Special Episode – Early Rome with Emeritus Professor Tim Cornell

There is much less scholarly work on the early Roman Republic than there is on periods like the late Republic or early Empire. This is understandable as there are fewer primary sources, and what we have does not always seem quite as reliable. There are still people who have chosen to focus on this era, and one of our major scholarly sources has been the work of Emeritus Professor Tim Cornell.

Special Episode – Early Rome with Emeritus Professor Tim Cornell

Professor Cornell has held many prestigious academic posts in his long career, working at Christ’s College, Cambridge, the British School at Rome, University College London, the University of Birmingham, the Institute of Classical Studies, and he is currently the President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. His book The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (1995) is an incredible resource. Another of his major contributions to scholarship was overseeing the multi-volume Fragments of the Roman Historians (2013) which brings all the fragments of scholars for whose works are not extant together in one collection. In short, Cornell’s work has had a huge influence on the field of early Roman history!

We were blown away that Professor Cornell agreed to sit down and chat to us about all the most confusing parts of early Rome. He helped us to address issues such as:

  • What were battles really like?
  • What was the structure of the government in this period?
  • What on earth was going on with the Conflict of the Orders?
  • And most importantly, who really is the better historian, Dionysius or Livy?

We hope that you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it. It certainly helps to draw together a lot of the themes in our episodes so far and paint a more complete picture of this first phase of the Roman Republic.If you are interested in reading more of Professor Cornell’s work, please check out his profile on Academia.Edu

The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-362 BC), by Tim Cornell - Book Cover

Cornell’s work on early Rome is pretty amazing and we recommend you check it out!

The Roman Forum

View of the Roman Forum from Via di Monte Tarpeo (2017) by Marcel Roblin and courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!


  1. Deanie Evans
    September 9, 2022

    What a joy to listen to Tim Cornell, he is my favourite! As a mature student of Ancient History years ago at Cardiff University, I have to admit his was the only book (The Beginnings of Rome and I still have and treasure my copy) I read from cover to cover such was his lucid and intriguing narrative. Please to hear he finds Livy’s commentary moving as did/do I. Thank you so much.

    • The Partial Historians
      September 22, 2022

      So glad you enjoyed it! It was a real thrill for us to talk with Tim Cornell as well, such a luminary in the field and just a real pleasure to learn from 🙂

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