Alex is a post-doctoral research fellow in Classics at All Souls College, Oxford and former undergraduate/graduate student in the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge and Lumley Research Fellow at Magdalene College (from 2008 to 2011). Her book is based directly on her Cambridge doctoral thesis, and was published in 2013 in Cambridge Classical Studies.
Read more HERE.
25 September - 6 December 2015
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
How did artefacts made in the Mediterranean millennia ago come to define western art? To show us how Greece and Rome’s gods and heroes came to inhabit post-antique painting and sculpture, the Fitzwilliam Museum has called upon one of them to act as a guide: Hercules.
Hercules is one of the best-loved ancient heroes. Known in antiquity for completing twelve tasks or ‘labours’ that confirmed his status as a god, Hercules is today tasked with one more – to tell the story of classical art. Hercules is brought to life by each of the forty objects on display (from exquisite gems and coins, Renaissance drawings and bronzes, to eighteenth-century paintings, and even a giant polystyrene statue…). Their interaction also reveals how classical art was born, and gives classical art on-going relevance.
The exhibition takes its lead from its star exhibit, a colossal sculpture by Cambridge-born artist Matthew Darbyshire. Darbyshire’s intervention is a version of the Farnese Hercules, a marble statue unearthed in Rome in 1545/6, but is made from sheets of polystyrene — classical art for a consumerist age. Up close, its cut, crisp polystyrene layers make it appear pixelated, but step back, and the statue comes into focus, shining like marble. Back in 1850, two years after the Founder’s Building opened to the public, the Fitzwilliam Museum exhibited another Farnese Hercules, a plaster version, now in Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology. Before being given to the Fitzwilliam, it stood in a private house in Battersea, where it moved London’s artists to tears.
The Fitzwilliam Museum’s own collection is well equipped with prototypes and later versions of the Farnese Hercules: from a bronze statuette of the first century BCE, through Hendrick Goltzius’ sixteenth-century engraving of the Farnese statue’s rear view, Wedgwood’s white on blue cameo plaque, and William Blake’s illustration of the statue for Abraham Rees’ The Cyclopædia, or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. The Museum’s collection also provides competing images of Hercules — images of Hercules young, drunk, or dressed as a woman, in bronze, wood and painted porcelain. These give context to Darbyshire’s sculpture, underlining that classicism and modernism are not opposites. In the fast moving, digital age in which we live, we perhaps need tradition more than ever.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Caroline Vout, Reader in Classics in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Christ’s College, and is part of her British-Academy funded research project entitled ‘Classical Art: A Life History’.
The Faculty’s Museum of Classical Archaeology also has a small display in connection with the ‘Following Hercules’ show: see http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/museum/things-to-do/exhibitions/exhibitions/following-hercules
For related events, see http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/events/
The Faculty is pleased to announce that Dr Hannah Willey has been appointed to the post of Lecturer in Classics (Ancient History) and a Fellowship at Murray Edwards College. Hannah read Classics and then took her PhD at Cambridge: she will take up her post on 1st September 2015. Hannah's research interests lie in Greek religion and society with a particular focus on Greek law and religion. She is currently W.H.D. Rouse fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge.
The Faculty of Classics welcomes applications for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships. The Leverhulme Trust Board, through its Research Awards Advisory Committee, is offering approximately eighty three-year Fellowships in 2015. These are post-doctoral awards. The Fellowships provide career development opportunities for researchers with a proven record of research at a relatively early stage of their academic careers. The objective is for Fellows to undertake a significant piece of publishable research during the tenure of the award; the project proposed should therefore not be a reworking or mere extension of the candidate’s doctoral research.
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships demand matching funding from the host institution. For the Faculty of Classics matching funding is available, on a competitive basis, through the generosity of the Isaac Newton Trust. Applications which receive support from the Faculty of Classics will be sent to the Isaac Newton Trust for consideration for matching funding. Those applications which receive support from the Isaac Newton Trust will be forwarded for consideration by the Leverhulme Trust.
Applications to the Faculty should consist of
(a) a brief CV (not exceeding two sides);
(b) a pdf version of the draft Leverhulme2015 ECF application. In preparing these documents, applicants should adhere closely to the Leverhulme Trust’s guidelines in the 2015 ECF Scheme Leaflet;
(c) a brief statement (maximum 250 words) explaining why the Classics Faculty is the best place for this research to be undertaken;
(d) a brief statement (maximum one side A4) outlining how the applicant would contribute to the teaching and wider intellectual life of the Faculty in the context of the Leverhulme Trust's guidance on teaching in the 2015 ECF Scheme Leaflet. Applicants should indicate the undergraduate Tripos papers for which they would expect tosupervise and in what area(s) they would wish to lecture, if an opportunity were available;
(e) two letters of reference, at least one from outside Cambridge;
(f) a substantial writing sample (normally the PhD thesis or the thesis as revised for publication).
