Bruce O’Brien faculty photograph

Bruce O’Brien
Professor and Department Chair
Office: Monroe 215
Phone: 540-654-1477

Bruce O’Brien joined the Mary Washington faculty in 1990 from Yale University where he earned his Ph.D. He is primarily responsible for the Department’s offerings in ancient Greek and Roman history and medieval history. His special interest is England from the tenth to the twelfth centuries. His book God’s Peace and King’s Peace: The Laws of Edward the Confessor (1999) examined the impact of the Norman conquest on English law. His new book,Reversing Babel: Translation among the English during an Age of Conquests, c. 850 to c. 1200, which evaluates medieval England’s multilingualism and culture of translation, is due out in 2010 from the University of Delaware Press. He is chair of the board and intellectual lead for Early English Laws, an international project to re-edit and translate all English legal texts written before Magna Carta. The project is a collaboration between the Institute of Historical Research (London) and the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College London. For more information on the project, see this link.


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1990. History.
  • M.A., Yale University, 1984. History.
  • B.A., St. Olaf College, 1982. Creative Writing and Medieval History.


FSEM 201: European History
HIST 121: Western Civilization I
HIST 331: History of Ancient Greece
HIST 341: Europe in the Middle Ages I
HIST 342: Europe in the Middle Ages II
HIST 451: History of Anglo-Saxon England