Current Postgraduate Research
Pliny and the senatorial opposition to Domitian (working title)
My thesis is an examination of the various facets of Pliny’s self-construction as a member of the senatorial opposition to Domitian.
Research interests: Genre studies; epistolography; oratory and rhetoric; reception studies and the ancient world in cinema.
- “Epistle 7.24: Literary Layers in Pliny the Younger’s Death Notice on Ummidia Quadratilla” in Michelle Borg & Graeme Miles (edd.) Approaches to Genre in the Ancient World (Cambridge Scholars Press) forthcoming.
- Michelle Borg & Graeme Miles (edd.) Approaches to Genre in the Ancient World (Cambridge Scholars Press) forthcoming.
Supervisors: A/Prof. Lindsay Watson, Dr. Paul Roche.
An historical commentary on Demosthenes 8, 'On the Khersonnese'
Demosthenes 8 is a crucial speech which has long been neglected and rarely given the attention it deserves. The speech focuses on Athenian relations with Philip in this crucial northern region and is, moreover, a rhetorical masterpiece. Demosthenes seeks to paint Philip as the sole aggressor in the breaking of the Peace of Philokrates, even though the historical narrative is not supportive of this claim. My thesis seeks to provide the historical background to the speech and explain the historical significance and veracity of all its aspects.
Research interests: Fifth and fourth century Athens; Athenian interests in the northern Aegean; The Peloponnesian War; Athenian democracy.
Supervisors: Dr Alastair Blanshard, Prof. Peter Wilson
Mary Jane Cuyler
Origins of Ostia: Landscapes of Rome's "First Colony" in the Late Republic
Ostia was thought to be Rome's first colony, and the historian Livy, among others, attributes its foundation to the legendary king Ancus Marcius. Archaeological evidence, however, places the foundation of Ostia in the late 4th century BCE. Ostia's earliest identity was that of the citizen "maritime colony", whose purpose was to guard the coast, and whose residents retained their Roman citizenship. My research examines how the early status of Ostia as a citizen colony affected its urban layout and development (thus explaining its lack of a forum until Tiberius), and pieces together archaeological evidence from the late Republic to build a partial picture of the urban landscape during this tumultuous period. I place the "imagined landscape"that is, the early history of Ostia's foundations as related by historians and poetsin the context of the political and social milieu of late Republican Rome.
Research interests: landscape archaeology, harbours, early Roman colonization, late Republican Rome, Mycenaean archaeology
- “Rose, Cyperus and Sage and e-ti: The Adornment of Olive Oil in the Palace of Nestor,” in M.-L. Nosch and R. Laffineur, (edd.) KOSMOS: Jewelry, Adornment and Textiles in the Aegean Bronze Age (Aegaeum 33). (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 655-662.
Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Welch, Dr Richard Miles.
Supervisors: Dr Noel Weeks, Dr Alastair Blanshard
Standing on the Threshold: Orpheus from the Life of Ficino to the Death of Cocteau. (working title)
Supervisor: Dr Alastair Blanshard
Intertextuality and allusion in the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris
My thesis examines Sidonius Apollinaris' use of intertextuality and allusions in selected letters. It argues that these allusions are integral to understanding Sidonius' work, particularly his more literary letters. In line with recent scholarship on Sidonius, it focuses on his letters for their literary value rather than limited historical utility. By limiting its focus to Sidonius' use of allusions the thesis hopes to offer new and at times revisionist interpretations of some of Sidonius' more elaborate textual performances. Fundamentally, the thesis suggests that the sections of Sidonius' letters that have been subject to modern aesthetic criticism are indicative of the failure of modern scholarship to appreciate certain nuances, noticeably Sidonius' manipulation of the genre of epistolography, use of allusions and humour. It hopes to contribute to a growing understanding of the large-scale literary output of fifth century Gaul and renewed interest in this influential late antique author.
Research Interests: Late Antiquity, Intertextuality, Epistolography, Fifth century CE Gallic Aristocracy, Sidonius Apollinaris
Supervisors: Dr Anne Rogerson, Dr Richard Miles.
