Alexandre Roberts

Associate Professor of Classics and History
Alexandre Roberts
Email Office PED 132C Office Phone (213) 740-3037

Research & Practice Areas

Byzantium and the Middle East, Greek and Arabic philology, classical traditions, intellectual history, history of science and religion, history of chemistry


Alexandre Roberts is a Byzantinist, Graeco-Arabist, and intellectual historian specializing in Byzantine and medieval Middle Eastern scholars and their engagement with ancient intellectual traditions. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Chemistry and Its Consequences in Byzantium and the Islamic World—a project that investigates technical treatises of the sort typically called alchemical, as well as philosophical, theological, and legal sources and the Greek and Arabic manuscripts that contain them. His first book, Reason and Revelation in Byzantine Antioch (University of California Press, 2020), was on the eleventh-century Arabic-speaking, Byzantine-Christian scholar Abdallah ibn al-Fadl of Antioch as a window onto the engagement with ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Islamicate thought that took place in and around Antioch-on-the-Orontes during the pivotal century of Byzantine rule over Northern Syria. Links to his publications can be found at


  • Ph.D. History, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
  • M.A. History, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
  • A.B. Physics, Princeton University, 2008
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor of Classics and History, University of Southern California, 2023 –
    • Associate Professor of Classics, University of Southern California, 2022
    • Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Southern California, 2018 – 2022
    • Assistant Professor, History, Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015 – 2018
  • Book

    Book Chapters

    • Roberts, A. M. (2022). Byzantine-Islamic Scientific Culture in the Astronomical Diagrams of Chioniades on John of Damascus. The Diagram as Paradigm pp. 113–148. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2019). A Re-translation of Basil’s Hexaemeral Homilies by Abdallah ibn al-Fadl of Antioch. Patristic Literature in Arabic Translation pp. 198–240. Leiden: Brill, ©2020.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2013). The Crossing Paths of Greek and Persian Knowledge in the 9th-century Arabic ‘Book of Degrees’. Le vie del sapere pp. 279–303. Rome: Pontificio Istituto Orientale.

    Book Review

    • Roberts, A. M. (2017). “The Paths and Memories Tying Antioch to Its Hinterland” (review of Ancient Antioch from the Seleucid Era to the Islamic Conquest, by A.U. De Giorgi). Journal of Roman Archaeology 30. pp. 810–817.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2014). “In Mecca’s Backyard” (review of The Red Sea from Byzantium to the Caliphate: AD 500–1000, by T. Power). Marginalia Review of Books. 29 April 2014

    Journal Article

    • Roberts, A. M. (2023). Thinking about Chemistry in Byzantium and the Islamic World. Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol. 84 (4), pp. 595–619.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2022). Heretics, Dissidents, and Society: Narrating the Trial of John bar ‘Abdun. Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Vol. 76, pp. 117-144.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2022). Hierotechnicians by Name and Their Middle Byzantine Fame. Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies. Vol. 1, pp. 167–199.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2022). Byzantine Engagement with Islamicate Alchemy. Isis. Vol. 113 (3), pp. 559-580.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2022). Islamicate Alchemy in Greek Letters on the First Page of Marcianus graecus 299. Byzantinische Zeitschrift. Vol. 115 (1), pp. 341–349.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2021). A Greek Alchemical Epigram in Its Middle Byzantine Context. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. Vol. 83 [2020 issue], pp. 1–36.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2021). Like a Runaway Slave: The Discourse of an Eighth-Century Muslim Ascetic. Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Vol. 80 (1), pp. 143–166.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2020). Framing a Middle Byzantine Alchemical Codex. Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Vol. 73 [2019 issue], pp. 69–102.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2020). Mathematical Philology in the Treatise on Double False Position in an Arabic Manuscript at Columbia University. Philological Encounters. Vol. 5 (3–4), pp. 308–352.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2017). Being a Sabian at Court in Tenth-Century Baghdad. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 137 (2), pp. 253–277.
    • Roberts, A. M. (2012). Al-Mansur and the Critical Ambassador. Bulletin d’études orientales. Vol. 60 [2011 issue], pp. 145–160.
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, , 2022-2023
    • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship Recipient, Freie Universität Berlin, 2020-2021