), he is co-editing a volume of papers on The Roman Imperial Court in the Principate and Late Antiquity, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. The book draws together researchers from Europe, North America, and Australasia to examine continuities and changes at the Roman court from Augustus to Justinian and places these developments in the context of court societies in world history.

His second collaborative project, Representing Rome's Emperors: Historical and Cultural Perspectives through Time, is being conducted with Dr Shushma Malik (Cambridge). This is an edited volume, under contract with Oxford University Press, which places studies of the literary and artistic representations of emperors in antiquity in conversation with essays examining their depiction in later European history. 

Available student projects

I welcome enquries from students wishing to undertake Honours, MPhil or PhD theses in my areas of research interest (see above).


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Updated:  24 March 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers