Collections-based Research in Classics at Reading

In its efforts to bring present and future students’ attention to the wide range of research facilities available at the University of Reading the Research Review has highlighted Dr Amy Smith and her research in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology:

In this audio Dr Smith introduces the Ure Museum and explains how the collection and its database are used by students and scholars, including the complications inherent in studying 3d objects and relevant conservation issues.

This is the second ‘unusual space people use for their research’ highlighted in a series that started with the ‘Gut lab’ (Nutritional Sciences).

Mick Stringer Poeticus

Doctoral Research Student Mick Stringer has learnt that one of his poems is to be included in a poems and arts exhibition to be held in Dunedin, New Zealand on September 1st 2013.

The poem came to the notice of the organisers, Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) a couple of years ago.  This is a Dunedin based arts in health charity which prints and distributes free poetry cards (currently 5700) every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, hospices and prisons throughout the South Island and parts of the lower North Island.  It was included on one of the cards and subsequently selected  to accompany his work by one of the artists who will be exhibiting.

A website has been set up to publicise the exhibition and Mick has contributed some more poems, including the Roman one that made it into last year’s Creative Arts Anthology, together with a poetic biography. You can check it out at:


The Classical Association Conference 2013

On 3-6 April the Department of Classics hosted the annual conference of the Classical Association, which last came to Reading in 2005. Around 400 delegates from around the world came to hear over 200 papers on a huge range of topics.

A packed house hears Classical Association president Robin Osborne’s lecture on ‘Filling the Gaps’

A packed house hears Classical Association president Robin Osborne’s lecture on ‘Filling the Gaps’

An insider’s account of the conference (by our wonderful conference administrator, Dr Sonya Nevin) can be found here and a delegate’s perspective can be found here. The conference had a lively following on Twitter, which for me added to the general buzz around the event. I have included a few photos to give just a hint of the great range of activity:

Delegates at the conference browse the bookstalls

Delegates at the conference browse the bookstalls


Historical author Tom Holland takes time away from his pint to entertain delegates in the bar

Historical author Tom Holland takes time away from his pint to entertain delegates in the bar

It was privilege for me to chair the organising committee, a task made incredibly easy and enjoyable because of the hard work and imagination of my colleagues and of the heroic student helpers.

David Carter

Classics Research Seminars, Summer 2013

Unless otherwise indicated, all seminars will take place at 4pm in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology (HumSS G38). Everyone welcome.

1 May
Girolamo F. De Simone (Naples):
“Beyond Pompeii and Herculaneum: archaeology on the dark side of Vesuvius”

21 May
Roger Bagnall (ISAW, New York):
“On the edges of society? Funerary workers in Roman Egypt”

29 May
Helen Roche (Cambridge):
“Sparta and the Nazis”

5 June
Arietta Papaconstantinou (Reading):

12 June
Dimis Spatheras (Rhetymno):
“Emotions and the Law”

Travel Award Enables Doctoral Researcher to Attend Conference in Moscow

From our doctoral researcher Elena Chepel:

Thanks to the generosity of the Department’s Austin Travel Fund I had  the opportunity to attend the largest international classical conference in Russia, Gasparov readings, that was held in April, 18-20 at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH), Moscow.


conferenceThis year the topic was Poetics of classical ode with main focus on Pindar and Horace. The organisers, Prof. Nikolay Grintser and Prof. Nina Braginskaya brought together a constellation of classical scholars from UK, Serbia, France, Russia, USA, and Greece. Among the contributors were Prof. Ian Rutherford (University of Reading), Dr. Sergey Stepantsov (Lomonosov Moscow State University), Prof. Ewen Bowie (University of Oxford), Dr. Ana Petkovic (University of Belgrade), Prof. Richard Martin (Stanford University), Prof. Dmitry Trubochkin (State Institute for  Art Studies, Moscow), Prof. Chris Carey (UCL).


RSUH runs this annual conference to commemorate life and academic research of the prominent Russian classicist and translator Mikhail Gasparov. Among the works translated by him are Horace’s On the art of poetry, Aristotle’s Poetics, Cicero’s Orator, Ovid’s Ars amatoria, and Phaedrus’ Fables. He is the author of the standard Russian translation of Pindar and Bacchylides. He also studied in depth classical and modern European versification.


As my PhD topic deals with ritual forms in Greek comedy, including prayers, hymns and other forms of worship of gods, I attended this conference to learn more about choral odes and other lyric genres in their ritual context and about their relationship with other literary genres, especially comic genres. The conference turned out to be most fruitful and inspiring for my research.


conference2I found Prof. Lucia Athanassaki’s talk on the celebratory occasion in Pindar and Horace extremely useful. She made a groundbreaking point about Horace’s awareness of the sociopolitical and ritual context of the Pindaric odes. I benefited a lot from the brilliant paper given by Dr. Maria Kazanskaya (Universite de Paris 4, Sorbonne – St-Petersbourg State University). It considered deviations from high style in Pindaric odes including low-style expressions, everyday images and irony.


Vivid and lively discussions continued during the coffee breaks. I had chance to meet new people and share ideas about my research in an informal and friendly atmosphere.


Dr. Alexey Belousov from the Lomonosov Moscow State University presented to the Department of Classics at Reading a bundle of volumes of Aristeas, a very successful Russian journal of classical philology and ancient history, that accepts articles in Russian, English, French, German, and Latin.


Every year, the Department of Classics supports its students with generous travel awards.