John Morris (historian)

John Morris (historian)

Dr. John Morris (1913 - June 1977) was an English historian who specialised in the study of the institutions of the Roman Empire and the history of Sub-Roman Britain. He is best known for "The Age of Arthur" (1973), in which he attempted to reconstruct the history of Britain and Ireland during the so-called "Dark Ages" following the Roman withdrawal, based on scattered archaeological and historical records. The book included detailed chapters on Brittany on the grounds that the Celtic population of Brittany after the migrations from "Greater Britain" meant that "Little Britain" (Brittany) was as much heir to Roman Britannia as were England, Wales and Scotland.

Morris read Modern History at Oxford University, before serving in the Army during the Second World War. After the war he held a Leon Fellowship at the University of London and a Junior Fellowship at the Warburg Institute. In 1948 he was appointed Lecturer in Ancient History at University College, London. He worked in India in 1968 and 1969 as a lecturer for the Indian University Grants Commission, before returning to UCL to become Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, a post he held until his death.

In 1952 Dr. Morris founded the historical journal "Past and Present", which he edited until 1960, and remained chairman of the editorial board until 1972. He was one of the writers, along with A.H.M. Jones and J. R. Martindale, of "The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire", a biographical dictionary of the years 527-641, the first volume of which was published in 1971. He also instigated the publication of a new edition of the Domesday Book, and edited the "Arthurian Period Sources" series. His last book was "Londinium: London in the Roman Empire", published posthumously in 1982.

Morris was a socialist and anti-war campaigner. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1935 as a Labour Party candidate, and was for a time secretary to the Labour MP George Strauss. He was a founder-member of the Committee of 100, an anti-war group founded by Bertrand Russell in 1960, and was later involved in the Institute for Workers' Control.


*John Morris, "Londinium: London in the Roman Empire", 1982: Preface by Sarah McCready; Foreword by Robert Browning
* [ Morris (John) Papers] at University College London

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