Boris Rankov

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Rankov umpiring the 2015 Boat Race

Boris Rankov (born 9 August 1954) is a professor of Roman history at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Rankov was educated at Bradford Grammar School (1963–73), then subsequently Corpus Christi College, Oxford (MA 1980, DPhil 1987). He is best known for his participation in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, which Oxford won six times between 1978 and 1983, three times with Rankov in the 4 seat and three times in the 5 seat. This led to establishment of the so-called "Rankov Rule", which states that oarsmen will compete in the race no more than four times as an undergraduate and no more than four times as a graduate.[1] Rankov was the Race umpire in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2015.[2]

Rankov's research interests include Roman history, especially Roman Britain, the Roman army, epigraphy and archaeology of the Roman empire, and ancient shipping. Rankov was rowing master for the Trireme Trust's reconstructed trireme Olympias. As of 2004, Rankov was chairman of the Trust.[3]

Rankov has taught at the Classics and Ancient History Department of The University of Western Australia from 1986-1989, at the Classics Department at Royal Holloway University of London since 1990, and was Head of Department from 1999-2002.

He has two daughters.


  1. ^ The Daily Telegraph on the Rankov Rule and Royal Holloway Newsletter
  2. ^ Davies, Gareth A. (27 March 2009). "60 Second Interview: Boris Rankov, Boat Race Umpire". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  3. ^ The Trireme Trust

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