Dr. Barrett’s areas of research are Roman literature and history, and classical art and archaeology. Since 1988 he has been Director of the excavation of the Roman fort on the ‘Lunt’, a plateau overlooking the river Sowe to the south of the city of Coventry, England. Professor Barrett conducts an annual training excavation at the site each August.
His other main research activity is involvement in the Imperial Biographies Series published by Yale University Press. This series envisages new analyses of the lives and careers of the more significant figures of Rome’s imperial families. Dr. Barrett has so far completed three volumes in the series. His first book, Caligula: The Corruption of Power, offered the portrait of a sane and rational emperor, but one without moral compunctions. It has been translated into Italian, with Russian and German editions pending. The second, Agrippina: Sex, Power and Politics in the Early Empire, seeks to dispel that notion of the promiscuous murderess and to suggest that Agrippina’s contribution to the state was beneficial. It also argues that she saw her main role as partner to the emperor Claudius, rather than merely the agent of her son Nero. A Russian edition is pending. A third volume on Livia, the wife of the first emperor, Augustus, was published in 2002 (Yale University Press).
Dr. Barrett is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and of the Society of Antiquaries, London. From 1993 – 1998 he served as Head of the Department of Classics at UBC.