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Meet Professor Brian Turner
Meet Professor Brian Turner

Brian Turner began his position as Assistant Professor of the Ancient Mediterranean World in 2011. Born and raised in Canada, he completed his BA (Honours) and MA in the Department of Classics, at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario. He obtained his PhD in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a former director of the Ancient World Mapping Center and is currently an Associate Editor of Pleiades, an online gazetteer of the ancient world. Professor Turner is a Roman historian who specializes in ancient military history, especially the treatment of war losses and casualties of war, and the history of geography, cartography and worldview in antiquity.

Professor Turner’s most recent and forthcoming publications focus on the worldview of the Romans. His first article, “War Losses and Worldview: Re-Viewing the Roman Funerary Altar at Adamclisi,” appeared in the American Journal of Philology (2013). In it, Turner reinterpreted the meaning of various geographic references on the altar and argued that it should be understood as a representation – a sort of map – illustrating the vast expanse and power of the Roman Empire. He expanded this argument to include other monuments (the so-called Viminacium tablet and Roman military diplomas) in his “Limitless Empire: The Public Commemoration of Soldiers’ Origins,” (forthcoming). In other publications he has evaluated how Velleius Paterculus recreated the geography of the Roman Empire for his readers, and reappraised the so-called Batavian revolt as a much broader insurgency. He is currently co-editing a volume on how ancient societies responded to military failures. 

Professor Turner teaches survey courses in ancient history, seminars on the Roman Republic and Empire, as well as topics courses on Roman imperialism and geography in the ancient Mediterranean. He also regularly teaches a course on the global history of warfare. He was the Department of History’s 2014 recipient of the John Eliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award.  

Please visit his website to learn more about Professor Turner’s research and teaching. You can also visit PDX Ancient Studies to learn more about the study of ancient history at Portland State University, especially upcoming events such as public lectures.


Name: Brian Turner
Title: Assistant Professor of History
office: 441-U CH
phone: (503) 725-3992
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