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Dr David Butterfield

Dr David Butterfield

Lecturer in Classics (Ancient Literature)

Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics, Queens' College

Queens' College

Office Phone: 01223 335546

Research Interests

My primary areas of research are Latin literature, particularly of the Late Republic (and especially Lucretius), textual criticism, codicology and the history of scholarship. I am currently preparing the new Oxford text of Lucretius and a detailed study of the poem’s textual problems. I also edit the Housman Society Journal.

Key Publications


The Early Textual History of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Varro Varius: The Polymath of the Roman World (editor; Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2015)

A.E. Housman: Classical Scholar (London: Duckworth, 2009; edited with C.A. Stray)

Penguin Latin Dictionary (London: Penguin, 2007; New York: 2008; edited with R. Shorrock)


‘N.H. Romanes and the text of Lucretius’, Illinois Classical Studies 31-2 (2006-7), 75-115

‘The poetic treatment of atque from Catullus to Juvenal’, Mnemosyne 61 (2008), 386-413

‘Sigmatic ecthlipsis in Lucretius’, Hermes 136 (2008), 188-205

 ‘On the avoidance of eius in Latin poetry’, Rheinisches Museum 151 (2008), 151-67

 ‘Housman on Metre and Prosody’, in Butterfield & Stray (2009) (q.v. supra), 117-37

‘Housman and W.M. Lindsay’, in Butterfield & Stray (2009) (q.v. supra), 193-216

 ‘Unidentified and misattributed verses in the Opus prosodiacum Miconis’, Museum Helveticum 66 (2009), 155-62

 ‘Three unidentified verses in the Florilegium Sangallense’, Maia 61 (2009), 348-52

 ‘Housman’s Cambridge Lectures’, Housman Society Journal 35 (2009), 113-39

 ‘Prop. IV 2,40: Vertumnus in the dust?’, Eikasmos 20 (2009), 195-8

 ‘Nine unidentified verses in the Exempla diuersorum auctorum’, Classica et Mediaevalia 60 (2009), 327-34

 ‘A Classical Library in Cambridge: Contemporary Collectors LVII’, Book Collector 59 (2010), 71-95

 ‘Not a ghost: the 1496 edition of Lucretius’ (with M.F. Smith), Aevum 84 (2010), 683-93

Gradus ad Parnassum’ in C. Stray (ed.), Classical Dictionaries (London: Duckworth, 2010), 71-93

 ‘Housman’s public use of reproof’, Housman Society Journal 36 (2010), 158-70

‘Fournival and Propertius: A note on the early history of Leiden Voss. Lat. O 38’ (with S.J. Heyworth), Revue d’Histoire des Textes 6 (2011), 385-94

 ‘Lucretius 1.657: the problems of a crux cruciata’ in P. Millett, S.P. Oakley & R.J.E. Thompson (edd.), Ratio et res ipsa: Classical Essays Presented by Former Pupils to James Diggle on his Retirement (Cambridge: CCJ suppl. 36, 2011), 153-66

‘Neo-Latin’, in J. Clackson (ed.), A Companion to the Latin Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011), 303-18

 ‘Duae coniecturae Catullianae’, Paideia 66 (2011) 541-4

 ‘Classical verse translations of the poetry of Housman’, Housman Society Journal 37 (2011), 185-8

‘Classical Scholarship, The History of’ for R. Bagnall et al. (edd.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2012)

‘Introduction’ to A.E. Housman: A Shropshire Lad (London: Macmillan, 2011), 7-23

contempta relinquas: anxiety and expurgation in printed editions of Lucretius’ De rerum natura’ in C. Stray & S.J. Harrison (edd.), Expurgating the Classics (London: Duckworth, 2012), 95-114

The Newcastle Scholarship: A Historical Survey (Eton, 2013)

‘Classical Texts at Reichenau and St Gall’ for The St Gall Project online (

 ‘Lucretius auctus?’, in J. Martinez (ed.), Fakes, Forgeries and Issues of Authenticity in Classical Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 15-42

‘Latin and Social Media’ and ‘The Gradus ad Parnassum and other verse manuals’, in P. Ford, J. Bloemendal & C. Fantazzi (edd.), Encyclopedia of Neo-Latin Studies (981-3, 1014-16; Leiden: Brill, 2014)

‘Five Housman notes and queries’, Housman Society Journal 40 (2014) 86-96.

‘cui uideberis bella: the influence of Baehrens and Housman on the text of Catullus’, in D. Kiss (ed.), What Catullus Wrote (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2015), 107-28

‘Introduction’ to Varro Varius (q.v. supra), 1-15.

