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Faculty of Classics



My first degree was in classics at Cambridge. After an MPhil. in 2002 I studied German, art history and comparative literature as Knox Fellow at Harvard; I then returned to Cambridge for my PhD, and was Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College. Between 2011 and 2022 I taught in the Department of Classics at King’s College London, where I was Director of Research from 2016. I’ve held fellowships and visiting appointments in Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Stanford, as well as at the Max-Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschicthe, Getty and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

I hold both British and German citizenship, and am married with two children (born in 2019 and 2021). I was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2022.


Greek and Roman material and visual culture; classical literature, culture and thought; ancient attitudes to the body and sensory archaeology; early Christian art and theology; history of aesthetics (especially in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany); cultural history of ornament; classical traditions and the legacies of Greek and Roman art; ecphrasis and visual-verbal relations; materialities of text; disciplinary histories of art history, archaeology and anthropology.


Key publications: 
Other publications: 
  • ‘Texts on the Tables: The Tabulae Iliacae in their Hellenistic literary context’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 130: 67–96. 2010.
  • ‘Making Myron’s cow moo? Ecphrastic epigram and the poetics of simulation’, American Journal of Philology 131.4: 589–634. 2010 [Awarded 2010 Gildersleeve Prize].
  • ‘A place for art? Classical Archaeology and the contexts of art history’, in S. Alcock and R. Osborne (eds.), Companion to Classical Archaeology, second edition (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell), pp. 468–500. 2012.
  • Ἀσπὶς Ἀχιλλῆος Θεοδώρηος καθὍμηρον: An early Imperial text of Il. 18.483–557’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 182: 1–30. 2012.
  • ‘Apparitions apparent: The parameters of vision in Philostratus the Elder’s Imagines’, Helios 39: 97–140. 2013.
  • ‘Embodied ambiguities on the Prima Porta Augustus’, Art History 36.2: 242–79. 2013.
  •  ‘Ekphrasis at the forge and the forging of ekphrasis: The shield of Achilles in Graeco-Roman word and image’, Word & Image 29.2: 157–91. 2013.
  • ‘Invertire l’ekphrasis: l’epigramma ellenistico e la traslazione di parola e immagine’, Estetica: studi e ricerche 2013: 109– 36. 2013.
  • (with J. Grethlein) ‘Persuasive in appearance but deceitful in character: Reviewing the enigma of the Tabula Cebetis’, Classical Philology 109: 285–324. 2014.
  • ‘Roman portraiture and the semantics of extraction’, in G. Boehm, O. Budelacci, M.G. Di Monte and M. Renner (eds.), Gesicht und Identität / Face and Identity (Munich: Wilhelm Fink), pp. 79–106. 2015.
  • ‘Theories of reception: Past, present and future’, in C. Marconi (ed.), A Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 637–71. 2014.
  • M. Squire, ‘The ordo of rhetoric and the rhetoric of ordo’, in M. Meyer and J. Elsner (eds.), Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 353–417. 2014.
  • ‘Roman art and the artist’, in B. Borg (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Roman Art (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell), pp. 172–94. 2015.
  • Corpus Imperii: Verbal and visual figurations of the Roman “body politic”’, Word & Image 31.2: 305–30. 2015.
  • ‘Reflections on art’, in P. Murray and P. Destrée (eds.), A Companion to Ancient Aesthetics (Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley), pp. 307–26. 2015.
  • ‘POP art: The optical poetics of Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius’, in J. Elsner and J. Hernández Lobato, Towards a Poetics of Late Latin Literature (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 25–100. 2016.
  • ‘Aesthetics’, in E. A. Friedland, M. G. Sobocinski and E. Gazda (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 589–605. 2016.
  • ‘How to read a Roman portrait: Optatian Porphyry, Constantine and the uultus Augusti’, Papers of the British School at Rome 84: 179–240. 2017.
  • ‘Embodying the dead on Classical Attic grave stelai’, Art History 41.3: 518–545. 2018.
  • ‘Casual classicism? In conversation with Marc Quinn’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition 26.2: 195–235. 2019.
  • Veritas repraesentata? Zeuxis, Parrhasius and the nature of pictorial representation in Pliny’s Natural History’, in A. Anguissola and A. Grüner (eds.), The Nature of Art: Pliny the Elder on Materials (Turnhout: Brepols), pp. 260–76. 2021.
  • ‘Word & image’, in L. Cline and N. Elkins (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Roman Imagery and Iconography (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 51–91. 2022.


I’ve written around 100 articles/chapters, and a similar number of book reviews (including as subject reviewer for ‘Art and Archaeology’ in Greece & Rome, 2018–2022): I’ve uploaded some of these publications here.

Teaching and Supervisions


My teaching is mostly in classical art and archaeology, but it also includes ancient Greek and Latin language and literature, as well as interdisciplinary approaches to the classical world.

Research supervision: 

Past PhD topics supervised include: literary and monumental Greek epigram; Greek architectural sculpture in the fourth century BC; ancient landscape painting; Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Roman art; monsters in Archaic Greece; Campanian painting workshops; miniaturisation and the gods; Roman sarcophagi, myth and funerary culture; gardens in ancient art and literature; the Neronian grotesque; eighteenth-century attitudes to ancient art; early Christian visual culture; replication in Roman reliefs; Greek and Roman visual representations of Homeric epic; Hegelian aesthetics.

I’m particularly interested in supervising research students in the following areas: Greek and Roman material and visual culture; attitudes to art in antiquity; the Second Sophistic; the history of aesthetics; epigram and literary anthologies; ecphrasis; the history of classical archaeology (at Cambridge and elsewhere).

Other Professional Activities

Series editor: Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity (Routledge); Greek Culture in the Roman World (Cambridge University Press).

Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology
Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College

Contact Details

Faculty of Classics Sidgwick Avenue Cambridge CB3 9DA
Trinity College Cambridge CB2 1TQ
01223 335161 (Faculty) / 338400 (College Porters’ Lodge)
Not available for consultancy


Latest news

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The Faculty is delighted to announce that Professor Tim Whitmarsh FBA has been elected Regius Professor of Greek from 1 April 2023. He is currently the A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture in the University. Looking ahead to his new role, Professor Whitmarsh commented: ’I am thrilled and honoured to be taking up this...

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University Assistant Professorship in Classics

15 November 2022

The Faculty of Classics is seeking to appoint an Assistant Professor in Classics (Ancient Greek History and/or Archaeology) from 1 September 2023. The role is open to those, at any stage in their career, with a primary research interest in Archaic/Classical/Hellenistic Greek History and/or Archaeology. We welcome...

Brian Leech Memorial Fund

10 November 2022

The Faculty of Classics is delighted to announce the establishment of the Brian Leech Memorial Fund. The Fund comes about thanks to a generous donation by Emma Gleave, and is made in memory of her late father, Brian Leech. Brian Leech had a long and successful career as both barrister and judge. He also greatly enjoyed classical studies – with a life-long passion for ancient Greek and Latin languages.