Averil Cameron

Dame Averil Millicent Cameron DBE FSA FRHistS FBA (née Sutton; born 8 February 1940), often cited as A. M. Cameron, is a British historian. She was Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History at the University of Oxford,[1] and the Warden of Keble College, Oxford, between 1994[2] and 2010.[3]

Dame Averil Cameron

Averil Cameron in Greece.jpg
Averil Millicent Sutton

(1940-02-08) 8 February 1940 (age 82)
Other namesA. M. Cameron
SpouseAlan Cameron
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisThe Histories of Agathias (1966)
Academic work

Early lifeEdit

Cameron was born on 8 February 1940 in Leek, Staffordshire, the only child of working-class parents, Tom Roy Sutton and Millicent (née Drew) Sutton.[4][5] She read literae humaniores at Somerville College, Oxford, where she was awarded the Edwards Scholarship in 1960 and the Rosa Hovey Scholarship in 1962.[6]

From 1962 to 1980, she was married to Alan Cameron (1938–2017), a classical scholar.[4] Together they had a son and a daughter.[5][2]


From 1965 to 1094, Cameron taught at King's College, London. She began as an assistant lecturer, before being promoted to lecturer in 1968 and to Reader in Ancient History in 1970.[6] She was Professor of Ancient History from 1978 to 1989, and Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies from 1989 to 1994.[2] She was Founding Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, serving from 1989 to 1994.[6]

In 1994 she was elected Warden of Keble College, Oxford, where she served as Chair of the Conference of Colleges and as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, chair of committees relating to the Sackler Library, to the St Cross Building, to Honorary Degrees, Select Preachers, to the Bampton Lectures and to the Wainwright Fund, and was a member of the committee on conflict of interest.[citation needed]

Cameron was Editor of the Journal of Roman Studies from 1985 to 1990 and has served as Chair of a number of academic institutions, including the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and the Institute of Classical Studies Advisory Council, and chaired the project on the Prosopography of the Byzantine World at King's College London.[1]

She was vice-chair and then chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and chaired the Review of the Royal Peculiars (1999, Report published 2001).

Cameron has also acted as the President of academic societies including: the Ecclesiastical History Society (2005–2006),[7] the Council for British Research in the Levant,[8] and the International Federation of Associations of Classical Studies (2009–2014).[8]

In 2018, she became President of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (2018–2023).[9]


Cameron's early articles explored early Byzantine and medieval writers including Agathias, Corippus, Procopius, and Gregory of Tours from literary and historical perspectives. Her early monographs, Agathias (1970) and Procopius and the Sixth Century (1985) were accompanied by a number of influential edited collections, including Images of Women in Antiquity, edited jointly with Amélie Kuhrt (1983), and History as Text (1989). With Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: The Development of Christian Discourse (1990), originating as the Sather Classical Lectures at Berkeley, Cameron sparked a scholarly conversation about "the power of discourse in society" in later antiquity, seeking to understand "how Christianity was able to develop a totalizing discourse'" (the phrase itself is borrowed from the work of Michel Foucault).[10]

Along with Peter Brown, Cameron was a pioneer of the field of late antiquity, and her mature scholarship has included substantial surveys such as The Later Roman Empire, AD 284-430 (1993) and significant editorial commissions, including joint editorship of volumes 12, 13, and 14 of the Cambridge Ancient History (second edition).[citation needed]

She wrote on late antiquity and the emergence of Islam, having been a co-founder of the series Studies on Late Antiquity and Early Islam, and recently published a number of influential studies opening up the subject of literary, philosophical and theological dialogues and debates in Byzantium from the early Christian period to the twelfth century, Dialoguing in Late Antiquity (2014), Arguing it Out (2016) and an edited volume with Niels Gaul (2017).[citation needed]

Her short book, Byzantine Matters (2014) and essays including 'The absence of Byzantium' (2008) have given rise to lively debate about the methodology of Byzantine studies.[citation needed]


Cameron holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Warwick,[11] St Andrews,[12] Aberdeen, Lund, London, and Queen's University Belfast, as well as a DLitt. from Oxford.

She became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999 and a Dame Commander (DBE) in 2006.[citation needed]

Cameron is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the British Academy,[13] the Ecclesiastical History Society,[14] the Institute of Classical Studies, London[15] King's College, London, and the Royal Historical Society.

In 2007, a Festschrift edited by Hagit Amirav and Bas ter Haar Romeny, From Rome to Constantinople: Studies in Honour of Averil Cameron (Leuven: Peeters), was published in Cameron's honour.

