Dr Robert Cowan

BA MSt DPhil Oxford
Lecturer in Classics

A14 - The Quadrangle
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 7210
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

Website Phonebook Entry

Biographical details

I joined The University of Sydney in 2010, after holding temporary posts at the Universities of Exeter and Bristol and Brasenose College, Oxford, and a Tutorial Fellowship and University Lectureship at Balliol College, Oxford. My main teaching and research interests are in Latin poetry, though I also teach and research in Greek drama, Latin prose and Hellenistic poetry. Though I have published on a wide range of authors, my main focus has been on Roman epic and tragedy. I am particularly interested in the intersection between the often opposed methodologies of historicism, emphasizing contexts of production and reception, and approaches which focus on the formal and intertextual features of the text itself.

Research interests

  • Latin epic, esp. Silius Italicus and Statius
  • Roman satire
  • Roman tragedy
  • Latin didactic poetry
  • Horace and Ovid
  • Greek Drama
  • Greek and Latin literature more broadly

Teaching and supervision

GRKA1600 Introduction to Ancient Greek 1 (unit coordinator)

GRKA2620 Reading Greek 1 (unit coordinator)

GRKA7001 Classical Greek for Postgraduates 1 (unit coordinator)

LATN2601 Intermediate Latin (unit coordinator)

LATN3600 Advanced Latin (unit coordinator)

LATN3604 Latin Republican Poetry (unit coordinator)

LATN3605 Latin Republican Prose (unit coordinator)

ANHS1600 Foundations for Ancient Greece

ANHS1601 Foundations for Ancient Rome

ANHS1602 Greek and Roman Myth

ANHS2609 Alexander and the Hellenistic World

ANHS2615 Comedy in the Ancient World (unit coordinator)

ANHS2616 Tragedy and Society in Greece and Rome (unit coordinator)

ANHS2619 The World of Ancient Epic

click here for unit descriptions

Honours supervision

2011: Scipio Africanus in Livy, Divination in Virgil and Lucan, Rhetoric and Philosophy in Cicero.

2012: The Judgement of Paris in Homer, Expressive metre in Catullus and Lucretius

2013: Tragic quotation in Cicero

Postgraduate Research supervision

MPhil: Picaresque Elements in Roman Comedy
PhD: Nostos in Graeco-Roman Literature; Translation in Livy

Current projects

Book Projects
  • Indivisible Cities. Mirrors of Rome in Silius Italicus. (OUP).
  • After Virgil: the poetry, politics and perversion of Roman epic. (Bristol Phoenix Press).
  • Virgil and the Aeneid. (Bloomsbury Duckworth)

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2012

  • Writing the World - Transnationalism in Literary Studies; Bandhauer A, Borghesi F, Christie W, Cowan R, Dixon R, Giles P, Karalis V, Kirkpatrick P, Lu Y, Minter P, Morgan P, Parsons N, Rooney B, Suter R, Walsh A; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Book Chapters

  • Cowan, R. (2014). Fingering Cestos: Martial's Catullus' Callimachus. In A. Augoustakis (Eds.), Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past, (pp. 345-371). Leiden: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). My Family and Other Enemies: Argonautic Antagonists and Valerian Villains. In Mark Heerink, Gesine Manuwald (Eds.), Brill’s Companion to Valerius Flaccus, (pp. 229-248). Leiden: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Back Out of Hell: The Virtual Katabasis and Initiation of Silius' Minucius. In Antony Augoustakis (Eds.), Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic, (pp. 217-232). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Fear and Loathing in Lucretius: Latent Tragedy and Anti-Allusion in DRN 3. In Theodore D. Papangelis, Stephen J. Harrison and Stavros Frangoulidis (Eds.), Generic Interfaces in Latin Literature: Encounters, Interactions and Transformations, (pp. 113-133). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Haven't I Seen You before Somewhere? Optical Allusions in Republican Tragedy. In G Harrison, V Liapis (Eds.), Performance in Greek and Roman Theatre, (pp. 311-342). Leiden & Boston: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Valerius Cato, Callimachus and the Very Large Girl (Ticida fr. 103 FRP). In C Deroux (Eds.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History XVI. Brussels, Belgium: Editions Latomus.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Explanatory Notes. In John Davie (Eds.), Horace: Satires and Epistles, (pp. 119-200). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Introduction. In John Davie (Eds.), Horace: Satires and Epistles, (pp. vii-xxvii). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2010). A Stranger in a Strange Land: Medea in Roman Republican Tragedy. In Heike Bartel and Anne Simon (Eds.), Unbinding Medea: interdisciplinary approaches to a classical myth from antiquity to the 21st Century, (pp. 39-52). London: Legenda.
  • Cowan, R. (2010). Sing Evohe! Three Twentieth-Century Operatic Versions of Euripides' Bacchae. In Peter Brown & Suzana Ograjensek (Eds.), Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage, (pp. 320-339). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Virtual Epic: Counterfactuals, Sideshadowing and the Poetics of Contingency in the Punica. In Antony Augoustakis (Eds.), Brills Companion to Silius Italicus, (pp. 323-351). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2005). Introduction. In O A W Dilke (Eds.), Statius: Achilleid, (pp. vii-xxv). Great Britain: Bristol Phoenix Press.