Applicants must give the dates on which they took their PhD viva and on which they were awarded the PhD. Applicants are not eligible for the Leverhulme competition if their PhD viva was more than five years before the closing date of 5 March 2015, unless they have had a career break.
Applications must be received in electronic form by the Faculty Administrator, Mrs Jane Fisher-Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 12 noon on Tuesday 6 January 2015.
The Leverhulme Trust website indicates that its application forms for the 2014 ECF Scheme can be accessed from 1 January 2015; applicants are therefore advised that they will not be able to send in their applications to the Faculty before that date.
Information about the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships, including application forms and the 2014 ECF Scheme leaflet can be found at
Information about the Isaac Newton Trust can be found at
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Faculty’s Research Officer (Dr Rebecca Flemming, email@example.com) and/or an academic working in the relevant discipline in the Faculty (for a complete list see http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/directory/faculty) in order to discuss their proposal before submitting it by the 6th January deadline.
Please do not hesitate to contact Jane Fisher-Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
The excellence of the research carried out by members of the Faculty was recognised in the latest UK research assessment exercise (REF 2014). In each of three separate categories (outputs, impact, and environment) Cambridge Classics was judged to have the greatest percentage of world-leading quality of any UK Classics department. This continues our outstanding performances in every such exercise since their inception in 1992.
For detailed analysis see
Beginning life as a bright-white plaster cast, the Terme Boxer has been recently restored by former Fitzwilliam Museum technician Bob Bourne; his transformation from chalky whiteness to burnished bronze gives visitors the chance to see a magnificent replica of Hellenistic Greek sculpture up close and personal.
The original Terme Boxer is one of the finest examples of bronze-cast sculpture to have survived from the ancient world. Found in 1885 on the south side of the Quirinal Hill in Rome, where it had been carefully deposited, it is believed to be a Hellenistic original, but could date to any time between the fourth and first centuries BCE.
Sitting on a rock, this bearded fighter rests his weary body after a bout of boxing. Ancient boxing was a brutal sport. He wears fur-lined gloves to protect his hands, but still has taken a battering. Wounds cut into his skin and bruises swell from beneath the surface; his broken nose, cauliflower ears and hardened muscles are evidence of a long career. The impact of this rare example of a fully preserved bronze is not just realistic, but visceral.
“The Boxer is a wonderful addition to our atmospheric cast gallery. It’s not just a beautiful sculpture, it’s also a real reminder of the sheer breadth of classical sculpture, which ranges beyond the familiar idealised youths and naked Aphrodites to encompass hyperbolic Hercules, babies squashing geese and, indeed, battle-worn boxers who look like they’ve seen better days.” Dr. Susanne Turner, Curator at the Museum of Classical Archaeology
Most bronzes have been lost to us, so much more easily melted down and transformed into new objects than their marble and stone counterparts. So special is the original that it is currently one of the star pieces in the exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World at the J.P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
The Museum of Classical Archaeology is open 10am-5pm on weekdays and 10am-1pm on Saturdays during University term-time. The Boxer can be viewed in Bay J.
The award was presented to Prof. Beard at a star-studded event in London, by Peter Capaldi. More information here.
The middle Roman Republic (the 4th - 3rd centuries BC) was the formative period in the development of Roman urbanism, with the development of the City of Rome itself and crucially also the implantation of new urban foundations across the conquered areas of Italy. Since Roman cities subsequently became central to the character of Rome's imperial system, understanding the earliest development of towns in Italy at this period is central to any comprehension of Roman imperialism itself. However, the earliest phases of these cities, many of which have continued in occupation until today, lie deeply buried beneath later structures.
This innovative project – carried out in collaboration with the British School at Rome and Prof Frank Vermeulen and Dr Lieven Verdonck of Ghent University – will deploy Ground-Penetrating Radar survey alongside the study of ceramic assemblages across the full extent of two cities founded in this period - Interamna Lirenas founded as a colony in 312 BC and Falerii Novi founded by Rome in 241 BC to characterise their early development. The work will build directly upon our previous survey at both sites (which has included full magnetometry and topographical surveys of both) to provide unique new data about the deeply buried deposits, thereby allowing the integrated information to be used to map these towns and address key questions about the nature of Roman urban development in this key period.
