Wells, Colin 1960-

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Wells, Colin 1960-

(C.M. Wells, Colin Michael Wells)

PERSONAL: Born 1960; married; wife’s name Kate. Education: Attended University of California, Los Angeles; Oxford University, B.A., M.A., D.Phil.


CAREER: Taught at University of Ottawa; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, 1987-2004, became professor of history and Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of Classical Studies; member of faculty of Oxford University and Brasenose College. Director of excavations at Carthage, Tunisia, 1976—, and at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Save Carthage” project.

MEMBER: Archaeological Institute of America, German Archaeological Institute, Society of Antiquaries of London (fellow).


(As C.M. Wells) The German Policy of Augustus: An Examination of the Archaeological Evidence, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1972.

(Editor, as C.M. Wells) Roman Africa/L’Afrique romaine: The 1980 Governor-General Vanier Lectures, University of Ottawa Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

The Roman Empire, Stanford University Press (Palo Alto, CA), 1984, 2nd edition, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of articles to professional journals.

SIDELIGHTS: Colin Wells, a specialist in Roman history and archaeology in the Mediterranean, is the author of Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World, an examination of Byzantium’s influence on Western Europe, Islam, and the Slavic world. Wells divides his work into three parts. In the first, he describes how Byzantine scholars preserved the works of ancient Greek civilization and introduced this learning to fifteenth-century Italy. According to a critic in Kirkus Reviews, “If Byzantine scholars had not preserved ancient Greek culture, Wells establishes, Western Europe might well never have recovered the pillars of literature, philosophy and science upon which to build the Renaissance.” Next, the author explores how Arab Muslims absorbed Byzantium’s teachings on philosophy, medicine, and science. Finally, he looks at the effects of the Byzantine empire on the eastern Slavic world, particularly its religious legacy. Sailing from Byzantium earned strong reviews. “In this deft synthesis of scholarship,” remarked a critic in Publishers Weekly, “classicist Wells shows how the Byzantines exerted a profound influence on all neighboring civilizations.” In Booklist, George Cohen wrote that the author “brings vividly to life this history of a long-lost era and its opulent heritage,” and Robert J. Andrews, writing in the Library Journal, noted: “This history is a needed reminder of the debt that three of our major civilizations owe to Byzantium.”



Booklist, July 1, 2006, George Cohen, review of Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World, p. 26.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Sailing from Byzantium, p. 629.

Library Journal, June 15, 2006, Robert J. Andrews, review of Sailing from Byzantium, p. 86.

Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2006, review of Sailing from Byzantium, p. 52.*