Mattias Gassman

Assistant Professor of Humanities

Mattias Gassman will be Assistant Professor of Humanities starting in Fall 2024. He was previously a research fellow at the University of St. Andrews and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on a core theme in the history of Western culture––the transformation of Roman religious ideas by Christianity. His first book was Worshippers of the Gods: Debating Paganism in the Fourth-Century Roman West (Oxford University Press, 2020). In addition, Gassmann has published nearly two dozen articles, including ones in Journal of Early Christian Studies, Journal of Late Antiquity, Journal of Theological Studies, and Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

Current Project

Gassman’s current book project is Citizens of the Earth: Pagans and Their Gods in Augustine’s North Africa, the first comprehensive account of Augustine’s ideas on Roman religion, from his initial engagement with the gods of Vergil in the early 390s to the late books of City of GodCitizens of the Earth, like Worshippers of the Gods, aims to set historiography free from unexamined reliance on modern conceptions about the rise of Christianity. It tests organizing concepts such as ‘secularity’, ‘paganism’, ‘community identity’ and ‘religion’ itself against the ideas actually articulated by ancient thinkers.



  • Ph.D. in Classics, University of Cambridge, 2017
  • M.Phil. in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, University of Oxford, 2014
  • M.A. in Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota, 2011
  • B.A. in Classical Studies and German and B.S. in Biophysics (summa cum laude), Iowa State University, 2008

Publications - Books

Publications - Articles

“The composition of De consensu euangelistarum 1 and the development of Augustine’s anti-pagan arguments,” Augustinian Studies (forthcoming)

“Semi-pagans? Some mutations of non-Christian thought in late antiquity,” Studies in Late Antiquity (forthcoming)

“The consul of heavenly Rome: reclaiming aristocratic virtue in Prudentius, Peristephanon 2,” Hermes (forthcoming)

“The chronology of the final books of City of God: data and hypotheses,” Revue Benedictine (2024)

The Downfall of Caelestis: Salvian of Marseille and the End of Public Cult in Roman Carthage,” Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte (2024)

Converting after Constantine: Firmicus Maternus and the Scriptures,” Journal of Early Christian Studies (2023)

Christianity and Graeco-Roman Paganism,” St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology (20,000-word invited contribution, open-access) (2022)

A Late Antique Preacher in Action: Augustine, Ep. 29,” Journal of Late Antiquity 15 (2022), 130–59.

Arnobius’ Scythians and the Dating of Aduersus nationes,” The Journal of Theological Studies 72 (2021), 832–42.

An Afterlife of a Scholarly Epic: Frazer’s Golden Bough and Lewis’s Argument from Myth,” Journal of Inklings Studies 11 (2021), 133–152.

An Ancient Account of Pagan Origins: Making Sense of Filastrius, Diuersarum hereseon liber 111,” Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 67 (2021), 83–105

Directing the Eye of the Soul: Form and Function in an Ancient Scenic Monologue (Cyprian, Ad Donatum),” Journal of Early Christian Studies 29 (2021), 371–96.

On an Alleged Senatus Consultum against the Christians,” Vigiliae Christianae 75 (2021), 548–55.

The Ancient Readers of Augustine’s City of God,” Augustinian Studies 52 (2021), 1–18.

A Feast in Carthage: Testing the Limits of ‘Secularity’ in Late Antiquity,” Journal of Roman Studies 110 (2020), 199–219.

Cyprian’s Early Career in the Church of Carthage,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 70 (2019), 1–17.

Debating Traditional Religion in Late Fourth-Century Roman Africa,” Journal of Late Antiquity 11 (2018), 83–110.

The Roman Kings in Orosius’ Historiae Adversum Paganos,” Classical Quarterly 67 (2021), 617–30.

“The Conversion of Cyprian’s Rhetoric? Towards a New Reading of Ad Donatum,” Studia Patristica 94 (2017), 247–57.

Et Deus et Homo: The Soteriology of Lactantius,” Studia Patristica 80 (2017), 35–41.

Eschatology and Politics in Cyril of Jerusalem’s Epistle to Constantius,” Vigiliae Christianae 70/2: 119–33.

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