The collection point in the Faculty lobby has now closed, but volunteers are still needed to help sort the donations on Friday 13th - please email Maria Krisch (mk726) if you are able to help out. The Cambridge University Refugee Action Group is also looking for volunteers to help transport donations to Calais on Saturday 14th and again later in term - join the Cambridge University Calais Refugee Action Group for further details and to sign up.
A pioneering project to promote Classics at schools in deprived areas is appealing for alumni to share their passion for the ancient world. The charity Classics for All introduces Latin, ancient Greek, ancient history and classical civilisation to youngsters at state-run primary and secondary schools nationwide.
More than 6,000 pupils have already benefited from more than £450,000 in grants awarded by the charity to support the teaching of Classics. The charity believes every pupil deserves to benefit from the learning, enjoyment and inspiration that Classics provides.
Only in its fifth year, the charity has already supported 300 schools, and it aims to increase this to 600 schools to meet demand in the next two years. Cambridge Classicists are heavily involved in the charity’s activities, with three of our University staff, Mary Beard, Paul Cartledge, and Pat Easterling (former Regius Professor of Greek) serving as patrons.
Nicholas Barber CBE, chairman of Classics for All, said: “Classics for All is only five years old but we are on a roll. We work with schools to revive Classics and make them a permanent part of the curriculum. Most state schools do not have Classics teachers, so we offer training and mentoring for teachers with a basic knowledge of Latin or Ancient History or those who are keen to develop new subject knowledge from scratch. Enthusiastic volunteers are an essential part of our work; they help us in many ways including spreading the word about Classics for All, getting schools on board, offering classical talks to schools, teaching Latin in primary schools or mentoring teachers new to Classics. Even if your grammar is rusty, or if you have not returned to your texts in decades, Classics for All would value your support.”
Peter Olive co-ordinates CfA’s work in London through a programme called Capital Classics. He said: “Classics alumni have played a crucial role in getting Latin, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History onto the curriculum in more than 50 London primary and secondary schools in areas of social deprivation. Participating schools have been amazed by the positive reaction among pupils, and Latin and Classical Civilisation are now taught in some London primary and secondary schools alongside or as an alternative to modern foreign languages.”
Classics for All is keen to hear from Cambridge Classics alumni prepared to do any or all of the following:
- Spread the word about Classics for All to state schools across the UK and encourage them to get involved
- Advise or mentor teachers teaching Classics for the first time
- Run an after school Classics club
- Support fundraising, events or promotional activities
The production will take place at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in October 2016. We will be welcoming back director Helen Eastman and composer Alex Silverman, the team behind Agamemnon (2010) and Prometheus/Frogs (2013).
We are currently looking to appoint up to two Assistant Directors and a Musical Director. Details HERE.
Auditions and other opportunities, plus the launch of our brand new website, will be announced soon.
Our website link is:
The Faculty warmly congratulates Professor Sir Geoffrey Lloyd on the award of the prestigious Prix international from the Fondation Fyssen. The theme of this year's prize was "cognition et variation culturelle"
The Faculty offers its warm congratulations to Tim Whitmarsh (A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture) on the award of the Charles A. Goodwin Prize for Merit 2014 by the Society for Classical Studies (formally the American Philological Society) for his book, Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek Postclassicism (University of California Press, 2013).
Dr Gowers received the award so that she can work on her research project 'Maecenas: Transformations of an Augustan Patron'.
Please click here for details.
Are you considering applying for either the MPhil or PhD in Classics in Cambridge? If so, then please come along to our Postgraduate Courses Open Day to find out more about the Faculty and the courses we offer, what it is like to be a postgraduate student here, and to ask questions about your research ideas and funding opportunities.
On Saturday 14th November the Faculty of Classics will be hosting its first Graduate Open Day, where prospective students will be able to tour the Faculty, attend sample seminars, and speak with academic staff regarding our M.Phil and PhD courses.
For more details, a provisional programme, and a link for the online registration form, please visit this page.
The Faculty will host a major project grant of £670,000 from the AHRC for a project to run for four years from October 2013 entitled "Greek in Italy: investigating the linguistic effect of the long-term presence of Greek speakers on the languages of Ancient Italy."
The project's principal investigator is Dr James Clackson, with Prof. Geoff Horrocks as co-investigator and post-doc positions held by Dr Nick Zair and Dr Katherine McDonald (funded by a Research Fellowship at Caius College, Cambridge). A PhD studentship on the project will be advertised to start in October 2014.
The Guardian league table measures various features of the student experience. Cambridge Classics attained 97% student satisfaction, offered the best career prospects, and came top overall. The full table can be found HERE.
We are delighted that the Cambridge Classics Faculty maintained its position at the top of the Guardian league tables for 2016 for the fifth consecutive year.
