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Annual Research Theme

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The Department’s Annual Research Theme encourages the exploration of innovative subjects emerging at the intersection of two or more members of research staff working in relatively diverse areas, and aims to be an engine for creating new agendas through fresh subdisciplinary collaborations. We normally reserve a number of slots from the Department’s Research Seminar for the theme, and provide funding for a dedicated international conference. The Research Theme is ultimately directed towards publication, often in association with postdoctoral researchers, visitors and graduate students. A series of edited collections has appeared with OUP, CUP, de Gruyter and Brill.


Annual Research Theme 2021/22

Portrayals of ‘Intellectuals’ in the Ancient World  

Download the programme here Portrayals of Intellectuals programme

This seminar series will deal with aspects such as the construction of authority, (self-)presentation, forms of knowledge, the social and ethical implications of learnedness, and the constitution of networks. The following questions will be addressed: What constitutes an “intellectual” in antiquity? To what extent can ancient intellectuals be understood as public figures? How much of their knowledge do they share with others and for what purposes? How much do they directly or indirectly contribute to the functioning of society? Were some of them classified as ‘champions’, ‘pioneers’, ‘heroes’, ‘legends’ or ‘dissidents’ (to use some of the terms applied by Misztal 2007)? What about criticism and mockery of intellectuals, especially in genres such as comedy, satire and epigram (e.g. Socrates in Aristophanes’ Clouds)? In what way is their status mirrored by linguistic and stylistic characteristics (e.g. the use of languages for special purposes) and rhetorical elements? How are patronage and the existence of schools of thought related to intellectual figures, and how much scholarly independence can ancient thinkers claim for themselves? What about the geographical dimension, i.e. the occurrence of intellectuals in certain spaces or regions? What kind of impact did ancient figures of intellectuals have on later periods?  

Contact Thorsten Fögen: or Phillip Horky: for more information

Conferences, Events and Workshops

Programmes and details for our conferences, events and workshops will be posted in this area and on our events calendar.

You can download details of our previous conferences, events and workshops can be downloaded from this link:  Conferences, Events and Workshops Classics & Ancient History


A photograph of the exterior of the Classics building showing the pink front door

Research Seminar

The department holds a research seminar each Thursday during termtime. The seminars are held in person or via Zoom.

You can download a list of previous events via this link Department of Classics and Ancient History University of Durham Research Seminar Full Programme 2020-2021

If you would like to join us for the seminar, please contact the Research Seminar Coordinator Dr Kate Cook 

Epiphany 2022 Programme

The seminars take place on Thursdays at 5pm via Zoom.

Titles marked by a * form part of the series “Portrayals of 'Intellectuals' in the Ancient World”

All welcome!

Date  Speaker Title
Jan. 13Owen Hodkinson (Leeds)

Philostratus' Erotic Epistles: a reception history, from Late Antiquity via Byzantium to John Addington Symonds and friends.

Jan. 20  

Courtney Roby (Cornell University, US)

*Hand over mind: technicals and intellectuals 

Jan. 27  Michael Clarke (Galway)  

Dialogues between mythologies: the case of the Race of Heroes and the Rebel Angels

Feb. 3Thomas Schmitz (Universität Bonn, Germany)

* Lucian's Depiction of Greek Intellectuals in the Roman Empire

Feb. 10


Yury Arzhanov (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna)

Porphyry of Tyre’s Treatise on First Principles and Prime Matter Preserved in Syriac

Feb. 17 

Peter von Möllendorff (Universität Gießen, Germany)

 Dialogues of Gods and Beasts: Lucianic Ways of Portraying Intellectuals

Feb. 24

Christopher Rowe (Durham)

Nous ('intelligence') in Aristotle's Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics

Mar. 3  Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann (Universität Zürich, Switzerland) 

*Intellectual pursuits in Anglo-Saxon England: Aldhelm of Malmesbury’s antique learning

Mar. 10 

Peter Kelly (National University of Ireland Galway)

Inside Out: Ovid and the Embodiment of the Climate Crisis

Mar. 17 

John Sellars (Royal Holloway)

A Newly Recovered Stoic Account of Emotions?


You can also download a copy of the seminar programme here Research Seminar Programme Epiphany Term 2022

Work in Progress Seminars

The department holds regular Work in Progress (WiP) seminars

A list of previous events can be downloaded from this link Work in Progress Seminar schedule 2020-21

Junior Work in Progress Seminars

The department holds regular Junior Work in Progress (JWiP) seminars. Details of these can found on our social media 

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