Journals

  • Cowan, R. (2015). ‘On the weak king according to Virgil: Aeolus, Latinus and political allegoresis in the Aeneid’ (forthcoming). Vergilius, 61.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Cinna’s Trouser-Snake or the Biter Bit? Alternative Interpretations of Cinna fr. 12 FRP (forthcoming). Antichthon: journal of ancient world studies, 48.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Purchasing Priam: Bilingual Wordplay at Plautus Bacchides 976-7. The Classical Quarterly, 64(2).
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Shadow of a Doubt: A Phantom Caesura in Horace Odes 4.14. Classical Journal, 109(4), 407-417. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Tall, pale and noble: beauty, rank and wordplay at Horace Satires 1.2.123-126 (forthcoming). Latomus: revue d'etudes latines, 73(4).
  • Cowan, R. (2014). The Smell of Sophokles’ Salmoneus: Technology, Scatology, Metatheatre. Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature, 43(1), 1-24. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Boring Ipsitilla: Bilingual Wordplay in Catullus 32. Museum Helveticum: Schweizerische Zeitschrift fuer klassische Altertumswissenschaft, 70(2), 190-198.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Of gods, men and stout fellows: Cicero on Sallustius’ Empedoclea (Q.fr. 2.10(9).3). The Classical Quarterly, 63(2), 764-771. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Alas, Poor Io! Bilingual Wordplay in Horace Epode 11. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 65(4-5), 753-763. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Lucan's Thunder-Box: Scatology, Epic, and Satire in Suetonius' 'Vita Lucani'. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 106, 301-313.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Metre and Meaning in CIL I(2) 3109a. Acta Classica, 55, 155-163.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Sinon and the Case of the Hypermetric Oracle. Phoenix, 65(3-4), 361-370.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Hopefully Surviving: Despair and the Limits of devotio in Virgil and Others. Proceedings of the Virgil Society, 27, 56-98.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Passing over Cephisos' grandson: literal Praeteritio and the rhetoric of obscurity in ovid met. 7.350-93. Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature, 40(2), 146-167.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Scanning Iulus: Prosody, Position and Politics in the Aeneid. Vergilius, 55, 3-12.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Starring Nero as Nero: Poetry, Role-Playing and Identity in Juvenal 8.215-21. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 62(1), 76-89. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Thrasymennus' wanton wedding: etymology, genre, and virtus in Silius Italicus, Punica. The Classical Quarterly, 59(1), 226-237.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Virgil's Cucumber Again: Columella 10.378–92. The Classical Quarterly, 59(1), 286-289. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2008). Nothing to do with Phaedra? Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 497-501. The Classical Quarterly, 58(1), 315-320. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2006). Absurdly Scythian Spaniards: Silius, Horace and the Concani. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 59(2), 260-267.
  • Cowan, R. (2006). Land of King Mane. A pun at Horace, Odes 1.22.15. The Classical Quarterly, 56(1), 322-324.

Reference Works

  • Cowan, R. (2012). Lucan (Annaeus Lucanus, Marcus). In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 4153-4154). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Silius Italicus, Tiberius Catius Asconius. In bner R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6251-6252). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Statius, Publius Papinius. In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6375-6376). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Valerius Flaccus Setinus Balbus, Gaius. In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6943-6944). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

2015

  • Cowan, R. (2015). ‘On the weak king according to Virgil: Aeolus, Latinus and political allegoresis in the Aeneid’ (forthcoming). Vergilius, 61.

2014

  • Cowan, R. (2014). Cinna’s Trouser-Snake or the Biter Bit? Alternative Interpretations of Cinna fr. 12 FRP (forthcoming). Antichthon: journal of ancient world studies, 48.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Fingering Cestos: Martial's Catullus' Callimachus. In A. Augoustakis (Eds.), Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past, (pp. 345-371). Leiden: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). My Family and Other Enemies: Argonautic Antagonists and Valerian Villains. In Mark Heerink, Gesine Manuwald (Eds.), Brill’s Companion to Valerius Flaccus, (pp. 229-248). Leiden: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Purchasing Priam: Bilingual Wordplay at Plautus Bacchides 976-7. The Classical Quarterly, 64(2).
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Shadow of a Doubt: A Phantom Caesura in Horace Odes 4.14. Classical Journal, 109(4), 407-417. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2014). Tall, pale and noble: beauty, rank and wordplay at Horace Satires 1.2.123-126 (forthcoming). Latomus: revue d'etudes latines, 73(4).
  • Cowan, R. (2014). The Smell of Sophokles’ Salmoneus: Technology, Scatology, Metatheatre. Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature, 43(1), 1-24. [More Information]

2013

  • Cowan, R. (2013). Back Out of Hell: The Virtual Katabasis and Initiation of Silius' Minucius. In Antony Augoustakis (Eds.), Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic, (pp. 217-232). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Boring Ipsitilla: Bilingual Wordplay in Catullus 32. Museum Helveticum: Schweizerische Zeitschrift fuer klassische Altertumswissenschaft, 70(2), 190-198.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Fear and Loathing in Lucretius: Latent Tragedy and Anti-Allusion in DRN 3. In Theodore D. Papangelis, Stephen J. Harrison and Stavros Frangoulidis (Eds.), Generic Interfaces in Latin Literature: Encounters, Interactions and Transformations, (pp. 113-133). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Haven't I Seen You before Somewhere? Optical Allusions in Republican Tragedy. In G Harrison, V Liapis (Eds.), Performance in Greek and Roman Theatre, (pp. 311-342). Leiden & Boston: Brill.
  • Cowan, R. (2013). Of gods, men and stout fellows: Cicero on Sallustius’ Empedoclea (Q.fr. 2.10(9).3). The Classical Quarterly, 63(2), 764-771. [More Information]

2012

  • Cowan, R. (2012). Alas, Poor Io! Bilingual Wordplay in Horace Epode 11. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 65(4-5), 753-763. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Lucan (Annaeus Lucanus, Marcus). In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 4153-4154). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Lucan's Thunder-Box: Scatology, Epic, and Satire in Suetonius' 'Vita Lucani'. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 106, 301-313.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Metre and Meaning in CIL I(2) 3109a. Acta Classica, 55, 155-163.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Silius Italicus, Tiberius Catius Asconius. In bner R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6251-6252). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Sinon and the Case of the Hypermetric Oracle. Phoenix, 65(3-4), 361-370.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Statius, Publius Papinius. In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6375-6376). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Valerius Cato, Callimachus and the Very Large Girl (Ticida fr. 103 FRP). In C Deroux (Eds.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History XVI. Brussels, Belgium: Editions Latomus.
  • Cowan, R. (2012). Valerius Flaccus Setinus Balbus, Gaius. In R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine, S Huebner (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. (pp. 6943-6944). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

2011

  • Cowan, R. (2011). Explanatory Notes. In John Davie (Eds.), Horace: Satires and Epistles, (pp. 119-200). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Hopefully Surviving: Despair and the Limits of devotio in Virgil and Others. Proceedings of the Virgil Society, 27, 56-98.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Introduction. In John Davie (Eds.), Horace: Satires and Epistles, (pp. vii-xxvii). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cowan, R. (2011). Passing over Cephisos' grandson: literal Praeteritio and the rhetoric of obscurity in ovid met. 7.350-93. Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature, 40(2), 146-167.

2010

  • Cowan, R. (2010). A Stranger in a Strange Land: Medea in Roman Republican Tragedy. In Heike Bartel and Anne Simon (Eds.), Unbinding Medea: interdisciplinary approaches to a classical myth from antiquity to the 21st Century, (pp. 39-52). London: Legenda.
  • Cowan, R. (2010). Sing Evohe! Three Twentieth-Century Operatic Versions of Euripides' Bacchae. In Peter Brown & Suzana Ograjensek (Eds.), Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage, (pp. 320-339). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2009

  • Cowan, R. (2009). Scanning Iulus: Prosody, Position and Politics in the Aeneid. Vergilius, 55, 3-12.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Starring Nero as Nero: Poetry, Role-Playing and Identity in Juvenal 8.215-21. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 62(1), 76-89. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Thrasymennus' wanton wedding: etymology, genre, and virtus in Silius Italicus, Punica. The Classical Quarterly, 59(1), 226-237.
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Virgil's Cucumber Again: Columella 10.378–92. The Classical Quarterly, 59(1), 286-289. [More Information]
  • Cowan, R. (2009). Virtual Epic: Counterfactuals, Sideshadowing and the Poetics of Contingency in the Punica. In Antony Augoustakis (Eds.), Brills Companion to Silius Italicus, (pp. 323-351). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

2008

  • Cowan, R. (2008). Nothing to do with Phaedra? Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 497-501. The Classical Quarterly, 58(1), 315-320. [More Information]

2006

  • Cowan, R. (2006). Absurdly Scythian Spaniards: Silius, Horace and the Concani. Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 59(2), 260-267.
  • Cowan, R. (2006). Land of King Mane. A pun at Horace, Odes 1.22.15. The Classical Quarterly, 56(1), 322-324.

2005

  • Cowan, R. (2005). Introduction. In O A W Dilke (Eds.), Statius: Achilleid, (pp. vii-xxv). Great Britain: Bristol Phoenix Press.

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