A native of Brooklyn, Ronald Mellor made daily expeditions to Manhattan to study Latin and Greek at Regis High School. He later studied classics and philosophy at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and Fordham University (A.B. 1962). He received his doctorate in Classics at Princeton University in 1968.
Mellor first taught in the Classics department at Stanford University and, since 1976, has been teaching Greek and Roman History in the History department at UCLA. His courses include Western Civilization and World History, as well as a month-long Travel Study course he taught for ten summers in Rome for the UCLA Summer Session.
He has been a Visiting Fellow/Scholar at University College London, the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University, the American Academy in Rome, and the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Mellor’s research has centered on ancient religion and Roman historiography. His books include: THEA ROME: The Goddess Roma in the Greek World (1975); From Augustus to Nero: The First Dynasty of Imperial Rome (ed. 1990); Tacitus (1993); Tacitus: The Classical Heritage (1995); The Historians of Ancient Rome (ed. 1997; 2nd ed. 2004; 3rd ed. 2013); The Roman Historians (1999); and Text and Tradition: Studies in Greek History and Historiography in Honor of Mortimer Chambers (co-ed. 1999); Augustus and the Creation of the Roman Empire (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005); and The Annals of Tacitus, (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is also author of the principal articles on ancient Roman history in the Microsoft CD-ROM encyclopedia, Encarta 2000. In the longer term, he hopes to write a history of the city of Rome from Romulus to the XXI century.
From 1992 to 1997 Mellor was Chair of the UCLA History Department. He served in 1997-2005 as the statewide Principal Investigator of the California History-Social Science Project, which brings university faculty together with K-12 teachers at ten sites in California. The CHSSP was given the 2000 American Historical Association Beveridge Award for K-12 teaching. As part of the CHSSP, Mellor has been co-Director of the UCLA History Geography project from 1992 to the present.
Mellor was the co-general editor (with Amanda Podany) of The World in Ancient Times – a series of nine volumes on ancient world history for young readers published by the Oxford University Press. The series has been adopted by the California State Board of Education for use in California middle-schools, beginning in 2006. For that series, Mellor is co-author (with Marni McGee) of The Ancient Roman World (OUP, 2004) and (with Amanda Podany) The World in Ancient Times: Primary Sources and Reference Volume (OUP, 2005).
In 2013 Mellor retired from full time teaching but teaches on recall as Distinguished Research Professor. On his retirement the Arcadia Foundation, based in the U.K., established “The Ronald Mellor Professorship in Ancient History” with a gift of $5 million.
- THEA ROME: The Goddess Roma in the Greek World (1975);
- From Augustus to Nero: The First Dynasty of Imperial Rome (ed. 1990);
- Tacitus (1993);
- Tacitus: The Classical Heritage(1995);
- The Historians of Ancient Rome (ed. 1997; 2nd ed. 2004; 3rd ed. 2013);
- The Roman Historians (1999); Text and Tradition: Studies in Greek History and Historiography in Honor of Mortimer Chambers (co-ed. 1999)
- Augustus and the Creation of the Roman Empire (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005)
- (with Amanda Podany) The World in Ancient Times – a series of nine volumes on ancient world history for young readers, Oxford University Press.
- (with Marni McGee) The Ancient Roman World, 2004
- (with Amanda Podany) The World in Ancient Times: Primary Sources and Reference Volume, 2005
- The Annals of Tacitus (Oxford University Press, 2012).
‘East Meets West’
On November 18, 2010, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Ronald Mellor visited Wake Forest University to present “East Meets West: Encounters Along the Ancient “Silk Road.”