Academic Visitors and Visiting Fellows 2016-17

Professor Juan Manuel Cortés Copete

Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville, Spain)


The year 2017 will mark the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian's ascent to imperial power. 'Hadrian and the integration of the regional diversity' is a new Spanish research project that aims to analyse the transformations undergone by the Roman Empire at the hands of the first provincial Emperors, especially under the rule of Hadrian. Hadrian's provincial origins, his training as a soldier, his love of travelling and his intellectual interests enabled him to take into account imperial diversity and adopt certain decisions which resulted in the inclusion of provincial elements into imperial identity. During my stay at the Institute I intend to finish a new translation, edition and commentary of Hadrian’s letters and other related documents. At the same time, I will be working on the catalogue for the exhibition “Hadrian 2017. Metamorphosis: The birth of a new Rome”, that will be simultaneously held in the Archaeological Museum of Seville and in the Roman city of Italica.

Dates of visit: 1 June 2016 to 30 September 2016

Dr Anton Alvar Nuño

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


My primary line of research is focused on the study of semi-institutionalized religious practices in the Roman world. During my stay at the ICS I will work mainly on the production and use of gemstones with "Pagan" iconography in late-antique Egypt. During the past few years there has been an increased interest on the study of the social, political and cultural conditions that influenced the use of gemstones, especially those with magical signs or divinities. My aim is to analyse the social condition of the individuals who used them, whether the new Christian doctrine in Egypt was permissive towards the production and use of pagan gemstones, and how their use could be justified or explained in relation to the official discourse issued by the Church.

Dates of visit: 6 June 2016 to 3 November 2016

Professor Manuel Álvarez Martí-Aguilar


University of Malaga


I am studying the impact of tsunamis in the symbolic systems of the Ancient World, taking the Gulf of Cádiz as a case study. I review literary traditions on Cádiz (Gadir-Gades) through Phoenician, Roman and Islamic ages, incorporating also archaeological data in order to identify any indications of the impact this type of cataclysm had on south-western shores of the Iberian Peninsula between c. 1000 B.C and 1000 A.D. I want to elucidate how this phenomenon is perceived and processed in collective imagination, how it is incorporated into religious narratives and what type of apotropaic practices are generated in communities enduring such a cataclysm in Antiquity.

Date of visit: 1 October 2016 - 21 December 2016

Ms Leire Lizarzategui

University of the Basque Country


During my stay at the ICS I will focus on the study of the political participation of Roman women, trying to understand their capacity and means to influence that field of Roman life that was, in theory, forbidden to them. To do so I will continue my research into female amicitia networks and their development between the last two centuries of the Roman Republic and the first three centuries of Imperial Rome. I will also begin to compare their status and influence in the different provinces of the empire analysing for that purpose the mentions of honours granted to women both in literary and epigraphic texts, and studying the significance of their physical context.

Date of visit: 1 October 2016 - 31 May 2017

Dr Maria Vamvouri Ruffy

University of Lausanne


My research addresses the fictional answers Ancient Greek and contemporary literature give to critical social situations such as the closing of borders, displacement and exile. My purpose is to study the discursive strategies and literary devices thanks to which specific literary works, ancient and contemporary, enlighten, sublimate and travesty such individual or collective experiences as well as the tensions these experiences reveal. I will study Ancient Greek texts of hellenistic and imperial literature, that refer to myths and theorise the experience of displacement, borders and exile. The corpus is also constituted of contemporary poems and novels. My method of work is inspired by anthropology since it is based on stepping back from my own cultural standpoint in order to better rethink and reconceptualise it. This research will highlight the wide variety of subversive answers to exile, borders and displacement offered up by literary texts belonging to different cultural and historical contexts.

Date of visit: 15 October 2016 - 2 December 2016

Ms Polina Yordanova

Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridsky"


My interests are in translation of verse and meter, namely translating Ancient Greek comedy into Bulgarian. I am also interested in the use of digital tools in the humanities, and while in the institute I will be teaching two workshops on the application of Treebanking in the classroom. Treebanking as a concept and the platform Arethusa developed by the Perseids project are proven to be extremely useful for teaching ancient languages, as a visualization of complex syntax and phenomena and as a collaboration between students and teachers with simple assessment methods.

Date of visit: 6 December 2016 - 16 December 2016

Dr Camila da Silva Condilo

University of São Paulo, Brazil


My research aims to understand the role genealogy performs in the development of ancient historiography by analysing various aspects of genealogy-making in Herodotus’ Histories. The focus on Herodotus is due to a series of reasons: firstly, scholarship traditionally designates him as the “father of history”; secondly, he is considered to be a key player in the development of a chronological system; lastly, he is the great synthetist of intellectual and cultural trends of his time. The purpose is to show that, although the association between genealogy and chronology was an important innovation in history writing in the classical period, genealogies maintained many of the forms and uses they present in poets and authors previous to Herodotus: his historiē shows genealogy as a form to emphasise one’s social status and to organise time and space; it also shows genealogy as a means to establish relations of solidarity/conflict and to present characters; it is a tool as well to create group identity and a rhetorical strategy in polemic debates. During my stay at the ICS, I will concentrate on some of those aspects, particularly on how genealogies are manipulated to organise time and space in Herodotus’ narrative.

Date of visit: 15 December 2016 - 15 March 2017

Professor John Hilton 

University of KwaZulu-Natal


The Institute of Classical Studies in London holds comprehensive and long-established resources for the study of the ancient world and is one of the world’s leading research institutes in the field of Classics. During my stay at the Institute I aim to investigate how literature, history and philosophy were used in the religious struggles of the fourth century of our era. Narrative fiction, whether in the form of myth, allegory or novel, played an important role in this contest since it could address new audiences receptive to claims of universal salvation, either Christian or pagan, that were being advanced in the time.  The emperor Julian was a prolific author and a self-confessed but guarded  reader of the erotic fiction. While he was alive, he was attacked for his views and defended himself on numerous occasions. After his death he was ardently criticized for his religious policies. Much still needs to be done to explain how this contest came about and why it is important for us today.

Dates of visit: 1 January 2017 - 28 February 2017

Professor Catherine Rowett

University of East Anglia


I work in Ancient Philosophy quite broadly but my main focus this Spring is on the work of Plato. I shall be completing a number of papers on Plato: on immortality in the Phaedo, on Tragedy and the competition between poetry and philosophy in the Symposium, and on the genealogical method in the Republic. Besides these I shall be finalising the introduction and editorial work for a more general volume of essays on ancient philosophy and analytic philosophy, and I shall be exploring new ideas for a new monograph on Plato’s Republic, including research on the economics of the ideal state, and on the place of imagery and poetry in the Republic and in its utopian city.

Dates of visit: 25 January 2017 - 31 May 2017


Mr José Manuel Torregrosa Yago

University of Valencia


My research is currently focused on the numismatic study of the Iberian mint of Iltirta (the current city of Lérida, an inland territory in Catalonia), one of the most important cities of the Iberian Peninsula during the III-I centuries BC. My Doctoral thesis project focuses on the ancient city's environment, archaeology, historiography, coin inscriptions and types, monetary circulation and production, technical striking, metallography and metal analysis of coinage and the numerous processes associated with Iberian minting in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is very interesting to understand those numismatic processes in one of the most important Iberian mints in ancient Spain, just at the time when the Romans arrived in Hispania (218 BC). On the other hand, we know Iltirta was minting until Augustan times.

Dates of visit: 2 February 2017 - 30 April 2017

Professor Francisco Marco Simón

Universidad de Zaragoza


My main interests are the religious systems in the Ancient world, specially in the western provinces of the Roman Empire. This has led me to explore the processes of religious acculturation, as well as the representation of the Celts as paradigm of the northern barbarian from the Graeco-Roman point of view. In  the last fifteen years, I have been Principal Investigator of research projects on the contexts of  magico-religious practices in the Ancient World and in the Latin West, and co-organized two international conferences in Zaragoza and Rome. I am currently coordinating a project aiming to compare (as a starting point for a better understanding of their historical specificity) inter-religious contacts in the ancient Mediterranean (mainly in its central and western parts) and in colonial Mesoamerica (in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), and I am also increasingly interested in analyzing religious cosmopolitanism in the Roman Empire, exploring horizons and places of shared meanings from different traditions.

Dates of visit: 13 March 2017 to 30 April 2017

Mr José Carlos López Gómez

J C Lopez Gomez

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


My research is focused on the study of Roman polytheism in Hispania – Provincia Hispania Citerior, more precisely- and the process of disappearance of those cult forms due to the economic crisis that the Iberian Peninsula suffered along the third century. During my stay at the ICS, I will study the end of Roman polytheism in ancient Britain to establish potential parallelisms (or divergences) between Hispania and Britannia and frame that process into global and local tendencies. Furthermore, I am interested in using technologies applied to humanities, especially the photogrammetry of votive Roman altars, so l will be exploiting the tools and benefitting from all the knowledge that the ICS can provide me on that matter.

Dates of visit: 1 April 2017- 30 June 2017


Dr Franco Luciani 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Newcastle University, UK



The ‘Servi Publici: Everybody’s Slaves’ (SPES) project, which I am carrying out as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (Newcastle University), sets out to provide a full-scale reconsideration of the position of public slaves in the Roman economy and society.
During my six-month secondment at the ICS, a crucial part of the SPES project is conducted, i.e. the creation of a free online database, in which every relevant piece of information for the study of the public slaves and freedmen in Rome and in the municipalities of the Empire will be gathered and organised. The database will be divided into four sections, containing respectively records for: 1. textual, iconographic and archaeological sources; 2. places (findspots and present locations); 3. people involved; 4. references to modern scholarship. Following the ‘Roman Inscriptions of Britain (RIB) online model, each textual source on public slaves will conform to the EpiDoc schema.

Dates of visit: 1 April 2017 - 30 September 2017

Ms Marta Villalba

University of the Balearic Islands


The general aim of my research is the comparison of plays revisiting the Euripidian myth of Medea in Victorian and Postcolonial Literatures. My main interest is to investigate the role played by Medea’s dramatic rewritings in supporting the causes of the underprivileged in both contexts and their intersections with the socio-cultural and legislative contexts. In particular, I am in London to conduct research on four Victorian plays –a tragedy, a burlesque and two closet dramas. My analyses will primarily focus on gender studies. Specifically, I shall first view Ernest Legouvé and Richard Brough’s Medeas within the theory of “feminist jurisprudence”, being alert to noticing any literary references to women’s rights in the public body. In a second part, I shall concentrate on diverse women writers’ messages, highlighting Augusta Webster’s exquisite classicism and Amy Levy’s ethnic and sexual tensions.

Dates of visit: 2 April 2017 - 2 July 2017

Professor Karen Bassi 

T.B.L. Webster Fellow 2017

University of California at Santa Cruz


During my stay I shall be working on a study entitled Imitating the Dead: Facing Death in Ancient Greek Tragedy. Classical scholarship often focuses on how and under what circumstances characters die in tragedy. This scholarship is complemented by work on ancient Greek views of the afterlife, funerary practices, and grave monuments and inscriptions. But there is no sustained treatment of the strategies by which tragedy both exposes and mediates the knowledge that death is inevitable. I start from two general propositions, one relating to tragedy's content and the other to its form. First, as a genre in which characters routinely face death, tragedy focuses attention on the importance of human mortality for ethical, political, and social life in fifth-century Athens. And second, insofar as characters "exist" or "live" as visible and audible humans only for as long as a given play is performed, tragedy literalizes the Greek metaphor of mortals as "creatures that live for a day" (ephêmeroi, e.g. at Prometheus Bound 255). Acknowledging the fact that the effects of human mortality span the Greek genres, beginning with the Homeric epics, I argue that tragedy is their culminating public expression.

Dates of visit: 3 April 2017 - 16 June 2017

Professor Michele Salzman 

University of California, Riverside


My book project, The Falls of Rome: Responses to Crises, 270-604, addresses one of the fundamental issues raised by the study of late antiquity: what does it mean to say Rome fell?  As the city and its inhabitants faced military and political crises, new leaders emerged - senatorial and increasingly papal alongside imperial bureaucrats. The civic, institutional and ecclesiastical reforms undertaken by these men in response to crisis changed the urban fabric of Rome. This was a protracted process in which Rome’s leaders, at times, exhibited remarkable creativity and resilience.  During my time at the Institute, I shall be focusing on the impact of Justinian’s War of Reconquest  (535-554) on Rome’s elites.

Dates of visit: 9 April 2017 - 20 May 2017 

Dr Elena Torregaray Pagola 

Elena Torregaray

University of Basque Country UPV/EHU


During my stay at the ICS I shall be working on my project “Female friends and allies of Rome, from the third century BC until the first AD”. Specifically I shall be looking at the representation of those foreign queens who engaged in active diplomacy to develop relationships between their kingdoms and Rome, both in the west and in the east, and comparing their political activity with that of elite matronae in Rome whose formal participation in the public sphere was so severely limited by Roman law and custom.

Dates of visit: 17 April 2017 to 21 May 2017

Dr Alessandro Rolim de Moura

Federal University of Paraná,Brazil


I have broad research interests within the field of Greek and Roman epic. While at the ICS I will focus on some key aspects of Lucan’s reception of Hesiod. Although a number of scholars have brought out  connections between Lucan and various Greek poets (for instance, Homer, Nicander, Euripides), little work has been done on his relationship with Hesiod. I shall try to identify and discuss the effect obtained in specific Lucan passages through allusion to Hesiod and explain the importance of Hesiodic paradigms in defining more general structuring patterns in the Bellum Ciuile. My main questions are: (a) How does Lucan view the political conflicts depicted in his poem as aspects of a broader (that is, universal) set of problems and connects human society with the cosmos? (b) How does Lucan’s reading of Hesiod contributes to his poetic view as regards this specific issue? My first explorations into the topic indicate that Lucan’s use of Hesiod is multi-layered: in some cases the Greek poet serves as a model which Lucan emulates and replicates; other aspects of this relationship involve a revision or inversion of the Hesiodic model. At times Lucan appears to allude to Hesiod through Latin intermediaries (e.g. Vergil and Ovid); on the other hand, quite a few momentous passages in the Civil War even betray a close familiarity with the Greek text.

