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Thomas S. BurnsSamuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emeritus

Thomas S. Burns, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emeritus of History, (B.A., Wabash College, 1967; M.A., University of Michigan, 1968; Ph.D., 1974); late ancient and early medieval history and archaeology; the barbarian relationship to the Roman Empire through the sixth century and the subsequent barbarian kingdoms; and the transformation of the urban and rural interactions in late Antiquity. Author of The Ostrogoths: Kingship and Society (1980); A History of the Ostrogoths (1984); coauthor, Rome and the Germans as Seen in Coinage (1987); Barbarians within the Gates of Rome: Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, ca. 375-425 A.D. (1994); coauthur, Urban Centers and Rural Contexts in Late Antiquity (2000); Rome and the Barbarians, 100 BC - AD 400 (2003); coauthor, Die römische Siedlung bei Babarc, Komitat Baranya/Ungarn / The Roman Settlement near Babarc, Komitat Baranya, Hungary (2007). Co-Director of archaeological excavations in Passau-Haibach and Manching, Germany and Babarc, Hungary.

At present I am completing a textbook reorienting "Western Civilization" courses away from the traditional London -- Paris -- Rome axis by stressing a much more multi-foci approach involving the integration of eastern and northern Europe, north Africa and Islamic world, with so-called medieval western Europe.  The book is much more thematic than any previous textbook.  Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press.


  • BA, Wabash College, 1967.
  • MA, University of Michigan, 1968.
  • PhD, University of Michigan, 1974.


  • late ancient and early medieval history