Prof. Dr. Julia Hillner

BCDSS Professor and Research Area E Representative
Principal Investigator in project: Connecting Late Antiquties

Heusallee 18–24
Room U1.200
53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 228 73 62953

Office hours: Mondays, 11 am – 1 pm

Team: Dr. James M. Harland (postdoctoral researcher),  Giulia Cappucci (PhD researcher), Azime Can and Josephine Probst (student assistance)

© Barbara Frommann

"Researching and teaching at BCDSS will allow me to situate my field - social and gender relations at the end of antiquity - within the widest possible variety of pertinent questions and approaches to the theme of dependency in the pre-modern world, ranging from law to theology and material culture. This is a huge privilege and I can't wait to get started."

Academic Profile

Julia Hillner works predominantly on the transformations of the family and the household in the period 300–750 and how these transformations are reflected in legal norms and practices. She has published widely on related topics: from the urban context of the family and property holding, particularly in the city of Rome, to issues of authority, dependency, hierarchy and discipline within the household and how these have influenced concepts and practices of state punishment. Most recently, she has researched structures of dependency within the late Roman imperial household, especially during the reign of the first Christian emperor Constantine.

Julia Hillner currently works on two research projects. 

The first, Women’s Chains: Jewels, Slavery and the ‘Rhetoric of Unadornment’ in Late Antiquity, focusses on discourses and practices around female bodily adornment in late antiquity, especially with regard to the wearing of jewellery. She investigates the tensions between Christian demands for a radical departure from female beautification that expanded on classical themes around jewellery as an expression of sexual depravity, weakness, deceitfulness, greed or foreigness, and the emergence of a widely accepted display of jewellery at all levels of society and across the gender spectrum. Julia has laid the groundwork for this project during a Heinz-Heinen Fellowship at BCDSS in the spring of 2021. You can listen to her talking about an aspect of her research at the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies here22.

Julia’s second on-going project, Women, Criminality and Justice in Late Antiquity (c. 200 to c. 600) investigates the role of women and gender in late antique definitions of ‘crime’ and in actual criminal procedure. It seeks to understand how the social, cultural and political changes in this period affected the ways in which female criminals were treated and the ways through which women sought and dispensed justice. It also considers gendered discourses around the definitions of crime and punishment as well as their influence by and their impact on changing concepts of political and religious leadership in this period.

Julia is currently PI, together with Prof Richard Flower (Exeter), on the project Connecting Late Antiquities, funded by a UK-German collaborative grant from the AHRC and DFG from 2023-2025. The project will digitise the monumental Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire and build a digital platform for disparate late antique prosopographical data. Julia is also currently Co-I, with Dr Caroline Goodson (PI; Cambridge) on the project Reassessing Rome after Empire: An Urban History Approach55, which will result in the Brill Companion to Early Medieval Rome. In the past, Julia has been PI on two major international research projects, The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity and Women, Conflict and Peace: Gendered Networks in Early Medieval Narratives. Both projects have applied and expanded on Digital Humanities methods, in particular network analysis.

3 monographs, 2 edited volumes, 1 guest-edited special journal issue, 15 journal articles, 13 chapters in edited collections, 8 dictionary entries, 1 online database, 16 book reviews.

Ph.D. Ancient History, University of Bonn, Germany

1. Staatsexamen in History, Italian, Education, University of Bonn, Germany

since 2021
Professor of Dependency and Slavery Studies (Imperial Rome, Late Antiquity), University of Bonn

Chair in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Reader in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Classics and Ancient History, University of Manchester, UK

Teaching Fellow in Early Christianity, Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, UK

Research Associate, Centre for Late Antiquity, University of Manchester, UK

AHRC and DFG Grant for Connecting Late Antiquities (CLA)

British Academy Conference Grant 2021, Reassessing Rome after Empire: An Urban History Approach (Co-Investigator)

Leverhulme Trust Project Grant Women, Conflict and Peace: Gendered Networks in Early Medieval Narratives (Principal Investigator)

Arts and Humanities Research Council Project Grant, The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity (Principal Investigator)

Heinz-Heinen Senior Fellowship, Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn (January-August).

