Hopkins, (Morris) Keith 1934-2004

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HOPKINS, (Morris) Keith 1934-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born June 20, 1934, in London, England; died of cancer March 8, 2004, in Cambridge, England. Historian, sociologist, educator, and author. Hopkins uniquely combined his knowledge of sociology with the discipline of history to form theories about life in ancient Rome. Studying the classics at King's College, Cambridge, he completed his master's degree in 1961, and was working on a doctorate before deciding to leave university to accept a post at Leicester University as a junior lecturer. He quickly moved on to the London School of Economics, which assigned him to a post in Hong Kong. One result of his time in China was his editorship of the 1971 book Hong Kong: The Industrial Colony. Hopkins also studied population density in London, and the combination of his sociological research in China and London helped broaden his views on his main field of interest: Roman history. Moving on to Brunel University at the London School of Economics in 1972, he was a professor of sociology there and also, in 1981, was named dean of studies. Continuing his research at the Institute of Classical Studies in London around the same time, Hopkins found success with his next publication, the two-volume Sociological Studies in Roman History (1978, 1983). In these two books, Conquerors and Slaves and Death and Renewal, Hopkins devised startling theories about Roman Senate membership and other aspects of Roman life. Hopkins would later become controversial for drawing on fictional narrative by Roman authors such as Apeuleius and the fables of Aesop to speculate on Roman culture, but he drew even greater criticism from historians for his A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity (1999) in which he created his own fictional narrative to discuss classical history. Retiring from teaching in 2000, Hopkins remained active in academia as vice provost for King's College from 2001 until his death. He was, at the time, working on a book about the Colosseum.



Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2004, Section 2, p. 12.

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2004, p. B11.

New York Times, March 15, 2004, p. A23.

Times (London, England), March 25, 2004.