Colin Elliott

Associate Chair, Department of History

Associate Professor, Department of History

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Classical Studies

Department of History

  • 812-855-3929
  • Ballantine Hall 858
    1020 E Kirkwood Ave
    Bloomington, IN47405
  • Office Hours
    M onday
    by appointment
    T uesday
    by appointment
    W ednesday
    by appointment
    Th ursday
    by appointment
    F riday
    by appointment
IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

I am an economic and social historian with an interest in money, disease and ecology in the ancient Roman world. My latest book, Pox Romana: The Plague that Shook the Roman World (2024, Princeton) offers a comprehensive, wide-ranging account of the world's first pandemic: the Antonine plague (AD 165-170s). My first book, Economic Theory and the Roman Monetary Economy (2020, Cambridge University Press) considers questions of applying economic theory to ancient societies which bear little resemblance to those under modern capitalism.

I teach courses on all aspects of Roman History, but I tend to focus on economic, social and environmental history. I am honored to have received the David and Cheryl Morley Early Career Award for Outstanding Teaching (2021) and a Trustees Teaching Award (2016). I especially enjoy sharing my research with the wider public (see below for latest media appearances and public talks).

I host a weekly Roman history podcast on Spotify: The Pax Romana Podcast.

Before coming to Indiana University in 2015, I was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Classics and Ancient History at Washington and Lee University.


Research Interests

  • Money, connectivity and economic integration in the Roman world
  • The Antonine plague and ancient pandemics
  • Environmental history of the Roman Empire
  • Social-scientific approaches to history



Book Book

Recent Articles & Book Chapters

  • 'Profile: Roman Economic and Monetary History'. Classical Review (2023).
  • ‘The Antonine Plague, the Grain Trade and the State’ In R. Arnott & R. Breitwieser (eds.), Disease and the Ancient World. Oxbow (2023).
  • Money, Capital and Inequality in the Age of Augustus’. In Neville Morley (ed.), Capital in Classical Antiquity. Palgrave Studies in Ancient Economies (2022).
  • 'The Ecology of Exchange: The Monetization of Roman Egypt'. American Historical Review (2021).
  • ‘Disease Proxies and the Diagnosis of the Late Antonine Economy’. In K. Verboven (ed.), Complexity Economics: Building a New Approach to Ancient Economic History. Palgrave Studies in Ancient Economies (2020).
  • ‘Coin Debasement, Climate and Contagion in Second-Century Egypt’. In Kevin Butcher (ed.), Debasement: Manipulation of Coin Standards in Pre-Modern Monetary Systems. Oxbow (2020).


PhD in Ancient History. University of Bristol. 2012.
BA in History. University of Oregon. 2005.

News Articles

Listen to my weekly podcast: The Pax Romana Podcast.

Interview on The Daily Stoic. Listen here.

Interview on New Books Network. Listen here.

Discussion with Donald Robertson on his Stoicism: Philosophy as a Way of Life podcast. Listen here.

Appearance on Infectious Historians podcast. Listen here.

Interview on NPR's 'The Indicator' from Planet Money. Listen here.

Interview on 'Porchlight with Tom Roznowski'. Listen here.


(All media, interviews, podcasts and other public comments represent my own views, and not those of Indiana University or any affiliates or employees.)