Shane Bjornlie, Ph.D.

Professor of History



Areas of Expertise

Late Antique History
Roman History


Professor Bjornlie is a historian of the Roman Mediterranean and Europe. His research examines the period known as Late Antiquity (4th through 6th centuries AD), with overlap in the study of the High Roman Empire (1st through 3rd centuries AD) and the Early Middle Ages (to the 9th century AD). Professor Bjornlie's primary historical interest is in the political, economic and cultural end of the Roman Empire in the western Mediterranean and Europe and in the ways that the end of the Roman Empire registered in the political, intellectual and religious lives of communities and individuals. His current research project (a book titled, The End of Ancient Education and the Fall of the Western Roman Empire) examines how changes in the educational culture of the Roman world impacted the socialization of the Mediterranean and European elites who maintained the institutional culture of the Roman Empire.


M.A., Ph.D. Princeton University (2006)

Awards and Affiliations

Associate Editor, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Winner of a National Humanities Center Fellowship for 2017-18 (declined)

Winner of the Classical Association of the Midwest and South (CAMWS) First Book Award for 2016

Winner of the Andrew Heiskell Post-doctoral Rome Prize and Fellow of the American Academy in Rome 2010-11

Contributing Faculty, Claremont Colleges Intercollegiate Classics Program and Late Antique-Medieval Studies (LAMS) Program

Research and Publications

The End of Ancient Education and the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (monograph in progress).

"Jordanes and the End of the Roman Empire". In Caillan Davenport and Shushma Malik, eds., Representing Rome's Emperors: Historical and Cultural Perspectives through Time (Oxford UP, 2024) 173-94.

"Urban crises and the contours of Late Antique empire through the lens of Antioch". An introductory essay for, "Antioch in Crisis", a special volume of Studies in Late Antiquity 7.2 (2023) 184-200.

The Selected Letters of Cassiodorus: A Sixth-Century Sourcebook (University of California Press, 2020); featured in the London Review of Books 43.16 (2021).

"Gregory of Tours and the Decem Libri Historiarum between Religious Belief and Rhetorical Habit", Studies in Late Antiquity 4.2 (2020) 153-84.

Cassiodorus' Variae: A Complete and Annotated Translation (University of California Press, 2019).

"The sack of Rome in 410: the anatomy of a late antique debate". In A.E.T. McLaughlin and Young Richard Kim, Leadership and Community in Late Antiquity (Brepols, 2020) 249-79.

"Virtues in a time of war: administrative writing, dialectic and the Gothic War". In Rita Lizzi Testa and Giulia Marconi, eds., The Collectio Avellana and Its Revivals (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2019).

"Beowulf and the textual exclusion of Vikings in the Carolingian world". In Erica Buchberger and Yaniv Fox, Inclusion and Exclusion in Mediterranean Christianities, 400-800 (Brepols, 2019) 69-93.

"Romans, barbarians and provincials in the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus". In Cinzia Grifoni, Clemens Gantner, Walter Pohl and Marianne Pollheimer, Transformations of Romanness: Regions and Identities (DeGruyter, 2018).

Assorted encyclopedia articles (27). In, The Oxford Classical Dictionary of Late Antiquity, ed. Oliver Nicholson (Oxford University Press, 2018).

"The letter collection of Cassiodorus". In Christiana Sogno, Bradley Storin and Edward Watts, eds., A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide to Late Antique Letter Collections (University of California Press, 2016) 433-48.

The Life and Legacy of Constantine: Traditions through the Ages, edited (Routledge, 2016).

A Companion to Ostrogothic Italy, co-edited with Jonathan Arnold and Kristina Sessa (Brill, 2016).

"The rhetoric of varietas and epistolary encyclopedism in the Variae of Cassiodorus". In Geoffrey Greatrex, ed., Shifting Genres in Late Antiquity (Ashgate, 2015).

"Law, ethnicity and taxes in Ostrogothic Italy", Early Medieval Europe 22.2 (2014).

Politics and Tradition between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople: A Study of Cassiodorus and the Variae (Cambridge UP, 2013) Winner of the Classical Association of the Midwest and South First Book Award for 2016.

By appointment