Walter Scheidel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and Kennedy-Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford University. His work has focused on ancient social and economic history, with particular emphasis on historical demography, labor, and state formation. More generally he is interested in comparative and transdisciplinary approaches to the study of history. He is the author or editor of seventeen books. Early in 2017 Princeton University Press published his most recent work, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, an analysis of the dynamics of income and wealth inequality across world history. He is currently working on his next book project, Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Making of the Modern World, which traces the roots of modern economic growth and industrialization back to the demise of the Roman Empire and the creation of an enduring polycentric political order in Europe.