Dr. Simon Corcoran

Fields of interest

  • Roman legal history
  • Manuscripts and textual transmission
  • Later Roman Empire (especially the era of the Tetrarchy and Constantine)
  • Greek and Latin epigraphy


Simon Corcoran studied Classics at Oxford as an undergraduate and later completed his doctorate there on the emperor Diocletian and the era of the tetrarchs in 1992 (published in 1996 as The Empire of the Tetrarchs). He also gained a Master’s degree in Archive Administration from the University of Liverpool and subsequently worked in the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections at the library of the University of Nottingham. In 1999 he joined the Projet Volterra based in the Department of History at University College London, working on a series of projects there until 2015. He has continued his connection, having been appointed co-Director in 2018. In 2016, he joined the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at Newcastle University, becoming Senior Lecturer in Roman History in 2022. He is currently resident in Bamberg for the year 2023/24 as a Fellow of the project “AntCoCo”.

His principal area of interest is Roman legal history across both antiquity and the early Middle Ages, especially the preservation and transmission of legal texts in manuscripts, papyri and inscriptions, about which he has published widely in print and on-line. In 2010, he and his project colleague, Dr Benet Salway, identified parchment fragments as being the only known remains of a manuscript of the otherwise lost Roman legal work, the Gregorian Code. His more recent work has been focussing upon the Justinianic codification and the bilingual nature of law in the later Roman empire, and on the Roman historical and legal manuscripts of the English historian, William of Malmesbury. He also maintains a strong interest in the era of Diocletian and Constantine and in Greek and Latin epigraphy.


Education and Career

  • 1984: B.A. in Literae Humaniores, Christ Church, Oxford.
  • 1992: D.Phil. in Ancient History, St. John’s College, Oxford.
  • 1994: M.Ar.Ad. in Archives Administration, University of Liverpool.
  • 1995-1998: Assistant Archivist, Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham.
  • 1999-2015: Research Fellow, then Senior Research Fellow, Department of History, University College London.
  • 2016- : Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, Newcastle University.


Scholarships and Awards

  • 1998: Henryk Kupiszewski Prize from the Centro romanistico internazionale Copanello at the University of Catanzaro [silver medal prize in the IV Premio romanistico internazionale Gérard Boulvert 1998] for The Empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial Pronouncements and Government AD 284-324 (Oxford, 1996)
  • 2016- : Honorary Senior Research Associate, Department of History, University College London
  • 2018- : Co-Director, Projet Volterra, British Academy Project.



a) Monograph

  • The Empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial Pronouncements and Government AD284-324, (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1996; rev. ed. 2000)

b) Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Junian Latinity in Late Roman and Early Medieval Texts: A Survey from the Third to the Eleventh Centuries AD” in Pedro López Barja, Carla Masi Doria, and Ulrike Roth (eds), Junian Latinity in the Roman Empire, Volume 1: History, Law, Literature (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 2023) 132-152
  • “Barsauma and the emperors”, in J. Hahn and V. Menze (eds), The Wandering Holy Man: the Life of Barsauma, Christian Asceticism and Religious Conflict in Late Antique Palestine (California University Press: Oakland CA, 2020) 25-49
  • “Less of the same? Continuity and change in the official epigraphy of the late empire”, in  S. Destephen et al. (eds), Le Prince chrétien de Constantin aux royautés barbares (iv-viii siècle) (Association des Amis du Centre d'histoire et de civilisation de Byzance ; Paris, 2018) 3-27
  • “Maxentius: a Roman emperor in Rome”, Antiquité Tardive 25 (2017) 59-74
  • “Roman law and the two languages in Justinian’s empire”, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 60(1) (2017) 96-116
  • “The Projet Volterra and the palingenesis of imperial constitutions: principles and problems”, in S. Lohsse, S. Marino & P. Buongiorno (eds), Texte wiederherstellen, Kontexte rekonstruieren. Internationale Tagung über Methoden zur Erstellung einer Palingenesie, Münster, 23.–24. April 2015 (Acta Senatus Reihe B: Studien und Materialien, 2; Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 2017) 139-160
  • “The Codex of Justinian: the life of a text through 1,500 years”, in B. Frier, ed. The Codex of Justinian. A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2016) pp. xcvii-clxiv
  • “The Würzburg fragment of Justinian’s constitutions for the administration of recovered Africa”, in C. Freu et al. (eds), Libera curiositas. Mélanges d'histoire romaine et d'Antiquité tardive offerts à Jean-Michel Carrié (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 31; Brepols: Turnhout, 2016) 97-114
  • “Roman law in Ravenna”, in J. Herrin and J. Nelson (eds), Ravenna: Its Role in Earlier Medieval Change and Exchange (Institute of History Research: London, 2016) 63-197
  • “The Augusti and Caesars say: Imperial communication in a collegiate monarchy”, in S. Procházka et al. (eds), Official Epistolography and the Language(s) of Power (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften; Vienna, 2015) 219-236
  • “From unholy madness to right-mindedness: or how to legislate for religious conformity from Decius to Justinian”, in A. Papaconstantinou et al. (eds), Conversion in Late Antiquity: Christianity, Islam, and Beyond (Ashgate: Abingdon, 2015) 67-94
  • “Hincmar and his Roman legal sources”, in R. Stone and C. West (eds), Hincmar of Rheims : Life and Work (Manchester University Press: Manchester, 2015) 129-155
  •  “State correspondence in the Roman Empire: Imperial communication from Augustus to Justinian”, in K. Radner, ed. State Correspondence in the Ancient World from New Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire (Oxford University Press: New York, 2014) 172-209
  • “The Gregorianus and Hermogenianus assembled and shattered”, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome: Antiquité 125/2 (2013) [http://mefra.revues.org/1772]  
  • (with B. Salway) “Fragmenta Londiniensia Anteiustiniana; preliminary observations”, Roman Legal Tradition 6 (2012) 63-83
  • “Grappling with the Hydra: co-ordination and conflict in the management of Tetrarchic succession”, in G. Bonamente et al. (eds), Costantino prima e dopo Costantino: Constantine Before and After Constantine (Edipuglia; Bari, 2012) 3-15
  • “Emperors and Caesariani inside and outside the Code”, in S. Crogiez-Pétrequin and P. Jaillette (eds.), Société, économie et administration dans le Code Théodosien (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion; Villeneuve d’Ascq, 2012) 265-284
  • “ ‘Softly and suddenly vanished away’: the Junian Latins from Caracalla to the Carolingians”, in K. Muscheler (ed.), Römische Jurisprudenz - Dogmatik, Überlieferung, Rezeption. Festschrift für Detlef Liebs zum 75. Geburtstag (Duncker & Humblot: Berlin, 2011) 129-152
  • “The Novus Codex and the Codex Repetitae Praelectionis: Justinian and his codes”, in S. Benoist at al. (eds), Figures d’empire, fragments de mémoire: pouvoirs et identités dans le monde romain impérial (IIe s. av. n. è.-VIe s. ap. n. è.) (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion: Villeneuve d’Ascq, 2011) 425-444
  • (with B. Salway) “A newly identified Greek fragment of the Testamentum Domini”, Journal of Theological Studies 62 (2011) 118-135
  • “Observations on the Sasanian Law-Book in the light of Roman legal writing”, in A. Rio (ed.), Law, Custom, and Justice in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (London, 2011) 77-113
  • “Murison and Theophilus”, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 53(2) (2010) 85-124
  • “New subscripts for old rescripts: the Vallicelliana fragments of Justinian Code Book VII”, Zeitschrift der Savigny Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: romanistische Abteilung 126 (2009) 401-422
  • “After Krüger: observations on some additional or revised Justinian Code headings and subscripts”, Zeitschrift der Savigny Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: romanistische Abteilung 126 (2009) 423-439
  • “Anastasius, Justinian and the pagans: a tale of two law-codes and a papyrus”, Journal of Late Antiquity 2 (2009) 183-208
  • “Justinian and his two codes: revisiting P. Oxy. 1814”, Journal of Juristic Papyrology 38 (2008)
  • “Diocletian”, in A. Barrett (ed.), Lives of the Caesars (Blackwell Publishing: Malden, MA and Oxford, 2008) 228-254
  • “The heading of Diocletian's Prices Edict at Stratonicea”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 166 (2008) pp. 295-302
  • “Imperial legislation”, in S.N. Katz (ed.),The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press: Oxford and New York, 2009) vol. 3, 210-213
  • “Anastasius, Justinian and the pagans: a tale of two law codes and a papyrus”, Journal of Late Antiquity 2 (2008) 183-208.
  • “Galerius’s jigsaw puzzles: The Caesariani dossier”, Antiquité tardive 15 (2007) 221-250
  • “Two tales, two cities: Antinoopolis and Nottingham”, in J. F. Drinkwater and R. W. B. Salway (Eds.), Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Supplement 91: London, 2007) 193-209
  • “The Tetrarchy: policy and image as reflected in imperial pronouncements’ in D. Boschung and W. Eck (eds.), Die Tetrarchie: Ein neues Regierungssystem und seine mediale Präsentation (ZAKMIRA Schriften 3; Reichert Verlag: Wiesbaden, 2006) 31-61
  • “Latin legal texts”, in E. Bispham, Th. Harrison and B. Sparkes (eds.), The Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 2006) 433-438
  • “Galerius, Maximinus and the titulature of the Third Tetrarchy”, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 49 (2006) 231-240
  • “Before Constantine”, in N. Lenski (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge and New York, 2006) 35-58
  • “Emperor and citizen in the era of Constantine”, in E. Hartley, J. Hawkes, M. Henig and F. Mee (eds.), Constantine the Great: York’s Roman Emperor (Lund Humphries: London, 2006) 41-51
  • “The donation and will of Vincent of Huesca”, Antiquité Tardive 11 (2003) 215-221
  • “A Tetrarchic inscription from Corcyra and the Edictum de Accusationibus”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 141 (2002) 221-30
  • “A fragment of a Tetrarchic constitution from Crete”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 133 (2000) 251-5
  • “The Sins of the Fathers: A Neglected Constitution of Diocletian on Incest”, Journal of Legal History 21(2) (2000) 1-34
  • “The praetorian prefect Modestus and Hero of Alexandria’s Stereometrica”, Latomus 54 (1995) 377-84
  • [with Janet DeLaine] “The unit measurement of marble in Diocletian's Prices Edict”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 7 (1994) 263-73
  • “Hidden from history: the legislation of Licinius”, in J. Harries and I. Wood (edd.), The Theodosian Code: Studies in the Imperial Law of Late Antiquity (Duckworth: London, 1993 [repr. 2010]) 97-119.