Seth Bernard

Associate Professor
LI 122F


Fields of Study


Seth Bernard has taught at the University of Toronto since 2014. He holds a BA in Classics from Amherst College and a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a Regular Member of the American School for Classical Studies at Athens and a Rome Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. His research focuses broadly on the social and economic history of Rome and Italy, and particularly of the Republican period. He is also deeply engaged in archaeology, and his research is committed to the use of new approaches drawn from science, archaeology, and social sciences to expand our historical understanding of the ancient Mediterranean world. His first monograph Building Mid-Republican Rome: Labor, Architecture and the Urban Economy, 400-200 BCE (OUP 2018) examined the developing structures of labor in the Mid-Republican city of Rome from the vantage point of the city’s building industry. A second monograph looking at historical behaviour in Pre-Roman Italy is now in press entitled Historical Culture in Iron Age Italy: History, Archaeology and the Use of the Past, 900-300 (OUP). In addition, he has co-edited with L. Mignone and D. Padilla Peralta a forthcoming volume intending to reframe the study of the Middle Republican period, Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, 400-200 BCE (CUP 2023). He is additionally working on a volume co-edited with Sarah C. Murray on morality and the ancient economy, a short volume on Roman labor economics, and a multidisciplinary co-authored account of the environment and climate history of first millennium BCE Italy resulting from a SSHRC-funded conference on Climate and the Roman Conquest of Italy, which he organized in 2021. He has published over sixty papers, chapters, and book reviews on related themes including in Journal of Roman Archaeology, Papers of the British School at Rome, Journal of Roman Studies, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Phoenix, Mnemosyne, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Numismatic Chronicle, and others.

His current research is carried out under the umbrella of a project on economic development and Roman imperialism in Italy from c. 500 – 200 BCE. This project is supported by an Insight Research Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and aims at collecting and analyzing all available data for consumption, production, and exchange, including textual and archaeological evidence, as well as relevant climate data. 

Seth has participated in archaeological fieldwork projects for well over a decade in Greece, Morocco, and Italy. From 2018-2019, he co-directed with colleagues at the University of Siena excavations at the site of Populonia in Tuscany and is now working to bring results to publication. A preliminary report is available (in Italian) in the open-access online journal Gradus. From 2021 onward, he co-directs with colleagues from Harvard University and the British School at Rome excavations at the urban site of Falerii Novi, north of Rome. This new, multi-year project was featured in the University of Toronto news.

He is happy to speak with prospective students interested in working on various topics of Early and Republican Roman socioeconomic history and the archaeology of Rome and Italy.


PhD, University of Pennsylvania