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Thomas McGinn

Professor of History
Professor of Law

Thomas McGinn studies Roman law and social history and Latin literature. He has taught in Vanderbilt’s Department of Classics since joining the faculty in 1986. Professor McGinn is the author of several books, including Widows and Patriarchy: Ancient and Modern (Duckworth, 2008) and editor of the essay collection, Obligation in Roman Law: Past, Present and Future (University of Michigan Press, 2012). His book Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome (Oxford University Press, 1998) was the recipient of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South’s inaugural Outstanding Publication Award in 2002. Professor McGinn has received numerous fellowships, including Fulbright, American Academy in Rome and National Endowment for the Humanities, for his research.

Research Interests

Latin literature, Roman law and social history


Representative Publications

  • “Legal Roots: The International Journal of Roman Law,” 2 Legal History and Comparative Law 7 (2013)
  • “The Marriage Legislation of Augustus: A Study in Reception,” in Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rome (P. Erdkamp, editor), Cambridge University Press (2013)
  • “Stranger Than Fiction: The Survival of a Roman Rule in the Common Law of Twenty-First-Century Colorado” in Childhood and Education in the Classical World (T. Parkin and J. Evans Grubbs, editors), Oxford University Press (2013)
  • “Roman Children and the Law” in A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities (T. K. Hubbard editor), Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World, Wiley-Blackwell (2013)
  • “A Conference on Roman law: The Future of Obligations,” in Obligations in Roman Law: Past, Present, and Future (T. McGinn, editor), University of Michigan Press (2012)
  • “Something Old, Something New: Augustan Legislation and the Challenge of Social Control,” 22 Ancient History Bulletin 1 (2008)
  • Casebook on Roman Family Law, Oxford University Press, 2004 (with Bruce Frier)
  • The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: A Study of Social History and the Brothel, University of Michigan Press, 2004 (second printing 2005)
  • Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome, Oxford University Press, 1998 (paperback edition 2003)