AUTHORS/ Brown, Peter
Peter Robert Lamont Brown (born 1935) is a historian and professor of history.
Peter Brown was born in Dublin, Ireland, to an Anglo-Irish Protestant family. He was educated at Aravon School , the oldest preparatory school in Ireland and one of its most distinguished, and then at Shrewsbury School in Shropshire, one of the great "public" schools in England. From 1953 to 1956, he read Modern History at New College, Oxford. His potential was recognized by the award of the Harmsworth Senior Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford, and a seven-year Prize Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford.
Following his graduation Brown began, but did not complete, a doctoral thesis under the external supervision of Arnaldo Momigliano (at that time Professor of Ancient History at University College London). All Souls College subsequently elected him a Research Fellow in 1963 and a Senior Research Fellow in 1970. The Modern History Faculty of the University of Oxford appointed him a Special Lecturer in 1966 and a Reader (ad hominem) in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1971. Brown left Oxford to become Professor of Modern History and Head of the Department of History at Royal Holloway College in the University of London (1975-8), and subsequently left Britain to become Professor of Classics and History in the University of California at Berkeley (1978-86) and, since 1986, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1979 and a Resident Member of the American Philosophical Society in 1995. Following his earlier books, he has received some prestigious and substantial research grants, including the MacArthur Fellowship in 1982 and the Distinguished Achievement Award for scholars in the humanities from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2001. In 2003, he delivered the Charles Homer Haskins Lecture ("A Life of Learning") for the American Council of Learned Societies.
Brown has received a large number of honorary degrees. From outside the USA, he has received honorary doctorates from the University of Freibourg, Switzerland (1974), Trinity College Dublin (1990), the University of Pisa (2001), Cambridge (2004), the Central European University in Budapest (2005), Oxford (2006) and Kings College London (2008). His US honorary doctorates include the University of Chicago (1978), Wesleyan University (1993), Tulane (1994), Columbia University (2001), Harvard University (2002), Southern Methodist University (2004), Yale University (2006), Notre Dame University (2008) and Amherst College (2009). He is also a winner of the Heineken Prize for History (Amsterdam, 1994), the Ausonius Prize for Ancient History (Trier, 1998) and the Premio Anaxilao from the Municipality of Reggio di Calabria (1999). In 2008 he was the co-winner, with Indian historian Romila Thapar, of the prestigious Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity.
Brown, who reads at least fifteen languages, established himself at the age of 32 with his biography of Augustine of Hippo. A steady stream of books and articles has since appeared, and currently, Brown is arguably the most prominent historian of late antiquity. Brown has been instrumental in popularizing late antiquity, the figure of the "holy man" and the study of the cult of the saints.