I studied for my first degree in Ancient History at University College Swansea, and then took an MA in Roman Social History at the University of Reading. A Ph.D. on Roman funerary monuments followed. I then taught in the Classics Department at the University of Reading for several years, before joining the Department of Classical Studies at the Open University.
My research area is Roman death, including funerary customs, funerary monuments and mourning rituals. Looking at Roman death ritual, and how dead Romans were thought of, remembered and commemorated, has the potential to illuminate many aspects of Roman society. I was drawn initially to Roman funerary memorials, focusing on the commemoration of key groups such as freed slaves, gladiators and soldiers, and this then created a broader interest in Roman funeral traditions. I have researched and compiled a source book on death in ancient Rome (Routledge 2007), a book on the dying, the dead and the bereaved in Rome (Continuum 2009) and have co-edited two volumes which focus on aspects of Roman death (Routledge 2000; Oxbow 2011).
I maintain an interest in the burial and commemoration of Roman soldiers, with a chapter on literary representations of military corpses published in War as Spectacle (Bloomsbury 2015), which I also co-edited; a recent article on the burial (real and literary) of the Roman war dead (Mortality 2017); and a forthcoming chapter on the naval epitaphs from Misenum.
My main current research focus is an investigation of traditions surrounding grief and mourning in the Roman world, and I have published several chapters on this subject: methods of bringing solace to the bereaved (http://comingbacktolife.mcgill.ca/article/view/7/53); the evocation of the senses of and by mourners; the use of mementos and clothes as mourning objects; the sounds made by Roman mourners; and how key female figures (Livia and Octavia) were presented as mourning for their loved-ones. I am particulalry interested in how the bodies of mourners were altered by the state of mourning, and the sensory and gendered dimensions present in the performance of mourning.
I am a member of the steering committee for the Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion: www.openmaterialreligion.org.
For publications since 2002 see the publications tab above. For all publications, including those prior to 2002, see https://open.academia.edu/ValerieHope
Roman Death. The Dying and the Dead in Ancient Rome. (Continuum 2009). Online review
Death in Ancient Rome: A sourcebook. (Routledge 2007).
Constructing Identity: The Roman Funerary Monuments of Aquileia, Mainz and Nîmes. (British Archaeological Report.International Series 960 2001).
War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict. Joint editor with A. Bakogianni (Bloomsbury 2015). http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/war-as-spectacle-9781472522290/
Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death. Joint editor with J. Huskinson. (Oxbow 2011). Online review
Death and Disease in the Ancient City. Joint editor with E.Marshall (Routledge 2000). Online review
‘Social Pecking order in the Roman world’, BBC History-Romans (2003)
My main teaching area is Roman history, especially social history, and I have contributed substantial teaching materials to A219/A229 (Exploring the Classical World), A330 (Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds), A340 (Roman Empire), AA309 (Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire), and A864 (MA in Classical Studies, Part 2) covering areas such as Roman Imperial history (Augustus, Claudius, Nero, Domitian, Hadrian), Roman history writing (Suetonius, Tacitus), Italian archaeology (Pompeii, Ostia) and Roman social history (family, housing, dining, bathing, funerary customs).
I would be interested in supervising postgraduate work in Roman history, in particular Roman social history, and especially work related to Roman funerary customs and funerary monuments.