In 2020, Cameron was awarded the British Academy Kenyon Medal for her lifetime contribution to Byzantine Studies.[16][17]

The medal was awarded for the first time in 1957. Cameron is the second woman to receive the award, after Joyce Reynolds (2017).[16]

Selected bibliographyEdit

Books and edited volumesEdit

  • Agathias (Clarendon Press 1970), ISBN 0-19-814352-4
  • Images of Women in Antiquity, ed. with Amélie Kuhrt (London: Duckworth, 1983, rev. 1993),
  • Procopius and the Sixth Century (Duckworth 1985), ISBN 0-7156-1510-7
  • History as Text, ed. (London: Duckworth, 1989)
  • The Greek Renaissance in the Roman Empire, ed. with Susan Walker (London: 1989)
  • Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: The Development of Christian Discourse (University of California Press 1991), ISBN 0-520-07160-3
  • The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East I: Problems in the Literary Sources, ed. with Lawrence I. Conrad (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1992)
  • The Later Roman Empire, AD 284-430 (Fontana 1993), ISBN 0-00-686172-5
  • The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East II: Land Use and Settlement Patterns, ed. with G.R.D. King (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1994)
  • The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East III: States, Resources and Armies, ed. (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1995)
  • The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity, AD 395-700 (London: Routledge 1993), ISBN 0-415-01420-4; rev/ and expanded ed. (London: Routledge, 2012)
  • Images of Women in Antiquity (rev. ed., Routledge 1993), ISBN 0-415-09095-4 (ed. with Amélie Kuhrt)
  • Eusebius, Life of Constantine, trans. and commentary, with S.G. Hall (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999)
  • Fifty Years of Prosopography, ed., Publications of the British Academy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • The Cambridge Ancient History
  • Doctrine and Debate in Eastern Christianity, 300-1500, ed. with Robert Hoyland (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011)
  • Late Antiquity on the Eve of Islam, The Formation of the Islamic World, ed. (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013)
  • The Byzantines (Oxford: Blackwell 2006), ISBN 0-631-20262-5
  • Dialoguing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, MA:: Ashgate Harvard University Press, 2014)
  • Byzantine Matters (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014)
  • Arguing it Out: Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium (Central European University Press, 2016)
  • Dialogues and Debates from Late Antiquity to Late Byzantium, ed. with Niels Gaul (Milton Park: Routledge, 2017)
  • Byzantine Christianity (London: SPCK, 2017).

Journal articlesEdit

Recent articles include 'The Cost of Orthodoxy', Church History and Religious Culture, vol. 93 (2013) 339–61, and 'Early Christianity and the discourse of female desire', repr. from Women in Ancient Societies, ed. L. J. Archer, S. Fischler and M. Wyke (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994), 152–68, with an afterword, in The Religious History of the Roman Empire. Pagans, Jews and Christians, ed. J.A. North and S.R.F. Price (Oxford readings in Classical Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 505–30, and 'Byzantium and the limits of Orthodoxy', Raleigh Lecture on History, (Proceedings of the British Academy 154 2008), 139–52.[18]


  1. ^ a b Donald MacLeod and Polly Curtis (31 December 2005). "Voices of education win New Year honours". Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Averil Cameron (28 October 1994). "Past Masters". The Times. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Sir Jonathan Phillips elected new Warden of Keble". Keble College, Oxford. 11 October 2009. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b The International Who's Who of Women 2002, third edition, ed. Elizabeth Sleeman, Europa Publications, pg. 88
  5. ^ a b Bagnall, Roger S. (2018). "Alan Douglas Edward Cameron" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of Fellows of the British Academy. 17.
  6. ^ a b c "Cameron, Dame Averil (Millicent), (born 8 Feb. 1940), historian; Warden, Keble College, Oxford, 1994–2010; Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History, 1998–2010, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, 2001–10, Chair, Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, 2010–20, University of Oxford". Who's Who 2022. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Past Presidents of the EHS | Ecclesiastical History Society". www.history.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Averil Cameron - Classics". www.classics.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  9. ^ "The Byzantine Society > About the Byzantine Society > Society Officers". 26 June 2018. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  10. ^ Markus, R. A. (1992). "Review of Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire. The Development of Christian Discourse. (Sather Classical Lectures, 55.)". The Journal of Theological Studies. 43 (2): 702, 701–705. JSTOR 23963957.
  11. ^ Lynne Williams (2 August 1996). "Honorary Degrees". Times. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  12. ^ Harriet Swain and researched by Lynne Williams, ed. (25 September 1998). "Glittering prizes". Times. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Dame Averil Cameron FBA". The British Academy.
  14. ^ "Fellows | Ecclesiastical History Society". www.history.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Fellows: Institute of Classical Studies". 7 February 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Kenyon Medal". The British Academy. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  17. ^ "British Academy's prizes and medals celebrate achievements in humanities and social sciences". The British Academy. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Raleigh Lectures on History". The British Academy. text
Academic offices
Preceded by Warden of Keble College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the Ecclesiastical History Society
Succeeded by