Prof. Peter Heslin
|Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History||105 38 North Bailey||+44 (0) 191 33 41682|
|Member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture|
|Co-Director (Digital Humanities) in the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies|
My research focuses on classical Latin poetry and its reception, Roman art and topography, and the digital humanities.
My interests in digital humanities include the application of machine learning and Bayesian statistical methods to literary history, the training of (not so) large language models for ancient languages, and making Latin and ancient Greek more accessible to everyone by means of open-source software that helps readers of all levels engage with texts in the original language.
I am the developer of Diogenes, a widely used application for working with databases of Greek and Latin texts, which can be downloaded from its home page. There is also now a browser-based version for handheld devices, called DiogenesWeb.
Much of my analog research (as it were) is linked by an interest in the cultural history of Roman reappropriations of Greek myth.
My first book, The Transvestite Achilles: Gender and Genre in the Achilleid of Statius (Cambridge University Press, 2005), is a study of an unfinished Latin epic poem narrating the early biography of Achilles, including an episode in which the hero was hidden from the Trojan War on the island of Scyros, cross-dressed as a girl.
My second monograph,The Museum of Augustus: The Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, the Portico of Philippus and Roman Poetry (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), posits a new methodology for understanding the intersection of Roman poetry and art, and introduces new techniques for reconstructing the appearance of Pompeiian wall paintings that were lost in the early years after their excavation. I conclude by explaining a series of famous ecphrases in Augustan poetry, especially Virgil's account of the temple of Juno in Cathage, as responses to a specific Roman monument and its decorative programme.
My third monograph, Propertius, Greek Myth, and Virgil: Rivalry, Allegory and Polemic (Oxford University Press, 2018) gives a new account of Propertius' peculiar manner of employing examples from Greek myth, which on the surface often seem inept or pointless. I argue that this appearance functions as part of his self-characterization as a feckless lover, but that close inspection reveals their intertextual point. Myth is a language in which Propertius engages in a dialogue with the Greek literary tradition and in polemics with his rivals, especially Virgil.
My work on Pompeian painting brought me in 2010 to the J. Paul Getty Villa in Los Angeles as a Getty Scholar. In 2012, I was the inaugural Joan Palevsky Visiting Professor of Classics at the University of California at Los Angeles. My research has also been supported by grants from the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.
I would be happy to speak to anyone consuidering a PhD in digital humanities, especially the application of statistical models to premodern literary history, or in Latin poetry, especially epic, elegy and lyric from the Augustan to Flavian period.
I am happy to give school talks on Roman mythological painting from Pompeii or on Greek myth in Latin poetry.
- Latin poetry
- Reception of Latin poetry
- Roman painting
- Humanities computing
Available for media contact about:
- Classics and Ancient History: Latin poetry
- Ancient literature: Latin poetry
- Latin: Latin poetry
- Classics and Ancient History: Humanities computing
- Computer Science: Humanities computing
- Heslin, Peter J. (2018). Propertius, Greek Myth, and Virgil: Rivalry, Allegory, and Polemic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Heslin, Peter (2015). The Museum of Augustus The Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, The Portico of Philippus in Rome, and Latin Poetry. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.
- Heslin, P.J. (2005). The Transvestite Achilles: Gender and Genre in Statius' Achilleid. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter in book
- Heslin, Peter (2019). The Julian Calendar and the Solar Meridian of Augustus. In The Cultural History of Augustan Rome. Loar, Matthew & Rebeggiani, S Cambridge University Press. 45-79.
- Heslin, Peter (2016). A Perfect Murder: The Hypsipyle Epyllion. In Family in Flavian Epic. Manioti, N. Leiden Boston: Brill. 394: 89-121.
- Peter Heslin (2016). Ovid’s Cycnus and Homer’s Achilles’ Heel. In Repeat Performances: Ovidian Repetition and the Metamorphoses. Fulkerson, L. & Stover, T. University of Wisconsin Press.
- Heslin, Peter (2016). The Dream of a Universal Variorum: Digitizing the Commentary Tradition. In Classical Commentaries: Explorations in a Scholarly Genre. Kraus, Christina S. & Stray, Christopher Oxford: Oxford University Press. 494-511.
- Heslin, P. J. (2008). Statius and the Greek Tragedians on Athens, Thebes and Rome. In The Poetry of Statius. J. J. L. Smolenaars, H.-J. Van Dam & R. R. Nauta Leiden: Brill. 111-128.
- Heslin, Peter (2011). Metapoetic Pseudonyms in Horace, Propertius and Ovid. Journal of Roman Studies 101: 51-72.
- Heslin, Peter (2011). The Augustus Code: a response to L. Haselberger. Journal of Roman Archaeology 24: 74-77.
- Heslin, Peter (2010). Virgil’s Georgics and the Dating of Propertius’ First Book. Journal of Roman Studies 100: 54-68.
- Heslin, Peter J. (2007). Augustus, Domitian, and the So-called Horologium Augusti. Journal of Roman Studies 97: 1-20.
- Heslin, P.J. (2001). Review of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, CD ROM Disk E. Bryn Mawr Classical Review
- Heslin, P. J. (1997). The scansion of Pharsalia (Catullus 64.37; Achilleid 1.152; Calpurnius Siculus 4.101). Classical Quarterly 47: 588-93.