Alumni Fellowship, Humboldt Foundation, held at the University of Bonn (September-December).

PROSE Award Honorable Mention for Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity.

Research Fellowship, Humboldt Foundation, held at the University of Frankfurt.

Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of Sheffield.

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Graduiertenförderung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (doctoral scholarship).

Elected Council Member and Trustee of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies13

Elected Member, Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters, British School at Rome14

  • 2023. Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2022. And Máirín MacCarron, Ulriika Vihervalli. "The Politics of Female
    Namelessness between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, circa 300 to 750." Journal of Late Antiquity 15 (2): 367-401.
  • 2021. And Máirín MacCarron. “Female Networks and Exiled Bishops between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: The Cases of Liberius of Rome and Wilfrid of York.” In Relations of Power. Women’s Networks in the Middle Ages, edited by Rebecca Hardie, Irina Dumitrescu, and Emma O. Bérat, 19–44. Göttingen: V&R unipress.
  • 2020. And Ana L.C. Bazzan, Silvio R. Dahmen, Máirín MacCarron, Sandra D. Prado. “Gendered Networks and Communicability in Medieval Historical Narratives.” Advances in Complex Systems 23(3): 2050006.
  • 2020. “Female Crime and Female Confinement in Late Antiquity.” In The Violence of Small Worlds. Conflict and Social Control in Late Antiquity, edited by Kate Cooper and Jamie Wood, 15–38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ed. 2019. Clerics in Exile: Networks, Space and Memory. Special Issue of Studies in Late Antiquity 3(3).
  • 2019. “Empresses, Queens and Letters: Finding a ‘Female Voice’ in Late Antiquity?” In Gender & History 31(2): 353–382.
  • 2019. “Preserving Female Voices: Female Letters in Late Antique Letter Collections.” In The Collectio Avellana and its Revivals, edited by Rita Lizzi Testa and Giulia Marconi, 210–244. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • 2019. “Exclusion, Intégration ou Exclusion par l’Intégration? Géographies du Banissement et Asile à la Fin de l'Empire Romain (Ve–VIe siècle).” In La Construction du Sujet Exclu (IVe–XIe siècle). L'Individu, la Société et l'Exclusion, edited by Cristina La Rocca, Sylvie Joye, and Stéphane Gioanni, 45–68. Turnhout: Brepols Publisher.
  • 2017. “A Woman’s Place: Imperial Women in Late Antique Rome.” Antiquité Tardive 25: 75–94.
  • ed. 2016. And Jakob Engberg, and Jörg Ulrich, eds. Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity. Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity 17. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
  • 2015. Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2013. “Family Violence: Punishment and Abuse in the Late Roman Household.”In Approaches to the Byzantine Family, edited by Shaun Tougher and Leslie Brubaker, 21–45. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • 2013. “Confined Exiles: An Aspect of the Late Antique Prison System.” Millennium: Jahrbuch zur Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausend n. Chr. 10: 385–433.
  • 2011. “Gregory the Great’s Prisons: Monastic Confinement in Early Byzantine Italy.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 19(3): 433–471.
  • 2009. “Monks and Children: Corporal Punishment in Late Antiquity.” European History Review/Revue Européenne d’Histoire 16(6): 773–791.
  • 2007. “Monastic Imprisonment in Justinian’s Novels.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 15(2): 205–237.
  • 2007. And Kate Cooper, eds. Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300–900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2006. “Clerics, Property, and Patronage: The Case of the Roman Titular Churches.” Antiquité Tardive 14: 59–68.
  • 2004. Jedes Haus ist eine Stadt. Privatimmobilien im spätantiken Rom. Alte Geschichte 47. Bonn: Habelt Verlag.
  • 2003. “Domus, Family, and Inheritance: The Senatorial Family House in Late Antique Rome.” Journal of Roman Studies 93: 129–145.
  • 2001. “Die Berufsangaben und Adressen auf den stadtrömischen Sklavenhalsbändern.” Historia. Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 50: 193–216.

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