Current Postgraduate Research

PhD Students

D Arts Students

  

MPhil Students

 

PhD students

Matt Sibley

Sicilian Provincial Identity during the Republic Period
The island of Sicily was Rome’s first military venture beyond the shores of the Italian mainland and would become her first province. A variety of cultures inhabited the island producing a mix of cultural markers in our historical and archaeological records. The thesis will assess to what extent a single Sicilian identity formed while under Roman control by assessing to what degree homogeneity increased after the first two Punic Wars, combining both literary and archaeological evidence.
Research interests: Social History; Roman Sicily; Ciceronian Forensic Oratory; Grain Supply; Economics; Classics in Film
Teaching experience: I have taught in New Zealand and the United States in Latin language, Roman History and Social History, Greek History, Art and Literature, Mythology and Egyptology.
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Kathryn Welch, Prof Richard Miles
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Irene Stone
Irene Stone

Speeches and Speechmaking in Herodotus’ Histories
Speeches and speechmaking are key features of the world Herodotus describes – as well as the world he inhabits. The use of direct discourse is widespread in the Histories, speechmaking an essential element. Yet this dimension of his work is still to receive the scholarly attention it deserves. My thesis seeks to address this anomaly. It provides the first comprehensive study of the role of speeches and speechmaking in Herodotus’ Histories. To this end, it considers the way in which direct discourse, and the ability to express oneself in conversation, features throughout the Histories, both as a powerful historiographic tool and as a key attribute of Herodotus’ historical characters. The overall aim is to position Herodotus firmly in the rhetorical life of the late fifth- and early fourth century BCE.
Research interests: Ancient Greek History; Herodotus; Historiography; Greco-Roman Rhetoric
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Julia Kindt, Assoc Prof Eric Csapo
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Byron Waldron
Byron Waldron

Collegiality, Dynasty and Abdication: Political Change and the Tetrarchy
The so-called ‘Tetrarchy', the college of four emperors set up by Diocletian in 293 CE, seems to fall outside of established customs and procedures in the way that it functioned. Unprecedentedly, the empire was administered by four emperors with actual power, sons were overlooked in the appointment of successors, and emperors voluntarily abdicated or planned to abdicate after a period of rule. My research seeks to explain the influences behind and reasons for these political innovations. These aspects of the Diocletianic-Tetrarchic regime have long been in need of a new and thorough treatment. I suggest that there is especial value in viewing the political changes under the Tetrarchy as developments within the wider context of changes to the empire in the third century. In doing so, I seek to offer some new ways of viewing both the Tetrarchy and political change in the third century as a whole.
Research interests: Late Antiquity; The Empire of Diocletian and Constantine; The Empire in the Third Century; Roman Imperial Ideology and Propaganda; Late Roman Politics; Coins; Panegyric; The Roman Army.
Supervisors: Prof Richard Miles, Assoc Prof Kathryn Welch
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D Arts Students

Anthony Mulligan

How effective was the image created by the Aemilian family in maintaining a pre-eminent position in Roman politics & society?
In my preliminary research, what has become apparent is that although various modern scholars have investigated individual members of the Aemilii, & their influence on the Roman state, there is no large-scale study of the influence of the family as a whole. The image they created to gain support of other aristocratic families & the people, & how their peers viewed them has also received little attention. Through this exploration, I wish to establish whether a specific family identity existed, & if so, whether an ongoing set of values & iconography were created & exploited. This identity may be expressed through political activities (elections & marriage) & iconography, & be established through epigraphical & literary means. I propose to establish whether there is a unique &/or specific ideological language that is used to portray the Aemilian family, & by extension other Roman families. I hope to add to current scholarship through the examination of the Aemilian family’s pursuit of such qualities as fama, gloria & virtus, measured against those standards established through conventions & precedent in Roman society, & generally agreed upon by historians, & other Roman families & individuals. I hope also to establish whether the image created by the Aemilian family members was an ad hoc blending of a range of individuals’ achievements & political activities, or a concerted & discernible long-term plan.
Research Interests: Cleopatra, Pompeii & Herculaneum, the Second Triumvirate, Roman-Egyptian relations to AD68.
Supervisor: Dr Eleanor Cowan
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Carol Scott

The role of women in the cultural memory of the Roman Republic
This thesis will interrogate the role of women in the Roman Republic in shaping, preserving and maintaining Roman cultural memory. It will argue that women were intrinsic to a shared foundational past. It will demonstrate that women were custodians of some of the most significant aspects of the collective cultural memory through their role in civic religion, rites and rituals and that this role was shared with and was complementary to that of men.
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Kathryn Welch, Prof John North
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MPhil students

Edward John Armstrong
Edward John Armstrong

Religion and Tragedy in Thucydides’ History
My thesis examines the role of religion in Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War and the interplay between religious notions and disaster. Given no agency by Thucydides, the gods mentioned in the account, most often by historical characters, are absent or inactive. Themes from fifth century B.C. Attic tragedy pervade Thucydides’ portrayal of religion, seen pertinently in the failure of religious practices to affect the course of the war. Religion was a cultural and social phenomenon for Thucydides’ History, an integral component of the Greek worldview and a factor influencing the individuals and peoples of his account.
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Julia Kindt


Alyce Cannon
Alyce Cannon

All Too Human: The Conceptualisation of Disability in Classical Athens
My thesis examines the literary and archaeological evidence for disability in Classical Athens in order to argue that myriad divergent and nuanced notions concerning what constituted the impaired body could overlap and exist simultaneously. By examining the body through four key frameworks: the Ideal Body, the Social Body, the Sick Body, and the Metaphysical Body, I argue that the wealth of evidence concerning the idealised form presents us with an oppressive notion of physiological perfection that purposefully denies the existence of Other bodies. The purpose of my inquiry is uncover ambiguities in the evidence in order to challenge the notion that the impaired were only ever treated with disdain, discrimination, and fear.
Research interests: Ancient Disabilities; Prostheses in Antiquity; Modern Disability Theory, Greek Medicine; Greek Religion; Greek Social History; Ancient Tattooing and Body Modification.
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Julia Kindt
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Bryn Ford
Bryn Ford

