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Smith, Christopher 1965- (C.J. Smith, Christopher John Smith)

Smith, Christopher 1965- (C.J. Smith, Christopher John Smith)

PERSONAL:

Born July 2, 1965. Education: Graduated from University of Oxford.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University of St. Andrews, Swallowgate, St. Andrews, Fife K616 9AL, Scotland. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, historian, editor, and educator. University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, professor of ancient history and provost of St. Leonard's College, 1992—. Presenter at conferences, symposia, and academic meetings.

WRITINGS:

(Under name Christopher John Smith) Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor, with Helen Parkins) Trade, Traders, and the Ancient City, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor, with John Serrati) Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus: New Approaches in Archaeology and History, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2000.

(Editor, with Edward Bispham) Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy: Evidence and Experience, Fitzroy Dearborn (Chicago, IL), 2000.

(Under name C.J. Smith) The Roman Clan: The Gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Approaches to the Study of Ritual, edited by J.B. Wilkins, Accordia (London, England), 1996; The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece, edited by L. Mitchell and P.J. Rhodes, Routledge (London, England), 1997; The City of Rome, edited by H. Dodge and J.C.N. Coulston, Oxbow (Oxford, England), 2000; Mediterranean Urbanization 800-600, edited by B.W. Cunliffe and R.G. Osborne, 2005; and Ancient Tyranny, edited by S. Lewis, 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Roman Archaeology, Caelculus, and Accordia Research Papers.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, historian, and classical scholar Christopher Smith is a professor of ancient history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He also serves as the provost of St. Leonard's College. As an academic, Smith studies early Rome and the region of Latium, with a focus on the social and economic development of both, he stated in his curriculum vitae on the University of St. Andrews School of Classics Web site. His research is informed by contemporary developments in Roman and Mediterranean archeology and by current practices in comparative scholarship on the region. Smith also researches and writes on the "evolution and legal and symbolic significance of republican political institutions," how those institutions were perceived by contemporary Roman sources, and how they have been analyzed and interpreted in modern historiography, Smith stated on the Web site. He is especially interested in the history, development, and significance of the Roman gens, or family clan, an important political and social group consisting of related family members of the same name who claimed a common patrilineal ancestor and practiced a common religion.

Smith is the author of several books on early Rome and its associated economic, social, and political environment. Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC contains a detailed description of archaeological findings from Rome and the surrounding Latium region, covering the time period from the late Bronze Age to the sixth century BC. Smith explores the evidence that places Latium in context with Rome, and confirms its importance in the development of central Italy. Smith also examines a number of literary accounts of early Latium and assesses their value to researchers and scholars. In The Roman Clan: The Gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology, Smith analyzes the crucial importance of the family-based gens, or clan, in the development of ancient Rome.

Smith is the editor, with Edward Bispham, of Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy: Evidence and Experience. The book originated as a series of papers presented at a 1997 conference at the University of Edinburgh, where English-speaking scholars had the opportunity to explore work on Roman religion by scholars from France, Italy, and Germany, noted Celia E. Schultz in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. "The result is a group of interesting articles on disparate topics, utilizing various methodologies and categories of evidence: literary, epigraphic, archaeological, and numismatic material are mined for what they may reveal," Schultz stated.

Throughout the book, the "essays are united in their effort to stimulate debate on the development of religion in the Italian peninsula over time," Schultz commented. "One very laudable aspect of this collection is that nearly all the individual contributions strive to integrate developments in Rome within a wider Italian context and, in some cases, to relate those changes even more broadly to events in the Greek world." Coeditor Bispham provides an introduction that places early Roman religion in context with the religious world of central Italy. Nicole Bourque considers the influence of anthropology on the analysis of the meaning of religious ritual. Vedia Izzet looks at the meaning of temple decorations in sanctuaries from the sixth century BC onward, while Fay Glinister assesses the radically different meaning of such decorations when they are no longer associated with a religious sanctuary. T.P. Wiseman reinterprets the meaning of a series of ancient roman coins that depicted a series of athletic games, one of which involved the demigod Hercules. Smith himself contributes the volume's concluding essay, which offers another interpretation of the meaning and importance of Roman ritual.

Schultz concluded, "This is a book that students of early Roman religion should read thoroughly and carefully. There is much here that is exciting, some that is frustrating. The articles in this volume will surely spark dialogue and further research." In the end, Schultz remarked, "this book remains, on the whole, a useful volume."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1997, Gary Forsythe, review of Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC, p. 791.

American Journal of Archaeology, April, 1997, Nicola Terrenato, review of Early Rome and Latium, p. 419.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review, June 30, 2002, Celia E. Schultz, review of Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy: Evidence and Experience.

Choice, November, 1996, review of Early Rome and Latium, p. 514.

Classical Review, November, 2001, John Percival, review of Trade, Traders, and the Ancient City, p. 351; annual, 2003, review of Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy, p. 203.

Economic History Review, May, 1999, Philip De Souza, review of Trade, Traders, and the Ancient City, p. 385.

History: Review of New Books, spring, 2002, review of Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus: New Approaches in Archaeology and History, p. 128.

Journal of Hellenic Studies, annual, 2004, P.A. Lomas, review of Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus, p. 210.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, winter, 2008, Nicola Terrenato, review of The Roman Clan: The Gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology, p. 438.

Journal of Roman Studies, annual, 2002, review of Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus, p. 202.

Journal of Urban History, May, 2000, Peregrine Horden, review of Trade, Traders, and the Ancient City, p. 479; annual, 2002, Steven J. Green, review of Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy, p. 228.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2001, review of Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy, p. 14.

ONLINE

University of St. Andrews School of Classics Web site,http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/ (March 17, 2008), curriculum vitae of Christopher Smith.

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