I studied Classics as an undergraduate, and later for an MSt, at the University of Oxford (Brasenose College); I then spent three years at the University of Durham where I completed a PhD on the ancient reception of the figure of Xerxes under the supervision of Prof. Edith Hall and Prof. P. J. Rhodes. Since then I have held temporary teaching posts at both Durham and Oxford (University College). I have been at the Open University since 2007, first as an Associate Lecturer and more recently as a Lecturer in Classical Studies.
My research interests lie primarily in the field of ancient Greek literature (especially epic, drama and historiography) and in the reception of classical history and culture in the modern world. In particular I am interested in ancient and modern literary and artistic responses to armed conflict.
My monograph, Imagining Xerxes: Ancient Perspectives on a Persian King (Bloomsbury: 2014), examines the reception of the historical figure of Xerxes throughout antiquity. It looks at the earliest representations of the king in the works of Aeschylus and Herodotus before tracing the ways in which the image of Xerxes was revisited and adapted in later Greek and Latin texts, as well as considering the Persian epigraphic record and the Jewish written tradition.
My current research project explores the comparisons between ‘military wives’ in mythical narratives (focusing in particular on Penelope, Andromache and Clytemnestra) and the experiences of their modern counterparts.
2014: Imagining Xerxes: Ancient Perspectives on a Persian King (Bloomsbury).
2007 (ed., with Edith Hall and P. J. Rhodes): Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars: Antiquity to the Third Millennium (Oxford).
(Forthcoming): Entries for the new Wiley Herodotus Encyclopedia (including 'Reception of Herodotus, 1900-present', 'Black Athena', and 'Aeschylus').
2015: ‘”The greatest runway show in history”: Paul Violi’s ‘House of Xerxes’ and the Spectacle of War’ in A. Bakogianni and V. Hope (eds.) War as Spectacle: Ancient and Modern Displays of Armed Conflict (Bloomsbury).
2011: Review of Michael Ewans, Aristophanes: Lysistrata; the Women’s Festival; and Frogs, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Read this online.
2007: ‘The guts and the glory: Pressfield’s Spartans at the Gates of Fire’ in Bridges, Hall and Rhodes (eds.): 405-21.
2004: ‘Loyalty and liberty: Thermopylae in the western imagination’, in T. J. Figueira (ed.),Spartan Society (Swansea): 363-84.
2004: Review of S. Lewis, The Athenian Woman: An Iconographic Handbook, in Journal of Hellenic Studies 124: 208-9.
2001: Review of T. Harrison, The Emptiness of Asia, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Read this online.
I am Module Team Chair for Exploring the Classical World (A229), the remake of our gateway Level 2 Classical Studies module, which is currently in production and will have its first presentation in 2018. I am also Deputy Chair of Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds (A330) and a member of the module team for Reading Classical Greek: Language and Literature (A275). In the past I have also worked as an Associate Lecturer, teaching on a range of Classical Studies modules.
I participated in the 2013-15 Communicating Ancient Greece and Rome programme administered by the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford. This scheme combined training in public engagement with the forging of links between the academic community and the media, arts/heritage sectors and schools, as well as carrying funding to devise and deliver a public outreach programme. My own project involved bringing the story of the Odyssey to military communities in my local area using a series of family-friendly storytelling and craft sessions.
I administer a thriving Facebook group, Classics International, which I set up in 2012 as a worldwide online community of individuals who share an interest in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and their continuing influence in today’s society.