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Thomas Christopher Lawrence

Thomas Christopher Lawrence

Teaching Professor of History

224 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802


  1. PhD, University of Tennessee, 2013
  2. MA, University of Toronto, 2001
  3. BA, University of Massachusetts, 1997


I am a historian of the later Roman Empire and early medieval Europe. My research is mainly focused on the political and cultural history of the Roman Empire during the fourth and fifth centuries C.E., particularly topics such as Roman/“barbarian” interaction, the rise of the military aristocracy, and the collapse of Roman central authority in Western Europe in the late fifth century. My recent dissertation, entitled “Crisis of Legitimacy: Honorius, Galla Placidia, and the Struggles for Control of the Western Roman Empire, 405 – 425 C.E.”, combined these interests to offer a new analytical narrative of the turbulent first quarter of the fifth century.

Recent Publications:

“Rise of Christianity: Imperial Patronage and the Struggle for Religious Dominance in the Later Roman Empire.” InWorld Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy. ABC-Clio, 2014.

Entries on Alaric I, Childeric I, Jordanes, Orosius, the Alammani, the Alans, the Goths, the Huns, and the Vandals in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Edited by Roger S. Bagnall, Kai Brodersen, et al. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

Awards and Service:

International Network for Late Antiquity Travel Grant (2010)
Jimmy and Dee Haslam Dissertation Prize (2010)
Jimmy and Dee Haslam Summer Dissertation Prize (2009)

Recent Courses:

HIST 001 - Western Heritage I
HIST 010 - World History I
HIST 105 - Byzantine Empire
HIST 120 - Europe Since 1848
HIST 302W - The World of Late Antiquity
HIST 407 - Early Medieval Society

Areas of Specialization:

Medieval and Ancient History: