Historian of late antiquity and Byzantium
Averil Cameron grew up in North Staffordshire and came to Somerville in 1958 to study Literae Humaniores (Classics). She went on to do a PhD at Glasgow University and then taught classical languages and literature as an assistant lecturer at King’s College, London. In 1970, she was appointed Reader in ancient history. She also worked for brief periods in the US. Cameron was Professor Late Antiquity and Byzantine History at King’s College London, where she was also the first Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies. In 1994, she became the first woman Warden of Keble College, Oxford.
Cameron has been Editor of the Journal of Roman Studies, President of the Roman Society and Chair of the Society for Byzantine Studies. She held a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship in the Faculty of Theology 2011-13 and from 2009-14 was President of FIEC (Fédération internationale des associations d’études classiques). She is Chair of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, President of Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville. She was made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours, 2006.
You can read a review of Dame Averil’s recent essay on the formation of her philosophy and subsequent scholarly journeys here.
Averil Cameron on Somerville ‘No one from my family or my school had gone to Oxford, but [a] teacher took me to a summer school in Greek led by John Pinsent of Liverpool University, and he told me I must go to Oxford and to Somerville College, so that is what I did. For all I knew about either, they might as well have been on the moon.’