Location: Holland Hall 533
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2000
Ancient Mediterranean History Ancient Studies
Fall 2013 Office Hours
& by appointment
Tim Howe was born in California and spent his formative years in the Sierra Nevada foothills, chasing cattle and sheep on his parents’ farm. After completing a B.A. in History and Anthropology at Cal State, Chico, he went “out east” to Penn State for his M.A. and Ph.D. At Penn State, as a student in a Golden Age Latin class, he met his wife, Mary.
Historian, archaeologist, Greek and Latin epigrapher, his fascination with the Ancients began at the tender age of 1 and a half, when he proudly flushed a copy of Thucydides down the toilet. Reflecting his wide interests, he teaches a range of classes about the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, from Egypt and Mesopotamia to Greece, Carthage, Rome and Late Antique Europe. He also serves as Senior Managing Editor for the ancient studies journal Ancient History Bulletin. Prof. Howe is especially interested in Alexander the Great, ancient Mediterranean warfare, agriculture, law, religion, trade, and Greek and Latin historiography and has written numerous articles and book chapters on these topics.
His first book, Pastoral Politics: Animals, Agriculture and Society in Ancient Greece(Regina, 2008), #9 in the Association for Ancient Historians Monograph series, argues that Greek choices about agriculture affected ancient peoples at all levels of society, in all professions and in all types of community, from rural to urban, in a multitude of ways. The book is a discussion about land use, especially politicized land non-use, and attempts to answer three questions: (1) why did wealthy (and even some non-wealthy) people in a dry, mountainous region like Greece prioritize the production of animals to such a degree that they removed their best land from cereal or other food cultivation; (2) how did these people justify taking essential land away from food production in order to raise non-food animals such as horses; and (3) how did these choices about land affect those individuals directly and not directly involved in animal production?
Also for the Association for Ancient Historians Monograph series, Prof. Howe is editing a multidisciplinary study of trading practice from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity, Traders in the Ancient Mediterranean, which will be available in spring of 2012.
Professor Howe in Greece, August 2, 2011 (next to Alexander the Great) Continuing his life-long interest in Alexander the Great, Prof. Howe co-edited Macedonian Legacies: Studies in Ancient Macedonian History and Culture in Honor of Eugene N. Borza (Regina, 2009), a collection of essays from 13 experts in the field honoring his teacher, noted Alexander the Great scholar, Eugene N. Borza. At present, Prof. Howe is working on two books about the Great Macedonian:All Things Alexander the Great (Greenwood, 2013) and Inventing Alexander: A Study in the Sources and Historiography of Alexander the Great. He is also hosting a conference this Summer in Athens, Greece on sources and historiography.
In pursuit of Alexander, Prof. Howe has traveled widely: In September, 2010 he spoke on Alexander Historiography at the 5th International Symposium on Alexander the Great and the Successors in La Coruña, Spain. In March of 2011 he gave a paper on Alexander and King Ptolemy of Egypt at the Dublin Classics Seminar held at University College Dublin. In June of 2011 he was a funded guest of the University of South Africa for the 12th Unisa Classics Colloquium “Alexander in Africa” and the Unisa/Addo Seminar on Alexander the Great. While in South Africa, Prof. Howe gave two papers, one that debunked the common assertion that Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria in Egypt, another that compared ancient and modern insurgencies in Africa in an effort to contextualize why the continent might offer a fertile ground for such movements.
As someone who writes and teaches about ancient warfare, Prof. Howe has been concerned for some time by the trendy and politicized use of terms such as “insurgent” and “terrorist” in both popular and scholarly writing. Uncritically calling the Roman slave leader Spartacus or King Xerxes of Persia a terrorist certainly grabs attention but it also sidelines the rich historical context of both these famous men the strategy of terrorism. In fact, it’s a cheap shot. The critical investigation of insurgency and terrorism in the ancient world can provide a deep context for ancient behaviors that often get overlooked as coherent concerted movements. Likewise, a deep historical perspective can greatly increase understanding of current military actions. So when Brill asked him to edit Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean, a collection of essays by 14 international experts on the
ancient world from Pharonic Egypt (3000 BCE) to Late Roman Europe (600 CE), and write the theoretical introduction, he instantly agreed. Since no methodological approach to either insurgency or terrorism
yet exists for the Ancient Mediterranean World, the book will offer new research that both stimulates informed discussion and shapes the future of scholarship, without any anachronistic connotations of modern military policy or trendy 9/11 parallels.
Prof. Howe has visited many different parts of the Mediterranean, both as a researcher and a teacher, and is always ready to share weird travel stories with anyone bold enough to enter his office. In the Interims of 2006, 2008, and 2011 he took 30 students to Greece. He hopes to continue teaching students in Greece and in the future plans to develop an Interim trip to Italy and an archaeological field school in Turkey.
He, his wife, and his cats are avid birdwatchers and gardeners, and he (and the cats) love to fish. Cooking, especially Mediterranean cooking, is his passion. Someday he hopes to have a farm of his own, full of organic gardens, sheep, a cow or two, and perhaps the odd goat.
Prof. Howe is the faculty advisor for the St. Olaf Society for Ancient History.