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Robert Wiśniewski

image of Prof. Robert Wiśniewski

Areas of interest

My research is focused on religious transformations in Late Antiquity, and particularly on the cult of saints and their relics, demonology, divination, and the history of clergy. I also have a strong interest in databases and their role in the historian’s toolbox. In Reading I am completing a book on the presbyters in the late antique West and preparing a new project in which I want to investigate the ways in which ancient societies were affected by and reacted to theft.


During my sabbatical year at Reading, I do not run regular courses, but will be most happy to talk with students about their interests and research.

Research centres and groups

Centre for Research on Ancient Civilizations (Warsaw)


I am spending in Reading the academic year 2022/3 thanks to the Leverhulme Visiting Professorship. Normally I am based at the University of Warsaw, but I was also a visiting fellow at Trinity and All Souls colleges (Oxford), École Pratique des Hautes Études and École Pratique des Sciences Sociales (Paris), Central European University (Budapest) and the University of Princeton.


Profile at UW website

Selected publications

  • Christian Divination in Late Antiquity, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2020.
  • The Beginnings of the Cult of Relics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • Culte des saints et littérature hagiographique. Accords et désaccords, ed. by Vincent Déroche, Bryan Ward-Perkins & Robert Wiśniewski, Leuven: Peeters, 2020.


  • How Numerous and How Busy Were Late Antique Presbyters?, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 25 (2021), 3-37.
  • G. Zanchetta, M. Bini, K. Bloomfield, A. Izdebski… R. Wiśniewski, Beyond one-way determinism: San Frediano’s miracle and climate change in Central and Northern Italy in late antiquity, Climatic Change 165, 25 (2021).
  • Relate and Retell: Eastern Monastic Stories and the Beginnings of Latin Hagiography, in Metaphrasis. A Byzantine Concept of Rewriting and Its Hagiographical Products, éd. Stavroula Constantinou et Christian Høgel, Leide : Brill, 2020, 63-82.
  • Demons in Early Latin hagiography, in Demons in Late Antiquity. Their Perception and Transformation in Different Literary Genres, ed. Eva Elm & Nicole Hartmann, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2020, 95-117.
  • Clerical Hagiography in Late Antiquity, in The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood, ed. Christa Gray & James Corke-Webster, Leiden, Brill, 2020, 93-118.
  • Entre la popularité et le culte. Les histoires monastiques et la vénération des saints moines en Occident, in Culte des saints et littérature hagiographique, Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 185-206.
  • Spreading the Belief in Miracles in the Late Antique West, in Travaux et Mémoires 21 (2019) 833-848.
  • The Last Shall Be Last: the Order of Precedence among Clergy in Late Antiquity, Sacris Erudiri 58 (2019), 321-337.


  • Pagans, Jews, Christians, and a type of book divination in Late Antiquity, Journal of Early Christian Studies 24 (2016), 553-568.
  • Pagan temples, Christians, and demons in the late antique East and West, Sacris Erudiri 54 (2015), 111-128.
  • Local and overseas saints and the religious identity of Vandal Africa, Sacris Erudiri 52 (2013), 103-117.
  • Si fama non fallit fidem. Les druides dans la littérature latine de l’antiquité tardive, Antiquité Tardive 17 (2009), 307-315.
  • Deep Woods and Vain Oracles: Druids, Pomponius Mela and Tacitus, Palamedes. A Journal of Ancient History 2 (2007), 143-156.
  • Suspended in the air. On a peculiar case of exorcism in late ancient Christian literature, in: Euergesias Charin. Studies Presented to Benedetto Bravo and Ewa Wipszycka, Warsaw 2002, 363-380.
  • Bestiae Christum loquuntur ou des habitants du désert et de la ville dans la Vita Pauli de saint Jérôme, Augustinianum 40 (2000), 105-144.


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