Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Schools
  3. School of Arts and Cultures
  4. Classical Studies
  5. Research
  6. Research Cluster on Greek and Latin Texts

Research Cluster on Greek and Latin Texts

Studying ancient texts

The Classical Studies at the OU maintains a strong presence in research on Greek and Latin texts. The texts cluster has a double focus: first, we are interested in exploring the cultural contexts of ancient texts; second, much of our work engages with questions of language, including issues to do with translation. Within these broad themes, members of the discipline have published on a wide range of areas, and the cluster’s expertise ranges from archaic Greece to imperial Rome. The cluster has a particular interest in genre, and its members have investigated generic boundaries and interactions in epic, Greek tragedy, Plato, and Roman elegy. There are close connections with the reception cluster, with some work straddling both fields.

Members of the research cluster

Elton Barker's research interests in this strand range widely over epic, historiography and tragedy. His book, Entering the Agon (Oxford University Press, 2009), investigates representations of debate in epic, historiography and tragedy in terms of an interpretative framework of dissent from authority. He is particularly interested in epic rivalry and reception, the politics of Greek tragedy, the relationship between Herodotus and Thucydides, and the spatial analysis of networks in Herodotus. He has also worked on the use of oracles in Herodotus's Histories, the relationship of the new Archilochus fragment to Homer, and the chorus in Sophocles.

Chris Emlyn-Jones is interested in exploring the texts of Plato’s dialogues as representatives of a unique genre which nevertheless interacts with other genres and types of discourse, e.g. dramatic, epic, sophistic, fable, mime. Part of his interest involves editing; and he has recently completed a major translation and commentary on Republic. He has retired from his full-time post and is now Emeritus Professor.

Trevor Fear’s research focuses primarily on Latin elegy (Ovid, Propertius, Tibullus) and lyric (Catullus, Horace) with a secondary interest in Greek lyric (especially Sappho) and epigram (Callimachus and Greek Anthology). He is principally interested in the connections between specific genres/types of literature and their rootedness in their specific historical socio-political climate.

Paula James’s work on texts has focused on the ancient novel (especially Apuleius) and Ovid's Metamorphoses, resulting in literary commentaries (books and articles). Her current research into Ovid’s myth of Salmacis investigates the literary import of his similes and the visual imagery of his straight narrative scenes. She has also published on later Latin poets whose imagery and use of mythical motifs and devices is highly charged, e.g. Claudius and Prudentius. She aims to produce linguistically sensitive and philologically contextualised interpretations of the texts in the original.

James Robson’s main area of research is Aristophanic comedy, with particular focus on its humour, obscene language, sexuality and modern reception.  His previous work has engaged with closely with the language of the plays, looking at how humour is constructed and translated and how obscene and erotic language are manipulated in Aristophanic comedy.  His interest in the sexual ethics of the plays extends into a broader interest in the topic, with the monograph Sex and Sexuality in Classical Athens (Edinburgh University Press, 2013) and co-edited volume Sex in Antiquity (Routledge 2015).  He is also co-author of an English edition of the fragments and testimonia of the Greek historian, Ctesias.

Laura Swift’s research focuses on archaic and classical Greek poetry. Her book The Hidden Chorus explored the relationship between the tragic chorus and other forms of choral song in Greek society (for example paeanic, hymeneal, or epinician choruses), and she is therefore particularly interested in questions of genre and of poetic language. Her current research is on archaic Greek iambus and elegy, and she is finishing a commentary on Archilochus, which will provide detailed literary and linguistic analysis of all of Archilochus’ surviving poetry.

Naoko Yamagata’s research interest is in epic, especially Homer. Her various approaches to Homer include examination of key moral and social concepts in their wider context (including use of linguistic evidence e.g. Mycenaean Greek) and formal analysis of narrative techniques (e.g. use of formulae, themes, genre scenes), comparison of Homeric values and world view with that in other epic poems such as Hesiod and Virgil and especially the Tale of the Heike, a medieval Japanese epic tale of heroes. She mostly focuses on tackling specific problems in interpreting Homeric concepts and passages by re-examining them in wider contexts, either within the text, within Greek literature or in comparison with other literary traditions.

Research students working on classical texts

Doris Post, The chorus in Sophocles
Sophie Raudnitz, Tracing the Establishment of Political Society: Memory and Forgetting in Ancient Greek Literature and Historiography
Bijon Sinha, Classical representations of Crete
Pauline Rochelle has now been awarded her PhD (2012)

Theorising Performance - book cover
Homeric Morality cover
Plato Republic cover
Tradition, Translation, Trauma
Ctesias' History of Persia book cover
The Hidden Chorus - cover