St John's College Oxford
Dr Amber Gartrell

Dr Amber Gartrell

Stipendiary Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History


I studied at the University of Warwick for my Undergraduate and Masters degrees, before coming to Oxford for my doctorate. For three years I worked as a Stipendiary Lecturer in Ancient History at St Hilda’s College, before arriving at St John’s in 2018.


I teach tutorials at St John’s for a range of Roman history papers for Classics, CAAH and AMH, including the period papers and a range of special subjects. I also co-teach the classes for the Texts and Contexts paper in college.

I lecture for the Faculty of Classics on the historical aspects of the Cicero and Catiline paper and for the Religions in the Greek and Roman World special subject.

Recent publications

  • Gartrell, A., (In preparation) ‘Caesar’s Castor: The Cult of the Dioscuri in Rome from the Mid-Republic to the Early Empire’, Monograph currently undergoing peer review.
  • Gartrell, A., ‘Unequal Brothers: An Exploration of a Succession Strategy of Augustus.’ Inheritance, Law and Religions in the Ancient and Mediaeval Worlds, eds. S.R. Huebner and B. Caseau, Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Monographies 45 (2014) p179–189.

Research Interests

My research explores the connections between Roman religion and other facets of ancient life, including politics, historical events, and cultural changes. I question how each of these influenced and was influenced by the others. I draw upon a wide range of evidence to do so, including ancient literature, inscriptions, coins and art. My doctoral thesis traced the development of the cult of the Dioscuri in Rome through this lens, exploring how their cult adapted to remain relevant to a greatly changing society from the Republic into the Empire.

My current project focuses upon the significance and development of the relationships between humans and gods from the mid-Republican period to the end of the Flavian dynasty. Although such relationships have been widely accepted in scholarship, there has been little exploration of how these were conceived, presented or used by the Romans themselves. My research will illuminate the important role that mortal–divine relationships played in ancient Roman culture.