The Faculty warmly congratulates Professor Mary Beard on the award of a honorary doctorate from the University of London and Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill on the award of an honorary doctorate from the University of Reading.
The Gray Lectures this year will be given by Prof. Malcolm Schofield on the subject of “Infancy, Childhood and Play in Ancient Greek Philosophy”.
There will be 2 Lectures:
Tuesday 19 May, 5pm in G.19 : Infancy
Thursday 21 May, 5pm in G.19 : Childhood and Play
and a seminar:
Wednesday 20 May, 2.15pm in 1.11 : Plato’s Puppet
When Greek philosophers wanted to explore the human condition and its prospects, they often approached it via reflection on the new born infant, or again the toys and games of children's play. They found infancy and childhood 'good to think with' - and none of them more so than Plato.
Heraclitus and Hellenistic philosophy will figure prominently in these talks, but above all Plato's late and too little read final dialogue, the Laws.
The lectures and seminar are open to all members of the University and others who are interested.
The Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati (https://classics.uc.edu/) has awarded Dr Yannis Galanakis a Margo Tytus Visiting Scholar Fellowship for 2016.
He will use the fellowship to do research on Aegean funerary archaeology and on the 19th-century antiquities trade in Greece. The award will coincide with the period of his first sabbatical leave from Cambridge.
Prof Millett said: "The results of our work completely transform our understanding of one of the key cities of the Roman Empire. The enormous scale of the newly discovered warehouses will require a rethinking about the scale of commerce passing through the port. The results also illustrate yet again the power of contemporary survey methods in providing important new evidence about even very well-known archaeological sites."
Read the FULL ARTICLE in the University Research News.
Dr Lucia Prauscello has been awarded an 18 month Humboldt Fellowship for her project on a new edition and commentary of the fragments of the Boeotian poetess Corinna. The Fellowship will allow her to undertake research in Berlin at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Berliner Papyrussamlung.
Click here for further information.
Please click HERE for further details.
The Faculty congratulates Richard Hunter who has been elected to full membership as a Foreign Fellow of the Academy of Athens. Prof Hunter, who has been a Corresponding Member since 2001, is only the third classicist to receive this honour.
Christ's College, Cambridge, invites applications for the W H D Rouse Junior Research Fellowship, tenable for a period of four years from not later than 1 October 2015 for work in Classics, Indian Languages or Indo-European Philology. The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 26 January 2015.
For all further information see
The Evans-Pritchard Lectures 2014 (All Souls College, Oxford) will be given by Dr Philippa M. Steele on the subject of "Society and Writing in Ancient Cyprus".
They will take place on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th May (at 5pm each day), in the All Souls Old Library.
More information is given here.
The lecture is publicly available via the Hellenic Society's Youtube channel at http://youtu.be/U_Ui9uHMoVc.
Applications are now invited for the position of Temporary Teaching Associate in Classics (Greek Literature) from 01 October 2015. Please see the Jobs and Vacancies page for more details.
The Faculty offers its warm congratulations to Professor Mary Beard who has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for 2015-17.
Professor Beard received the award for her research project "The Twelve Caesars".
War and strife, both internal and external, were an ever-present part of life in the ancient world, and so it is no surprise that these played a central theme in ancient philosophy. The 2015 Cambridge Graduate Conference in Ancient Philosophy aims to explore the various ways in which war and strife are thematised in ancient philosophy, both in terms of how these concepts are themselves conceived and how they serve as themes for wider metaphysical concerns.
The conference will run from mid-day of Friday the 27th of March to the afternoon of Saturday the 28th of March.
It was the inaugural dinner of the 'Women in Classics at Cambridge', an event sponsored by the Classics Conclave and designed to facilitate discussion among women in the field, from fellows to post-graduates. As Emily Gowers (who hosted the dinner) remarked at the beginning of her speech, 'the idea behind tonight's dinner is to get as many women who are involved in Classics at Cambridge together as we can, mix up ages and subjects and celebrate and compare notes.' The dinner was not only host to women from many disciplines and many places, but also of many ages. Indeed, the age range provided a fascinating insight into the aspects of the faculty that have changed – and those that have not. Dr. Gowers summarised the positive progress of Classics by noting,
'It's certainly become normal to be a female classicist, and that's a big step. Since 1948, we've had a steady stream of women dons, very distinguished ones – Joyce Reynolds, Alison Duke, Pat Easterling, Dorothy Thompson, Mary Beard, who arrived in gold bovver boots in 1984. Now . . . as many women as men read Classics and do as well as or better than them in the exams.'