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Dr Christopher Whitton

Dr Christopher Whitton

Senior Lecturer in Classics (Classical Literature)

Fellow, Director of Studies in Classics & Director of Music at Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College

Office Phone: 01223 334252

Research Interests

I work on Latin literature of the early Roman empire, especially Trajanic prose, with particular interests in prose style, intertextuality and the intersection of literature and history. My commentary on Pliny’s second book of Epistles was published in the Cambridge ‘green and yellow’ series in 2013, a volume of Oxford Readings in the Epistles of Pliny, jointly edited with Roy Gibson, came out in 2016, and an edited volume (with Alice König) on Literary Interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian is in press. I am currently completing a monograph on prose intertextuality, provisionally entitled Quintilian in Brief, and writing another Cambridge commentary, jointly with Myles Lavan, on Tacitus Annals 14. I write regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and give frequent talks to school students and teachers, including a course on Tacitus Annals 1 on

Research Supervision

I teach Greek and Latin language and literature, and have supervised undergraduate dissertations and MPhil research on a range of topics and authors from Homer to Wieland. I have supervised doctoral work on Roman gardens, Juvenal’s Satires and oratory in Tacitus. I welcome enquiries from potential graduate students, especially (but not only) those working on imperial Latin prose and the Trajanic period.

Key Publications


Pliny the Younger. Epistles book II, Cambridge (2013).

Reviews: J. Carlon, CR 65 (2015) 149-51; N. Zeiner-Carmichael, BMCR 2015.05.41; T. Strunk, JRS 105 (2015); D. Barber, CJ online (2015.12.07).

 Edited volumes

R. K. Gibson and C. L. Whitton, eds. The Epistles of Pliny. Oxford readings in Classical studies, Oxford (2016).

A. R. König and C. L. Whitton, eds. Literary interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian (forthcoming).

 Articles and chapters

‘Pliny, Epistles 8.14: senate, slavery and the Agricola’, JRS 100 (2010) 118-39.

Dubitatio comparativa: a misunderstood idiom in Pliny (Natural History 7.150), Tacitus (Histories 4.6) and others’, CQ 61 (2011) 267-77.

‘“Let us tread our path together”: Tacitus and the Younger Pliny’, in V. E. Pagán, ed. Blackwell companion to Tacitus, Malden, MA (2012) 345-68.

‘Seneca, Apocolocyntosis’, in E. Buckley and M. T. Dinter, eds. Blackwell companion to the Neronian age, Malden, MA (2013) 151-69.

‘Trapdoors: false closure in Pliny’, in F. Grewing, B. Acosta-Hughes and A. Kirichenko, eds. The door ajar: false closure in Greek and Roman literature and art, Heidelberg (2013) 43-61.

‘Minerva on the Surrey Downs: reading Pliny (and Horace) with John Toland’, CCJ 60 (2014) 127-57.

‘Grand designs: unrolling Epistles 2’, in I. Marchesi, ed. Pliny the book-maker: betting on posterity in the Epistles, Oxford (2015) 109-43.

‘Pliny on the precipice (Ep., 9.26)’, in O. Devillers, ed. Autour de Pline le Jeune. En l’honneur de Nicole Méthy, Bordeaux (2015) 217-36.

‘Pliny’s progress: on a troublesome Domitianic career’, Chiron 45 (2015) 1-22.

C. L. Whitton and R. K. Gibson, ‘Readers and readings of Pliny’s Epistles’, in R. K. Gibson and C. L. Whitton, eds. The Epistles of Pliny. Oxford readings in Classical studies, Oxford (2016) 1-48.

‘Context, commentary and Pliny (Epistles 9.3)’, in U. Tische, U. Gärtner and A. Forst, eds, Text, Kontext, Kontextualisierung: Moderne Kontextkonzepte und antike Literatur (forthcoming).

‘Biography and praise in Trajanic Rome: Tacitus’ Agricola and Pliny’s Panegyricus’, in K. de Temmerman, ed. Oxford handbook of ancient biography, Oxford (forthcoming).

‘Quintilian, Pliny, Tacitus’, in A. R. König and C. L. Whitton, eds. Literary interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian (forthcoming).

M. J. Squire and C. L. Whitton, ‘Machina sacra: Optatian and the lettered art of the Christogram’, in I. Garipzanov, C. Goodson and H. Maguire, eds. Graphic signs of identity, power and faith in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, Turnhout (forthcoming).

