I studied at the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, and at Balliol College, Oxford, and worked at Wadham and New College (where I held an Esmée Fairbairn Junior Research Fellowship in Classics, and a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship) before joining St John’s in 2012.
I first got my sense of the relevance of ancient history through reading Tacitus (in Russian translation) in the year of the fall of the Soviet Union – and I still find him the most fascinating of ancient historians. Tacitus, who was a provincial governor himself, would have likely found my own research into provincial law and institutions incredibly dull, but he was interested in how the structures of power and the actions of individuals affect each other, and (in a very different way, of course) this is precisely what I try to explore.
I came to Oxford as a complete outsider from a far off country and a Soviet state school, and was incredibly lucky in my Oxford tutors, who were welcoming, supportive, and intellectually stimulating. It is very important to me that everyone interested in ancient history, wherever they come from, should also find Oxford (and St John’s in particular) a welcoming place where their talents can flourish.
I give tutorials in all of Roman (and some of Greek) history papers for Classics, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, and Ancient and Modern History, and lecture for the Faculty of Classics on Roman inscriptions, institutions, and political history of the late Republic and early Empire. I am also involved in teaching faculty classes on Greek City in the Roman World from Dio Chrysostom to John Chrysostom, a very exciting new undergraduate paper which I have helped to put on the syllabus.
I am always happy to supervise DPhil or Master’s students working on Roman law and institutions or on Greek cities under Rome. Recent research topics I have supervised include law and citizenship in the Roman provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, violence against women in petitions from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, Roman law and Greek tradition in credit transactions of the first-century AD Puteoli, and ideological and institutional development of Roman governance in the province of Asia in the late Republican and Augustan age.
I work on institutional, social and political history of the early Roman Empire, history of Roman law, epigraphy of the Roman world (both Latin and Greek), and regional history of Asia Minor and the Black Sea area in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. I am preparing for publication a monograph on Law in Roman Asia Minor (133 BC – AD 212), a book that has been long in the making, and have published on a range of related subjects. In it, I try to deal with the very complex interplay of multiple citizenships and legal systems within Roman provinces. That was one of the central elements of how the Roman Empire functioned and was experienced by the common people, and it is also of comparative interest for historians of other pre-modern and early modern empires.
Among other current interests are the social and institutional history of the province of Lycia-Pamphylia (an idiosyncratic and rather beautiful region in the south-west of Asia Minor) to the beginning of the fourth century AD, imperial legislation concerning municipal government in Book 12 of the late antique Theodosian Code, and spread of Roman citizenship in the ‘long second century AD’. With Tom Lambert and my St John’s colleague Hannah Skoda, I have co-edited Legalism: Property and Ownership (Oxford University Press, 2017), the fourth volume in an interdisciplinary series which attempts to bring together historical and anthropological approaches to law and related phenomena, and ranges from the ancient world to the Aral Sea fisheries.
I am also an associate editor of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (the annual publication summarising research on Greek inscriptions) with responsibility for the Black Sea and Danubian regions, and serve on the editorial board of the Vestnik drevnej istorii, the journal of ancient history of the Russian Academy. Occasionally I blog on research-related topics at https://georgykantorblog.wordpress.com/.
Awards and distinctions
- Visiting Professor, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 2019
- Research scholarship, British Institute at Ankara, 2006
- Ancient History Prize, University of Oxford, 2004
- ‘Roman citizenship among multiple citizenships in Lycia’, in G. Frija (ed.), Être citoyen romain dans le monde grec au IIe siècle p.C. (Bordeaux 2020), 95-115.
- ‘Navigating Roman law and local privileges in Pontus-Bithynia’, in K. Czajkowski, B. Eckhardt and M. Strothmann (eds.), Law in the Roman Provinces (Oxford 2020), 185-209.
- ‘Property in land in Roman provinces’, in G. Kantor, T. Lambert and H. Skoda (eds.), Legalism: Property and Ownership (Oxford 2017), 55–74.
- ‘The date and circumstances of Quintus Iulius Vestalis’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 203 (2017), 85-91.
- ‘Local Law in Asia Minor after
the Constitutio Antoniniana’, in C.
Ando (ed.), Citizenship
and Empire in Europe 200-1900: The Antonine Constitution after 1800 years
(Stuttgart 2016), 45–62.