Dr Jason Porter (PhD)

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow; Ancient Greek Slavery


I grew up in a number of different African countries before moving to the UK in 2008, where, after completing my A-Levels, I gained a BA, MA, and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Nottingham. I completed a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Irish Research Council at the University College Dublin in 2020/2021, before beginning my current position at the University of Edinburgh.  

Research summary


  • Europe


  • Ancient Civilisations


  • Antiquity

Research interests

The main focus of my research has been the slave system of classical Athens and it's interaction with Athens' society: it's economy, culture, and law. I am also interested in the comparative history of slavery as a means of illuminating, through careful comparison, peculiar and common facets of slavery in specific historical contexts and the role slavery has played in human history.  

Current research activities

My current research aims to estimate the number of slaves living in classical Athens using a method of computer-generated quantitative modelling (a Monte Carlo simulation) newly pioneered in the field of demographic history. A Monte Carlo simulation can allow us to demonstrate the most likely figures from our uncertain data on this topic, which has long been a point of contention amongst ancient historians.

In addition, I am working on contributions to a volume on Honour and Slavery in the Greek World (Edinburgh University Press) and the Urban History of Europe (Cambridge University Press). 

Project activity

My PhD was on the varying "slaving strategies" that slaveowners in classical Athens employed to utilse their slaves for their own benefit. These strategies, it argued, were highly varied and resulted in a number of notably different experiences of slavery. This research has resulted in a number of published articles and an edited volume chapter, and I am currently in the process of publishing a monograph on the topic.