 Encyclopedia entries

‘Juvenal (D. Iunius Iuvenalis)’, in Blackwell encyclopedia of ancient history, Malden, MA (2012).

‘Pliny the Younger’, in Literary encyclopedia, (2013).

 Book reviews

Krebs, C. B. 2005. Negotiatio Germaniae: Tacitus’ Germania und Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Giannantonio Campano, Conrad Celtis und Heinrich Bebel. Hypomnemata 158, Göttingen. BMCR 2005.12.17.

Giua, M. A., ed. 2007. Ripensando Tacito (e Ronald Syme): Storia e storiografia, Florence. BMCR 2008.09.53.

Marchesi, I. 2008. The art of Pliny’s letters. A poetics of allusion in the private correspondence, Cambridge. NECJ 36.1 (2009) 65-8.

Rimell, V. 2008. Martial’s Rome: empire and the ideology of the epigram, Cambridge. NECJ 36.4 (2009) 300-2.

Sailor, D. 2008. Writing and empire in Tacitus, Cambridge. Phoenix 65 (2012) 194-6.

Braund, S. 2009. Seneca: De Clementia, Oxford. Classical World 104 (2011) 368-9.

Carlon, J. 2009. Pliny’s women: constructing virtue and creating identity in the Roman world, Cambridge. CR 60.2 (2010) 463-5.

Lefèvre, E. 2009. Vom Römertum zum Ästhetizismus: Studien zu den Briefen des jüngeren Plinius, Berlin. CR 61.1 (2011) 147-9.

Krebs, C. B. 2011. A most dangerous book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, New York. TLS 24.2.2012, p.24.

Roche, P. A., ed. 2011. Pliny’s praise: The Panegyricus in the Roman World, Cambridge. CR 62.2 (2012) 521-3.

Zehnacker, H. and N. Méthy. 2011. Pline le Jeune Lettres. Tome II: Livres IV–VI, Paris. CR 63.1 (2013) 125-7.

Glare, P. G. W. et al., ed. 2012. Oxford Latin Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford. TLS 20.7.2012, p.28.

Peirano, I. 2012. The rhetoric of the Roman fake: Latin pseudepigrapha in context, Cambridge. TLS 26.4.2013, p.23.

Winsbury, R. 2014. Pliny the Younger. A life in Roman letters, London. Gnomon 87.6 (2015) 559-61.

Devillers, O., ed. 2014. Les opera minora et le développement de l’historiographie tacitienne, Bordeaux. JRS 105 (2015) 447-8.

Geisthardt, J. M. 2015. Zwischen Princeps und Res Publica. Tacitus, Plinius und die senatorische Selbstdarstellung in der Hohen Kaiserzeit, Stuttgart. Histos 9 (2015) xlvi-liv.

Jenkyns, R. 2015. Classical literature. A Pelican introduction, London. TLS 29.5.15, p.11.

Fitzgerald, W. 2016. Variety: the life of a Roman concept, Chicago. TLS 14.9.16, p.14.



Upcoming events

The B Club

Oct 31, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room 1.11

Ancient History Seminar

Oct 31, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room G.21

Archaeology Seminar

Nov 01, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room 1.04

Classical Reception Seminar

Nov 01, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room G.21

Mycenaean Seminar

Nov 02, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room 1.11

Upcoming events

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Vacancy - Research Associate, ‘Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems’ Project (CREWS)

Oct 20, 2016

Applications are sought for a Research Associate who will be a member of the ‘Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems’ (CREWS) project, led by the Principal Investigator Dr Philippa Steele.

How to write a Greek Dictionary

Oct 06, 2016

Watch the film about the Faculty's Greek Lexicon Project, working towards a a new dictionary of Ancient Greek.

New Discovery

Sep 20, 2016

Professor Jack Davis and Dr Sharon Stocker (Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati), ‘Sometimes All That Glitters Is Gold: The Tomb of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos’, 5 pm on Monday 10 October in Room LG.17, Faculty of Law, Sidgwick Site. To reserve your place please reply to by Monday 3 October.

Temporary University Lectureships in Classics (Ancient History)

Aug 31, 2016

Applications are welcome for two temporary lectureships in Classics (Ancient History) from 01 January 2017. Please see the Jobs & Vacancies page for further information.

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