Primitivist morality in accounts of the Desert Fathers
This thesis examines the literature surrounding the fourth and fifth century “Desert Fathers”, the early ascetics of the Egyptian desert. The range of texts which described and sanctified this movement for an outside audience have typically been read almost exclusively through the lens of Christian literature and history; this thesis instead adopts the approach of reading them as part of the history of Graeco-Roman thought, with specific reference to their reuse of classical topoi idealising primitive lifestyles and peoples. It is argued that authors of desert literature conceptualised the monastic movement through these long-established ways of thinking, while intermingling them with compatible images and ideas from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The thesis is divided into three chapters, each examining the ‘primitivism’ displayed in a particular text or set of texts. Chapter 1 considers the works of St Jerome, including his Letters and Life of St Paul; chapter 2 considers the anonymous Historia Monachorum in Aegypto; and chapter 3 considers the Apophthegmata Patrum, a major sayings collection better known today as the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
Research interests: Roman cultural-intellectual history, ancient geography and ethnography, ancient approaches to space and landscape, early Christianity, ancient North Africa
Supervisors: Prof Richard Miles, Dr Bob Cowan
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Daniel Robert Hanigan
Daniel Robert Hanigan

The Unruly Energy of the Unsayable: The Apophatic Theology of Etymology in the Writings of Clement of Alexandria
This project studies the theological function of ‘Volksetymologie’ in the writings of Clement of Alexandria. In particular, it focusses on Clement’s etymologies of the names of Greek divinities. Although scholars have long been aware of the frequent use of etymology by Clement across all of his extant writings, almost no effort has been made to interpret the function and authenticity of his derivations. This thesis aims to begin the process of rectifying this omission by situating Clement’s etymologies of the names of Greek divinities within his broader Christian theological project. It argues that Clement is one of the earliest exponents of Christian Apophaticism (colloquially termed ‘negative theology’) and that the etymologies are a rhetorical exercise which refute the divine status of the Greek Pantheon by demonstrating their effability.
Teaching experience: GRKA1600/2601/7001
Publications: “The Paradox of Gerontocracy in Homer’s Iliad”, in Classicum 42.1 (2016): 14-18.
Supervisors: Prof Eric Csapo and Assoc Prof Julia Kindt


Kirra Larkin
Kirra Larkin

It's a Kind of Magic
My research aims to produce a theology of magic in the ancient world. ThePapyri Graecae Magicaeare a collection of texts that give evidence for a number of magical rituals practiced in Greece, Rome and Egyptbetween 4th cB.C- 2nd c A.D. By focusing on the predominant elements in the texts my research will demonstrate the underlying reasoning of magic.I aim to situate magicalpractices within the discourse of religion, asking what function magic played in the ancient world.
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Julia Kindt


Natalie Mendes
Natalie Mendes

The Gods Must Be Crazy: The Cult of Saturn in Christian North Africa
I am investigating the fate of the cult of Saturn in North Africa in the 4th– 5thcenturies. My initial question is who was Saturn, who were his worshippers, and what did he mean to them? I first consider the complex epigraphic and archaeological evidence of the cult in this period. Then, I turn to the question of how Christian preachers of the later Empire represented Saturn. I want to understand how these preachers navigated the myriad of identities available to them, such as elite, rustic, Christian, Roman, and African. The tendency of African native preachers to draw on hostile Roman stereotypes about African religion, for example, betrays tension between these identities. Finally, I ask how conflict between Saturn and the Christian god related to the rapidly changing nature of power in the Later Roman Empire.
Publications: “Sister Act: Fabia Minor in the Annalistic Tradition”, in Classicum 41.2 (2015): 2-7.
Supervisor: Prof Richard Miles


Harrison Rochford

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Elisabeth Slingsby
Elisabeth Slingsby

Tyrant Slayers and Slain Tyrants: Despotic Rule in Cornelius Nepos’ ‘De Excellentibus Ducibus Exterarum Gentium’
For a collection of twenty-two biographies on illustrious generals, the paucity of information about warfare in Nepos’ De Excellentibus Ducibus Exterarum Gentium is striking. My thesis endeavours to account for Nepos’ focus on the role of the general in the peaceful city by examining the extent to which his depiction of tyranny is influenced by his context, namely the so-called Second Triumvirate. Nepos is fascinated by the influence commanders exert over their communities after returning from a successful campaign, a form of symbolic power which can be used either to liberate or oppress. By focusing on three categories of generals, specifically those who deliver their native land from oppressive governance, grasp at despotism, and are offered kingship, I seek to demonstrate that Nepos’ complex depiction of tyranny represents an endeavour to articulate the perils and merits of sole rule in a period when Rome was shifting ever-closer to autocracy.
Supervisor: Dr Eleanor Cowan


Lucian Tan
Lucian Tan

Universal Human Rights Ideas and Values in Classical Athens
Modern liberal democracies that most strongly promote universal human rights often connect themselves to Classical Athens as the birthplace of democracy, and by extension, the birthplace of associated values such as universal human rights. But how true can that claim be in a society where gender discrimination and slavery were widely institutionalised? This thesis explores whether Athenian popular morality conceived of universal human rights and how important such rights were. How were these rights justified? Did practice meet promise in actual enforcement? And what does that say about an Athenian vision of who counts as a human entitled to fundamental rights?
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Julia Kindt