James Howard-Johnston

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James Howard-Johnston
Born12 March 1942
Dublin, Ireland [1]
Academic background
EducationChrist Church, Oxford
ThesisStudies in the Organization of the Byzantine Army in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (1971)
Doctoral advisorDimitri Obolensky
Academic work
InstitutionsCorpus Christi College, Oxford
Doctoral studentsMark Whittow, Peter Heather, Peter Frankopan
Notable worksThe Last Great War of Antiquity

James Douglas Howard-Johnston (born 12 March 1942) is an English historian of the Byzantine Empire. He was University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His approach to Byzantium follows that of Edward Gibbon and concentrates on comparisons between the Byzantine state and its Western counterparts. Howard-Johnston has also done research on Late Antiquity, especially the Roman–Persian Wars and the early history of Islam.


Howard-Johnston was Junior Research Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1966 to 1971, during which he also held a Junior Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks (1968-9). Later, he was University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, until his retirement in 2009. He was briefly interim President of the same college in the mid-2000s.


He was a member of Oxford City Council (1971-6) and Oxfordshire County Council (1973-7, 1981-7).[2][3]

Alexiad authorship[edit]

In 1989 Howard-Johnston asserted that The Alexiad of Anna Komnene could not have been written by a "Constantinople-bound princess" and that "the detailed and conversant campaign narratives of the Alexiad can only have been constructed by a 'latterday [sic] Procopius' or retired soldier."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Howard-Johnston is a stepson of the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper and grandson of Douglas Haig. He is married to the novelist Angela Huth and has a step-daughter (Candida Crewe, daughter of Quentin Crewe) and a daughter (Eugenie Teasley).[5] [6]


  • (with Nigel Ryan) The Scholar & the Gypsy: Two Journeys to Turkey, Past and Present (1992)
  • (ed. with Paul Hayward) The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Essays on the contribution of Peter Brown (1999)
  • Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century (Oxford 2010)
  • Historical Writing in Byzantium (Heidelberg 2014)
  • (ed.) Social change in town and country in eleventh-century Byzantium (Oxford 2020)
  • The Last Great War of Antiquity (Oxford 2021)


  1. ^ "Instagram".
  2. ^ Sinclair, Kyle (2014). "Anna Komnene and Her Sources for Military Affairs in the 'Alexiad'". Estudios Bizantinos 2. 2 (2014): 145. doi:10.1344/EBizantinos2014.2.6. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  3. ^ https://global.oup.com/academic/product/witnesses-to-a-world-crisis-9780199694990?cc=gb&lang=en&#. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Booth, Phil; Whitby, Mary (2022). Booth, Phil; Whitby, Mary (eds.). "Preface". Mélanges James Howard-Johnston. Paris: XIII.
  5. ^ "OUP publication 'Witnesses to a World Crisis'".
  6. ^ Kilner, Lara (26 November 2023). "'After seven years of Dementia, Mama is Back.' Daily Telegraph, 26 Nov 2023". The Telegraph.