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mikeaztec

Gold Coast, Australia

I am currently a Fellow in the school of History and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. I completed my dissertation at the University of Queensland: The Soldier's Life: Martial Virtues and Hegemonic Masculinity in the Early Byzantine Empire in 2013. My chair was John Moorhead. My examiners were Michael Whitby and Lynda Garland.
I moved to Australia in 2004 after finishing my MA at San Diego State University: Between Two Worlds: Men's Heroic Conduct in the Writings of Procopius under the sage guidance of Mathew Kuefler and my second reader David Christian.

Like my favourite Roman historian, Ammianus, I have served in the military. Indeed, the events surrounding 9/11/ and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq provided me with the original impetus for trying to understand how a demilitarised segment of a population could embrace militarism and men’s martial virtues as a type of hyper-manliness. Living in the United States in this period, I found myself bombarded on a nearly daily basis by a myriad of visual and literary images promoting the soldier’s life as the epitome of the manly life. Even more interesting to me, were the various ways non-soldiers both publicly admired and sought to connect themselves with the martial legacy of the state and the manly identity of its soldiers. The image of a President, who had avoided fighting in Vietnam as a youth, draping himself in manly martial imagery made me ponder the ways similarly non-martial emperors from the Later Roman Empire may have promoted their own martial and masculine ideology. In the highly patriotic world of post 9/11 America, the field of battle seemed to provide a realm where soldiers—who hailed largely from the less privileged classes—could establish a raw manliness superior to that of powerful executives, politicians, famous actors, and professional athletes. While I understood the danger of making anachronistic comparisons between a modern state like the United States and an ancient one like the early Byzantine, it made me consider the ways and some of the reasons why civilian members of a population could, not just admire, but seem to share in a “group” masculinity shaped by the exploits of a relatively small percentage of men.

My research primarily focuses on late antique history, literature, historiography, and masculine ideologies, with an emphasis on the early Byzantine classicising and ecclesiastical historians.

On-going projects include completing a lexicon of “gendered” and “martial” vocabulary in the writings of Procopius. I am also researching the ways “Western” and “Eastern” writers in the twin regimes of the fifth-century Roman Empire utilised gendered pejorative to describe both their Roman counter-parts and non-Romans. So too have I begun exploring the implications that eunuchs
serving in the military had on Byzantine masculine ideologies. Lastly, I am looking at ancient portrayals of the martial emperors from the fifth century: Marcian, Leo I , and Zeno.

I have lectured on the end of the ancient world, early Christianity, and the early Middle Ages