I have been a Lecturer in Oxford University for over thirty years, teaching in the History Faculty and based in Trinity College. My area of expertise and research is the period between the fourth and seventh centuries AD, when the Roman empire crumbled and two new religions emerged on the world stage, Christianity and Islam. In 2005 I published a book on this period, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization, which is aimed at both a general readership and an academic one, and which has been translated into seven different languages. I am currently directing a major project, funded by the European Research Council, on the origin and early development of the cult of Christian saints, examining developments up to around AD 700 across the whole Christian world, from Egypt in the southeast to Ireland in the northwest.
I applied for the job of Director of the Ertegun Programme because Mica Ertegun’s gift represents such a remarkable opportunity for Oxford – one that we must live up to – and because I hugely enjoy working with people and helping to give their ideas concrete reality. My ambitions as Director of the Ertegun Programme are, first and foremost, to ensure that the Scholars flourish, and to make Ertegun House a vibrant centre of debate and activity across all the disciplines of the Humanities.