Stoicism and the American Revolution (working title)
Since at least the 1960s, historians such as John Pocock and Bernard Bailyn have pointed to the importance of classical learning as an inspiration for the American revolutionaries. Their accounts, however, have become harnessed to a celebratory and progressive understanding of the Revolution. Classical republicanism has been presented as an inspiration for the Founders who knew that they were fighting for liberty and independence, and were assured of victory in their cause. By focusing on Stoic thought my thesis shows that the American Revolution was not the triumphant and assured struggle for liberty that current historiography dictates. The literature indicates that the Founding generation used Stoicism to contemplate the corruption of the British Empire, and concluded that a Cato-like suicide was the only assured means of maintaining their virtue and obtaining liberty. The Americans come to look less like ‘Revolutionaries’ and, instead, can be seen as making a desperate last stand for republican liberty in opposition to tyrannical rule imposed by the British Empire.
Research interests: Classical Reception Studies, American Revolution, Jewish-Roman relations, Early Christianity
Supervisors: Dr. Alastair Blanshard, A/Prof. Andrew Fitzmaurice
Livy and Polybius: Intertextuality and Authority
In the last few years a number of publications have sought to understand Livy in intertextual terms, showing the ways in which his text responds to and builds upon the texts of other historians. A full understanding of Livy cannot be attained without understanding how he relates to all his sources, and Polybius provides a unique example to study. The present thesis undertakes a complete re-evaluation of Livy's text as it relates to the text of Polybius, building upon recent scholarship and taking it in new directions. In addition, it will be seen that these intertextual relationships can be placed within the competitive discourse of ancient historiography with particular attention paid to the nature of translation and imitation. The thesis draws on the study of allusions, narratology, metahistory and other historiographical disciplines to discuss these relationships.
Research interests: Ancient Historiography, Livy, Authority in Ancient Authors, Translation Studies
Supervisors: Dr Richard Miles, Dr Bob Cowan.
Antisthenes: an Edition of the Fragments with Prolegomenon and Commentary
Supervisors: Prof. Eric Csapo, Prof. Rick Benitez
Cato and the Governance of the Mediterranean World (working title)
My research examines attempts to reform provincial government during the Late Republic and the political and historical context of these efforts. I hope to show that Romans in this period were genuinely interested in improving the treatment of their subjects, and that figures traditionally seen as combatants could in fact be collaborators in this project. The last Republican lex repetundarum was passed in 59 BC but was certainly not the end of the story. I am particularly interested in the various other strategies (administrative, fiscal, ethical) adopted in the 50s in an attempt to achieve what a series of extortion laws had failed to do, and in the role of M. Porcius Cato as proponent of reform.
Research interests: Political history of the Roman Republic; Roman law; ancient historiography; philosophy, ethics, and virtue-vocabulary; M. Porcius Cato ‘Uticensis’.
Supervisor: Dr Kathryn Welch
Control and Competition: metapoetics in Statius’ Thebaid.
- ‘Aspects of Effeminacy and Masculinity in the Iliad’, Antichthon 45 (2011) 35-57.
- ‘Back to the Future: Argonautica 1.553-558, chronological play and epic succession’, Mnemosyne forthcoming.
Supervisors: Dr Paul Roche, Dr Bob Cowan
Robert (Todd) Stanton
1 Samuel 3 in its Ancient Near Eastern Context (working title)
Supervisors: Dr Noel Weeks, Dr Julia Kindt,
Mortal Approaches to Divine Unknowability in Euripides' Bakkhai
My thesis explores the concept of the unknowable divine in ancient Greek religious thought through an analysis of Euripides' Bakkhai. In the Bakkhai, Euripides investigates the ways in which beliefs and ideas about the nature of, and dangers presented by, the divine unknowable are developed by mortals. While the idea that the ancient Greeks believed in divine will, fate and an ultimately unknowable plan of the gods is not a new one, I will argue that it is one which has not been satisfactorily explored as a part of religious and tragic discourse, and that Euripides' use of this significant ancient Greek religious perspective in the Bakkhai reveals how unknowability works as an impetus for religious innovation, assimilation and change.
