Salzman's research focuses on the religious and social history of Late Antiquity. She is author of On Roman Time: The Codex-Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity (UC Press, 1990), and numerous articles on Roman history and religion. Her second book, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy (Harvard University Press, 2002) examined the social and religious issues that bear upon the conversion of the Roman aristocracy from paganism to Christianity in the western Roman Empire in the century after Constantine. Her third book, The Letters of Symmachus: Book 1 (Translation with Michael Roberts, Introduction and Commentary by Michele Renee Salzman) Greco-Roman World Series of the Society of Biblical Literatures (Society of Biblical Literatures, 2011; Brill Press, 2012), provides the first English translation and commentary of the letters of one of the “last pagans of Rome.” She is the Senior Editor of The Cambridge History of Religions in the Ancient World, Volumes I and II (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and co-editor with M. Sághy and R. Lizzi-Testa of Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition and Coexistence in Late Antique Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
Salzman's new book, The Falls of Rome: Crises, Resilience and Resurgence in Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2021), proposes a fresh interpretation of the tumultuous events in the city of Rome in late antiquity. Historians have traditionally considered these political and military crises as defining moments in the decline and fall of Rome. Focussing instead on the resilience of successive generations of Roman men and women as they rebuilt their city and society, Salzman demonstrates the central role that senatorial aristocrats played, and the limited influence of the papacy in this period. The book relies on textual and archaeological remains to provide evidence for a thriving city in the last three centuries of the Western Roman Empire.
Salzman has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and the Whiting Foundation. She was the Lucy Shoe Merritt Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. Among her honors was an NEH Grant to be Project Director of a Summer Seminar at the American Academy in Rome on "The 'Falls' of Rome: The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity." She has been a visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University, at the Institute for Classical Studies in the University of London, and most recently, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton New Jersey.
She was elected Chair of the Advisory Council of the School of Classical Studies of the American Academy in Rome in 2013; Vice President for Programs for the Society of Classical Studies for 2015-2018; and Trustee for the Council of the School of Classical Studies to the American Academy in Rome (2016-2019). She is currently a member of the California Consortium for Late Antiquity and serves as an Associate Editor for Studies in Late Antiquity: A Journal.
Before joining the faculty at the University of California, Riverside in 1995, Salzman taught at Swarthmore College, Columbia University, and Boston University.
- Archaeological Institute of America
- Association of Ancient Historians
- North American Patristic Society
- Society of Biblical Literatures
- Society for Classical Studies
Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, 1985-86
Professor-In-Charge, Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, 2003-2004
American Philological Association Award for Outreach as member of the Steering Committee of the UC Multi-Campus Research Group in Late Antiquity
Lucy Shoe Merritt Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, 2008
University of California Presidential Chair, 2009-2012
NEH Grant as Director of a Summer Seminar at the American Academy in Rome, Project Director for "The 'Falls' of Rome: The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity," June 28-July 30, 2010
University of California President’s Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2012-2013
Bogliasco Fellowship, 2013
Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University, 2014
NEH Summer Stipend, 2014
Visiting Professor, University of Tubingen Collaborative Research Center, June-July 2016.
Visiting Fellow, Institute for Classical Studies, University of London. 2017.
Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton. Fellow. 2018.