‘Texts and Contexts’, in D. Norbrook (ed.), Lucretius and the Early Modern (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) 45-68

‘Some problems in the text and transmission of Lucretius’ in R.L. Hunter and S.P. Oakley (edd.), Latin Literature and its Transmission (forthcoming; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

‘Textual criticism in the seventeenth and eighteenth century’ and ‘A.E. Housman’ in W. de Melo (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Textual Criticism (forthcoming; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 22-53

 ‘Critical Method in Lambinus’ Lucretius: Collation and Interpolation’ in G. M. Cao, A. Grafton and J. Kraye (edd.), The Marriage of Philology and Scepticism (forthcoming)

‘Verses to order: the prominence of Latin and Greek verse composition in British publications of the 19th century’, in R. Myers (ed.), Classics and the Book Trade 1600-1900 (forthcoming)

I have offered conjectures on the text of Lucretius’ DRN in: Eranos 104 (2006-7), 83-92; Philologus 152 (2008), 111-27; Exemplaria Classica 12 (2008), 2-23; Latomus 67 (2008), 634-42; Acta Antiqua 48 (2008), 351-64; Materiali e Discussioni 60 (2008), 177-89; Hyperboreus 14 (2008), 117-24; Arctos 42 (2008), 17-30; Invigilata Lucernis 30 (2008), 49-51; Eos 95 (2008), 97-108; Wiener Studien 122 (2009), 109-19; Prometheus 35 (2009), 81-9; Helmantica 60 (2009), 211-20; Euphrosyne 37 (2009), 309-16; Cambridge Classical Journal [=PCPS] 55 (2009), 49-56; Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 137 (2009), 110-17; Ziva Antika 59 (2009), 11-16; Emerita 78 (2010), 67-76; Sileno 36 (2010), 221-6;  Faventia 32-3 (2010-11) 87-91; Athenaeum 100 (2012) 475-8.

I have published Latin verses in D. Money, D. Verbeke & T. Deneire (edd.), Ramillies (Cambridge-Boston-Leuven: Bringfield’s Head Press, 2006) and D. Money (ed.), Oudenarde (Cambridge: Bringfield’s Head Press, 2008).


H. Nikitinski (ed.), David Ruhnkenius: Elogium Tiberii Hemsterhusii (Leipzig: Teubner, 2006), BMCR 2007.05.34

A. Burnett (ed.), The Letters of A.E. Housman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2 vols, 2007), BMCR 2007.08.40

A.S. Hollis, Fragments of Roman Poetry c. 60 B.C. – A.D. 20 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), BMCR 2007.12.30

N. Baechle, Metrical Constraint and the Interpretation of Style in the Tragic Trimeter (Lanham: Lexington, 2007), Classical Review 58 (2008), 350-2

J.M. Trappes-Lomax, Catullus: A Textual Reappraisal (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2007), Classical Review 59 (2009), 117-20

S.J. Heyworth (ed.), Sexti Properti Elegi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), Journal of Roman Studies 99 (2009), 261-2

S. Gillespie & P. Hardie (edd.), The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), Latomus 69 (2010), 213-17

M. Sanz Morales & M. Librán Moreno (edd.), Verae Lectiones: Estudios de Crítica Textual y Edícion de Textos Griegos (Huelva: Universidad de Huelva, 2009), BMCR 2010.05.46

P. Hardie, Lucretian Receptions: History, The Sublime, Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), BMCR 2010.09.23

C. Kallendorf, A Catalogue of the Junius Spencer Morgan Collection of Virgil in the Princeton University Library (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2009), Book Collector 60 (2011),

G.B. Conte (ed.), P. Vergilius Maro: Aeneis (Berlin: W. de Gruyter (Teubner), 2009), Exemplaria Classica 15 (2011), 397-401

E. Flores (ed.), Titus Lucretius Carus: De Rerum Natura. Volume terzo (Libri V e VI) (Naples: Bibliopolis, 2009), Gnomon 83 (2011), 597-608

S. Gurd (ed.), Philology and its Histories (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press), BMCR 2011.09.13

L. Morgan, Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), Journal of Roman Studies 102 (2012), 367-9

P.G. Naiditch, The Library of Richard Porson (Bloomington, IN: XLibris, 2011), Classical Review 63 (2013), 306

R.H. Rodgers (ed.), L. Iuni Moderati Columellae Res Rustica. Incerti auctoris liber de arboribus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), Gnomon 85 (2013), 561-4

P. d’Alessandro, Varrone e la Tradizione Metrica Antica (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2012) BMCR 2013.05.27

C. Salemme, Lucrezio e la formazione del mondo. De Rerum Natura 5, 416-508, & id., Infinito Lucreziano. De rerum natura 1, 951-1117 (Naples: Loffredo, 2010, 2011), Classical Review 63 (2013), 419-21

K. Haugen, Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) Classical Review 63 (2013), 610-12

S. Gatzemeier, Ut Ait Lucretius: Die Lukrezrezeption in Der Lateinischen Prosa Bis Laktanz (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013) (for CR)

L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (4th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

G. Jackson, Commento a Lucrezio De Rerum Natura Libro V 1-280 (Pisa-Rome: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2013) (BMCR 2014.06.06).

G.B. Conte, Ope Ingenii: Experiences of Textual Criticism (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013) Ex. Class. 19 (2015) 197-201

R. Gaskin, Horace and Housman (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) JRS 105 (2015)

L.D. Reynolds & N.G. Wilson, Scribes & Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2013) (for Scholia)

D. Lehoux et al. (edd.), Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) (for Athenaeum)

L. Fratantuono, A Reading of Lucretius’ De rerum natura (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015) (for BMCR)

Upcoming events

A Taste of Latin

Oct 22, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room R.01

Big Saturday at the Museum of Classical Archaeology

Oct 22, 2016

Museum of Classical Archaeology

Climbing the Greasy Pole in Ancient Rome

Oct 22, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room G.19

Ancient History Seminar

Oct 24, 2016

Faculty of Classics, Room G.21

Happy Families?

Oct 25, 2016

Museum of Classical Archaeology

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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