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Jane F. Gardner

Professor Emeritus

Areas of interest

I am aware of the enormous value of Roman law as a source for Roman social history. My research interests include the Roman family, women in Roman society, the legal status of the individual, Roman property and inheritance, Roman business life, and the role of slaves and freedmen in Roman society.

I am perhaps best known for three monographs: Women in Roman Law and Society (1986), a study of the legal and social situation of Roman women, Being a Roman Citizen (1993), concerning the differences between the legal rights of different groups in Roman society, and Family and Familia in Roman Law and Life (1998), which addresses the relationship between the legal institution of the Roman familia, and the realities of Roman family life.

I also published two widely used Penguin Classics translations, Julius Caesar's Civil War (1967) and a revised edition of S.A.Handford's The Conquest of Gaul (1982).


I have no formal undergraduate or postgraduate teaching commitments, but am always very willing to help both staff and students at all levels with advice and information, especially, though not exclusively, on any topic related to my research interests and publications.


From 1961–63 I lectured in Greek and Roman History at University College, Cardiff, then spent two years teaching in Forest Fields Grammar School, Nottingham.

I first came to Reading in 1963, where I was part-time Lecturer in the University's Department of Classics. I was appointed Assistant Lecturer in 1964, Lecturer in 1966, Senior Lecturer in 1988 and Professor of Ancient History in 1993, and held a Leverhulme Trust Research fellowship, 1995–96.

For 16 years (1976–92) I was also Curator of the Department's Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology.

Shortly before my retirement in 1999, I was awarded a D. Litt. by the University of Oxford for my three books on Roman social and legal history (see below).

External appointments:

I taught Classics and English in Forest Fields Grammar School, Nottingham, 1961–63,and Classics (temporary contract) at Kendrick Girls School, Reading, 1963–64. From 1979–81, I was a volunteer teacher of Greek and Classical Studies one evening weekly at Working Men's College, Camden, London.

After retirement, I was Special Professor in the School of Humanities, Classics Department at the University of Nottingham (1999–2002) , helping in particular with the development of the centre for research into the history of slavery.

Academic qualifications

I have an MA in Classics (first class honours) from Glasgow (1955) and a double first in Literae Humaniores from Oxford, BA1959 (MA 1962), where I was Joan Ashdown Scholar at Lady Margaret Hall. 


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