Owen Rees


Owen is an interdisciplinary researcher with a core specialism in ancient history. He studied at the universities of Reading and Nottingham before completing his PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2018. Before he moved to Birmingham Newman in 2023, Owen held postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute of Medical Humanities at the University of Durham, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Nottingham.

Owen is also the founder and lead editor of badancient.com, which brings together a growing network of specialists to fact-check common claims made about the ancient world and expose the prevalent pseudohistory in the modern day.


Research Interests

Owen’s research interests focus on ancient Greek history and the relationship between warfare and civic society. He is also interested in the misuse of ancient history in the modern day, both in public discourse and also in pseudohistory. Outside of his core academic focus, Owen is a public historian and is currently finalising his first trade book, The Far Edges of the Known World: A New Perspective On Our Ancient Civilizations, which will be published in the UK by Bloomsbury in 2025 and by Norton in the US.


Other Activities

Invited Talks

‘Defining the Veteran in classical Greece,’ Veterans Studies Association research seminar series (10 November 2023).

‘The Veteran’s Experience in Classical Greece,’ Municipality of Sparta, Association of US Army-Hellenic Chapter (AUSA), and University of Nottingham’s event: The Art of War: Then and Now – From Thermopylae and Granikos in Afghanistan and Ukraine (6 July 2022)

Sparta and the Internet: the ups and downs of public history online,’ University of Nottingham series: Sparta Live (18 February 2021)

‘Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: An ancient Greek case study in retrospective diagnosis,’ University of Roehampton research day on Death and Trauma (2 December 2020)

‘Greek Warfare and Psychology,” Wolfson College Webinar Series (10 June 2020)

‘We need to talk about Epizelus: PTSD and the Ancient World, talk to the UK veterans’ charity Combat Stress (25 September 2019).

Recent Conference Papers:

“Herodotus, Thucydides, and the ‘making’ of public history,” Public History in European Historical Perspectives (Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, 14-15 September 2023)

“We need to talk about Epizelus: PTSD and the Ancient World,” Ancient World and Modern Societies Workshop (Reading, 6 October 2019).

“Veterans as a political force in Ancient Greece,” Veteran Politics in Europe Workshop (Manchester, 18 Jun 2019) [by invitation].

“Picking over the Bones: The practicalities of processing the Athenian war dead,” History Research Centre Annual Symposium (Manchester, 13 June 2018).

“Incompatible Inking Ideologies: Tattoos in the Ancient Greek World,” HistFest (Lancaster, 3 June 2018).

“Challenging a seamless transition: ideological incongruence between the classical Greek oikos and the military,” Married to the Military: Soldiers’ Families in the Ancient World & Beyond (London, 11-12 November 2016)


  1. Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Rees, O. (2020) “Dogs of War, or Dogs in War? The use of dogs in Classical Greek warfare.” Greece & Rome 67 (2): 230-246.

Rees, O. (2020) “We Need to Talk about Epizelus: ‘PTSD’ and the Ancient World,” Medical Humanities 46 (1): 46-54.

Rees, O. (2018) “Picking over the Bones: The Practicalities of Processing the Athenian War Dead,” Journal of Ancient History 6 (2): 167-184.

  1. Books

Rees, O. (forthcoming, 2025) At the Far Edges of the Known World: a new perspective on our ancient civilisations. London: Bloomsbury.

Rees, O. (2022) Military Departures, Homecomings, and Death in Classical Athens: Hoplite Transitions. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Rees, O. (2018) Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World. Barnsley: Pen & Sword.

Rees, O. (2016) Great Battles of the Classical Greek World. Barnsley: Pen & Sword.

  1. Edited Books

Rees, O., Hurlock, K., and Crolwey, J. (2022) Combat Stress and Pre-Modern Europe. Mental Health in Historical Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

  1. Chapters in Books

Rees, O. (2023) “Rockules’ Revenge: The portrayal of the Veteran Warrior in Brett Ratner’s Hercules.” In K. Nikoloutsos (ed.), Celluloid Battles: Ancient Mediterranean Warfare on Film. Brill’s Companion to Classics. Leiden: Brill.

Rees, O. (2022) “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: An ancient Greek case study in retrospective diagnosis.” In O. Rees & J. Crowley (eds), Combat Stress and the Pre-Modern World. London: Bloomsbury.

Rees, O. (2019) “Incompatible Inking Ideologies in the Ancient Greek World.” In S. Kloß (ed.), Tattoo(ed) Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Aesthetics, Narratives and Practices of Tattoo. Routledge Studies in Cultural History. London: Routledge.