skip to content

Faculty of Classics



I was an undergraduate and graduate student at St John's College, Cambridge, and spent a year as a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard. Since 2007 I have taught in the Faculty of Classics and been a Fellow of Emmanuel College. In 2012-14 I held an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the Freie Universität Berlin and Rostock University.


I work on Latin literature of the early Roman Empire, especially Pliny the Younger and Tacitus, with particular interests in prose style, intertextuality and the intersection of literature and history. My main research project at the moment is a 'green and yellow' commentary on Tacitus Annals 14.


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); P. Roche, Gnomon 88 (2016) 751-3.

The arts of imitation in Latin prose: Pliny’s Epistles / Quintilian in brief, Cambridge (2019).

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. Roman literature under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian: literary interactions, AD 96-138, Cambridge (2018).

R. K. Gibson, and C. L. Whitton, eds. The Cambridge critical guide to Latin literature, Cambridge (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.

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 (2017) 45-108.

A. R. König and C. L. Whitton, ‘Introduction’, in A. R. König and C. L. Whitton, eds. Roman literature under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian: literary interactions, AD 96-138, Cambridge (2018) 1-34.

‘Quintilian, Pliny, Tacitus’, in A. R. König and C. L. Whitton, eds. Roman literature under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian: literary interactions, AD 96-138, Cambridge (2018) 37-62.

‘Context, commentary and Pliny (Epistles 9.3)’, in U. Tische, A. Forst and U. Gärtner, eds, Text, Kontext, Kontextualisierung: Moderne Kontextkonzepte und antike Literatur, Hildesheim (2018) 137-60.

'Pliny's arts of self-imitation (and the date of Panegyricus)', Maia 71 (2019) 339-79.

‘Biography and praise in Trajanic Rome: Tacitus’ Agricola and Pliny’s Panegyricus’, in K. de Temmerman, ed. Oxford handbook of ancient biography, Oxford (2020) 153-68.

‘Last but not least: Ad M. Brutum’, in R. K. Gibson and R. Morello, eds. The epistolary Cicero: further readings in the Letters (Hermathena special issue; forthcoming).

Encyclopedia entries

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

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

‘Pliny the Younger’, in V. E. Pagán, ed. The Tacitus encyclopedia, Malden, MA (forthcoming).

Book reviews

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

Latin literature review for Greece & Rome (from issue 65.1, 2018).



Teaching and Supervisions

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 Seneca, Tacitus, Juvenal and Suetonius among others. I welcome enquiries from potential graduate students, especially (but not only) those working on imperial Latin prose and the Trajanic period.

Reader in Latin Literature
Fellow, Director of Studies in Classics & Director of Music at Emmanuel College
Dr Christopher  Whitton

Contact Details

Emmanuel College
01223 334252
Not available for consultancy


Latest news

The Faculty invites applications for a two-year Lectureship in Classics (Greek Literature)

19 April 2021

The Faculty invites applications for a two-year Lectureship in Classics (Greek Literature) from 1st September 2021. The deadline for applications is Monday 16th May 2021 . Applications from those currently completing PhDs in any area of Greek literature, as well as from post-doctoral scholars will be welcomed. Further...

Professor Paul Cartledge receives one of Greece’s highest honours

13 April 2021

Professor Paul Cartledge, Emeritus A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, received the Commander of the Order of Honour (Ταξιάρχης τῆς Τιμῆς), for his 'contribution to enhancing Greece's stature abroad'. One of the highest honours the Greek state can give, Paul received the honour from the H. E. Ambassador to London...

Publication of the Cambridge Greek Lexicon

13 April 2021

The much-anticipated Cambridge Greek Lexicon will be published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) on 22nd April 2021. Written by an editorial team based in the Faculty, the Cambridge Greek Lexicon , which has been twenty years in the making, covers the most widely read ancient literary texts, from Homer to the Hellenistic...

Teaching Classics in the time of Covid-19

24 February 2021

Dr Renaud Gagné, Director of Undergraduate Studies, discusses the on-going challenges and adaptations made by the Faculty as the Covid-19 crisis continues and Lent term began under a renewed lockdown.