You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Valerie Hope

Dr Valerie Hope

 Valerie Hope photo

Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

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.

Research interests

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). 

Current research is focused on investigating 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; 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, Octavia and the Julio-Claudian emperors) 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 also 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, and recent articles on the burial (real and literary) of the Roman war dead (Mortality 2017) and the naval epitaphs from Misenum (2020).

I am a member of the steering committee for the Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion:

Select Publications

For publications since 2002 see the publications tab above. For all publications, including those prior to 2002, see


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).

Edited Books:

War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict. Joint editor with A. Bakogianni (Bloomsbury 2015).

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)

Teaching interests

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.


An Emperor's Tears: the significance of the mourning of the Julio-Claudian emperors. (2019)
Hope, Valerie M.
Thersites: Journal for Transcultural Presences and Diachronic identities from antiquity to date, 9 (pp. 117-146)

'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori': the practical and symbolic treatment of the Roman war dead (2018)
Hope, Valerie Margaret
Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying, 23(1) (pp. 35-49)

Trophies and tombstones: commemorating the Roman soldier (2003-06)
Hope, Valerie M.
World Archaeology, 35(1) (pp. 79-97)

Roman death: the dying and the dead in Ancient Rome (2009-06-15)
Hope, Valerie
ISBN : 978-1-84725-038-4 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London

Death in Ancient Rome: A sourcebook (2007-11-07)
Hope, Valerie
ISBN : 978-0-415-33158-6 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, UK

Constructing identity: the Roman funerary monuments of Aquileia, Mainz and Nimes (2001)
Hope, Valerie M.
British Archaeological Reports, International Series
ISBN : 1841711802 | Publisher : Archaeopress | Published : Oxford, UK

Octavia: a Roman mother in mourning (2020)
Hope, Valerie
In: Sharrock, Alison and Keith, Alison eds. Maternal conceptions in classical literature and philosophy
ISBN : 9781487532017 | Publisher : University of Toronto Press

Life at Sea, Death on Land: the Funerary Commemoration of the Sailors of Roman Misenum (2020)
Hope, Valerie
In: Bargfeldt, Niels and Hjarl Petersen, Jane eds. Reflections: Harbour City Deathscapes in Roman Italy and Beyond (pp. 79-98)
ISBN : 978-88-5491-014-0 | Publisher : Quasar | Published : Rome

Funerary practice in the city of Rome (2018-09)
Hope, Valerie
In: Holleran, Claire and Claridge, Amanda eds. A Companion to the City of Rome. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World (pp. 383-401)
ISBN : 978-1-405-19819-6 | Publisher : Wiley Blackwell

Vocal expression in Roman mourning (2018-08-01)
Hope, Valerie
In: Butler, Shane and Nooter, Sarah eds. Sound and the Ancient Senses. The Senses in Antiquity (pp. 61-76)
ISBN : 978-1-138-48166-4 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London and New York

Dead people's clothes: Materialising mourning and memory in ancient Rome (2018-07-17)
Hope, Valerie
In: Newby, Zahra and Toulson, Ruth eds. The Materiality of Mourning: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives (pp. 23-39)
ISBN : 9781351127653 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Living without the dead: finding solace in ancient Rome (2017-04-30)
Hope, Valerie
In: Tappenden, Frederick S. and Daniel-Hughes, Carly eds. Coming Back to Life: The Permeability of Past and Present, Mortality and Immortality, Death and Life in the Ancient Mediterranean (pp. 39-70)
ISBN : 978-1-77096-222-4 | Publisher : McGill Scholarly Publishing | Published : Montreal, Quebec

A sense of grief: the role of the senses in the performance of Roman mourning (2017-03-26)
Hope, Valerie M.
In: Betts, Eleanor ed. Senses of the Empire. Multisensory Approaches to Roman Culture (pp. 86-103)
ISBN : 9781472446299 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Funerary practices (2016-02-19)
Graham, Emma-Jayne and Hope, Valerie M.
In: Cooley, Alison E. ed. A Companion to Roman Italy. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World (pp. 159-180)
ISBN : 9781444339260 | Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell | Published : Oxford

Bodies on the Battlefield: the spectacle of Rome's fallen soldiers (2015-10-22)
Hope, Valerie
In: Hope, Valerie and Bakogiannia, Anastasia eds. War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict (pp. 157-178)
ISBN : 978-1-4725-2229-0 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London

Inscriptions and Identity (2014-10)
Hope, Valerie
In: Millet, Martin; Revell, Louise and Moore, Alison eds. The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain
ISBN : 9780199697731 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Livia's tears: the presentation of Roman mourning (2011-10)
Hope, Valerie
In: Whittaker, Helène ed. In Memoriam: Commemoration, Communal Memory and Gender Values in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World (pp. 91-125)
ISBN : 978-1-4438-3290-8 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars Press | Published : Newcastle upon Tyne

Remembering to mourn: personal mementos of the dead in ancient Rome (2011-02-28)
Hope, Valerie
In: Hope, Valerie and Huskinson, Janet eds. Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death (pp. 176-195)
ISBN : 978-1-84217-990-1 | Publisher : Oxbow Books | Published : Oxford

Introduction (2011)
Hope, Valerie M.
In: Hope, Valerie M. and Huskinson, Janet eds. Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death (xi-xxiv)
ISBN : 978-1-84217-990-1 | Publisher : Oxbow Books | Published : Oxford

The end is to the beginning as the beginning is to the end. Birth, death and the classical body (2010-08)
Hope, Valerie
In: Garrison, Daniel H. ed. A Cultural History of the Human Body in Antiquity. A Cultural History of the Human Body (pp. 25-44)
ISBN : 9781845204952 | Publisher : Berg Publishers | Published : Oxford and New York

At home with the dead: Roman funeral traditions and Trimalchio's tomb (2009)
Hope, Valerie
In: Prag, Jonathan R. W. and Repath, Ian D. eds. Petronius: a Handbook (pp. 140-160)
ISBN : 9781405156875 | Publisher : John Wiley and Sons Ltd | Published : Chichester

Age and the Roman soldier: the evidence of tombstones (2007-08)
Hope, Valerie M.
In: Harlow, Mary and Laurence, Ray eds. Age and Ageing in the Roman Empire. Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series (65) (pp. 111-129)
ISBN : 978-1-887829-65-6 | Publisher : Journal of Roman Archaeology | Published : Portsmouth, RI, USA

Remembering Rome: memory, funerary monuments and the Roman soldier (2003)
Hope, Valerie M.
In: Williams, Howard ed. Archaeologies of remembrance: death and memory in past societies (pp. 113-140)
ISBN : 306474514 | Publisher : Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers | Published : New York, USA

War as Spectacle: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict (2015-10-22)
Hope, Valerie and Bakogianni, Anastasia eds.
ISBN : 978-1-4725-2229-0 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London

Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death (2011)
Hope, Valerie M. and Huskinson, Janet eds.
ISBN : 978-1-84217-990-1 | Publisher : Oxbow Books | Published : Oxford