Aaron L. Beek


(901) 678-3869
(901) 678-2720
122 Mitchell Hall
Office Hours
1-2pm Monday, 8-11 am Thursday
Aaron L. Beek


Ph.D.; Classical and Near Eastern Studies/History; University of Minnesota, 2015
M.A., Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity, University of British Columbia 2008
B.A., History/Classics/Linguistics; Macalester College 2006

Courses Taught

World Civilizations I, Ancient World, Greek Experience, Ancient Mediterranean Piracy, North Africa in Antiquity, The Hellenistic StatesResearch Interests

Research Interests

Broad interests: Greek and Roman History, Ancient Near East, Piracy and Banditry, Historiography, Ancient Comedy

Specific interests: The second/third centuries BCE, the Roman conquest of the Greek world, social developments' impact on ancient armies, Roman North Africa.

My research examines a wide swath of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern History, roughly from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, with particular emphasis on naval trade, communications, and warfare. I argue that understanding the explicit and implicit biases of our source material is crucial to understanding the social dynamics of the ancient world.

I work closely on the Hellenistic Period of Greece and the Middle Republic of Rome (that is, the third and second centuries BCE), but I also examine pirates, bandits, and mercenaries across a much wider chronological span.

Representative Publications

Journal Articles
"The Pirate Connection: Roman Politics, Servile Wars, and the East." Transactions of the American Philological Association, 2016

(In progress) "The Magnification of Pompey" Mediterranean Historical Review.

Book Chapters
"Where Have All the Pirates Gone?" In Invisible Cultures: Historical and Archaeological Perspectives. eds. F. Carrer and V. Gheller, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015)

(In progress) "Morality and Mercenaries" in Greek and Roman Military Manuals: Genre, Theory, Influence eds. C. Whately and J. Chlup, (Routledge, 2018).

(in progress) "Legitimate Violence in Illegitimate Times: Dio and his Models" in Cassius Dio: Greek Intellectual and Roman Politician, eds. Carsten Hjort Lange and Jesper Majbom Madsen, Leiden, (Brill, 2019).

Book Review

Review of Mark Woolmer's A Short History of the Phoenicians for BMCR (2018.04.51)

Review of Christian Marek's In the Land of a Thousand Gods: A History of Asia Minor in the Ancient World for Classical Journal (2017.07.06).

I also write for non-academic audiences, such as the magazine Ancient Warfare.

Representative Papers

(upcoming) "Freelancers in Warfare: Hellenistic Coping Strategies for Military Manpower" at the CAMWS-SS meeting (Winston-Salem, NC, October 18-20, 2018)

"Manipulating Social Status, the Army, and Immigration in Late Antiquity" 2nd Research Forum of the Tübingen Center of Advanced Studies

"The Micropolitics of Mobility in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages" (Tübingen, Germany July 19-20, 2018).

"Campaigning against Pirate Mercenaries: A Very Roman Strategy?" at the 18th UNISA Classics Colloquium, (Pretoria, South Africa, October 26-29, 2017).

"The Violence Monopoly: Legitimacy, Imperialism and 'the Other'." at the Celtic Conference in Classics (Montreal, QC, July 19-22, 2017).

"Soldier, Mercenary, or Bandit? Making Determinations of Legitimacy in the Ancient World." at Massey University (Palmerston North, New Zealand, June 23, 2016).

"Military Protests and Mutinies in the Republic" at the Association of Ancient Historians (Tacoma, WA, May 5-7, 2016).

"The Historians' Agenda for Pirates: Describing the Balearic Campaign," at Classical Association of the Middle West and South, (Waco, TX, April 2-5, 2014).

Current Projects

Currently, I am editing a few articles on various aspects of Roman warfare and, in my copious spare time, working on my book Ancient Piracy and Historiography, which discusses, among other things,
1) shifts in attitudes towards piracy and pillaging in the ancient world,
2) the political usage of the word 'pirate' by ancient writers,
3) the ancient military's economic role in employing (and dismissing) pirates and mercenaries.