Research interests: Euripides, Greek Religion, Mystery Religions, Development of Religious Ideas
Supervisors: Dr Julia Kindt, Prof. Peter Wilson
Historical and medical inquiry in the 5th century (working title)
Supervisors: Dr Julia Kindt, Prof. Peter Wilson
Infamia in the Late Roman Republic (working title)
My thesis seeks to investigate the role of reputation (existimatio) in the law of the late Roman Republic. Specifically, it attempts to determine the degree to which the later concept of infamia, in the technical sense manifested in the legal Codes of the imperial period, already existed and was employed in forensic contexts by the end of the Republic. It will do this primarily through an analysis of the forensic speeches and legal philosophy of Cicero.
Research Interests: Republican Rome; Roman legal history; Cicero; the politics of reputation
Supervisors: Dr Eleanor Cowan, Dr Paul Roche
Roman Law and Augustan Moral Legislation (working title)
Supervisors: Dr Eleanor Cowan, Dr Paul Roche
The Desert Fathers and the Desert Landscape (working title)
My current research explores the way the 'Desert Fathers' of late antiquity, and their contemporary hagiographers, perceived the desert which formed the backdrop to their asceticism. Looking at two broad categories of perception - descriptions of the desert's physical nature and the 'ideology' which the Desert Fathers attached to the space - the project asks to what extent the Fathers adopted earlier, classical ideas about the landscape, to what extent they imported Hebraic/Biblical perspectives, and to what extent they developed an original point of view. I argue that, while the Fathers tended to look to Biblical desert narratives like the wanderings of the Israelites in Sinai and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness as models and examples, the desert they sketched in their writings would not have seemed totally unfamiliar to classical authors either.
Research interests: Roman cultural-intellectual history, ancient geography and ethnography, ancient approaches to space and landscape, early Christianity, ancient North Africa
Supervisors: Dr Richard Miles, Dr Bob Cowan
The perception of urban spaces in Republican Rome and Italy (working title)
I am looking at the way that ancient urban spaces would have been experienced by combining both the archaeological remains and the impressions left in the literary record. I am particularly interested in trying to understand how ancient spaces may have been conceptualised in a world where maps were nowhere near as available as they are today.
Research interests: history and archaeology of the Roman republic, history and archaeology of Italy, Roman architecture, cartography, urban theory
Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Welch, Dr Eleanor Cowan
Poetry and Philosophy in Classical Sparta
The typical view of Classical Sparta as a boorish and backwards polis has dominated modern scholarship, yet most researchers agree that this idea does not hold for Archaic and Hellenistic Sparta. My thesis re-examines this view (the Spartan Mirage) to show that Classical Sparta actively involved itself in the cultural atmosphere of Greece, particularly in the realms of poetry and philosophy.
Research Interests: Classical Sparta; Greek Military History; Greek Historiography; Oligarchy and Democracy in Athens
Supervisors: Prof. Eric Csapo, Prof. Peter Wilson
Harlots, pimps and wily slaves: the picaresque world of Roman comedy
Supervisors: Dr Bob Cowan, Frances Muecke
Catullus and the poetics of place (2011)
Now Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Auckland
- ‘Audience, Communication and Textuality in Catullus Carmen 67’, Antichthon 43 (2009) 34-49.
Webpage: Click here for website
Ovid’s Heroides and Catullus 64: An Intertextual Study (2011)
Militia, Ideology, and Administration in the Late Roman Empire (2012)
Now Lecturer in Classics at the University of Queensland
- ‘The Virtue of Rage in the Fourth Century’, in B. Sidwell and D. Dzino (eds.), Studies in Emotions and Power in the Late Roman World: Papers in Honour of Ron Newbold, (Gorgias Press, 2010) 73-99.
- ‘Violence on Roman Imperial Coinage’, Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia 20, (2009/10), 58-72.
Virgin Territory: The Vestals and the Transition from Republic to Principate (2012)
The Vestal Virgins were the highest profile group of priestesses in ancient Rome. My thesis explores the activity and representation of the Vestals during the politically volatile late Republican period (c. 150 BCE onwards) and the Augustan Age (ending in 14 CE). My research has focussed on the ways in which these priestesses reacted, adapted, and were forced to change as a result of transition from Roman Republic to Augustan Principate.
Research Interests: The politics of the Augustan Age, the role of women in the Late Republic and early Imperial period, Roman religion, religious and social taboo.