Dates of visit: 17 April 2017 - 15 July 2017

Professor Miguel Cisneros Cunchillos

M Cisneros Cunchillos

University of Cantabria


My research is focused chiefly on the study of marble and ornamental rocks in the Roman era, especially in Hispania, their production, trade and use. While at the ICS I shall be working on objects manufactured using hard and semiprecious stones—mostly crockery, instrumenta domestica and wall revetments— and imitations of these objects made of glass. During my stay I intend to broaden my knowledge of vessels made of semiprecious stones such as agate or sardonyx, amongst others, as well as of so-called vasa murrina, traditionally linked to fluorite, in order to analyse their influence on glass objects and the multidirectional relationships in terms of technology and decoration between the different crafts.

Dates of visit: 15 May 2017 to 15 June 2017

Professor Fernando Wulff Alonso 

Wulff Alonso

University of Malaga


My interests include Roman Republican history, nationalist uses of the past and ancient epic. Over the last few years I have been working on the connections between the Indian Mahabharata and Greek-Roman mythology and epic poetry. I share the view that the Mahabharata was created by one or more authors who used Greek and Roman materials as scaffolding and inspiration to express Indian themes. During my stay at the ICS I aim to complete a book on this theme.

Dates of visit: 1 June 2017 to 31 July 2017

Dr Emily Hauser

Emily Hauser

Yale University


My research focuses on the intersection between gender and poetics in the ancient world, and its contemporary reception. During my visit at the ICS I plan to work on developing my doctoral dissertation into a book project surveying the terms used by ancient authors, both male and female, to describe themselves and their craft. I am particularly interested in looking at the complex intersections between gender and terms of authorship in ancient Greek and Roman literature, in particular as applied by female authors like Sappho, Nossis, Eurydice, Sulpicia and Proba, to explore how authorial self-naming reflects the subtle gender politics surrounding literary production in the ancient world. I will also be working on an article (currently in progress) on Penelope's role in the Odyssey, suggesting a new reading of her apparent 'inconsistencies' in the light of recent work in oral theory.

Dates of visit: 1 June 2017 to 31 July 2017

Professor Tyler Jo Smith

Tyler Jo Smith

University of Virginia

Associate Fellow, ICS


This summer I  will continue working on book to introduce the ancient vases in the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum. In addition to using the ICS Library for research, I plan to consult the Theatre Archive for material related to the South Italian vase in particular. I will also be making a preliminary study of the Greek vase collection of the Society of Antiquaries, London.

Dates of visit: 2 June 2017 to 2 July 2017

Dr Sabrina Di Maria

Sabrina Di Maria

University of Trento


I study Roman law and my research activity focuses mainly on two lines: on the one hand, the history of the legal thinking of some classical authors and the Compilation of Justinian, and on the other hand, investigations carried out according to the historical-comparative method aimed at identifying the foundations of European law.

During my time at the ICS, I shall be continuing my work on Roman legal thought in the Severian age and particularly on jurist Paul. This study is intended especially to achieve the reconstruction and the commentary of Paul’s books ad edictum IV, V, VI and VII. The research (which is part of a larger project) will include a critical review of previous attempts of palingenetic reconstruction, by taking into particular consideration the Ordo librorum iuris veteris in compilandis digestis observatus, identified by F. Bluhme and subsequently revised by P. Krüger.

Dates of visit: 30 June 2017 to 30 September 2017

Dr Susan Bilynskyj Dunning

Susan Dunning

University of Toronto


During my stay at the ICS, I will be working on my monograph, The Ludi Saeculares and the Saeculum, which examines the development of the Saecular Games and their relationship to Roman conceptions of time from the Republic to late Empire. The Saecular Games were a complex rite celebrated only once per saeculum (“age” or “century”); through my analysis of literary, numismatic, and epigraphic sources, I show how the rite was changed from a Republican act of supplication performed during crises into a celebration of the advent of a new saeculum. In the process, the emperor’s role in bringing about an age of peace was increasingly highlighted and connected with the establishment of his dynasty. The association between time and the creation and legitimization of imperial authority was such a potent tool that it was adapted, rather than discarded, with the rise of Christianity in Late Antiquity.

Dates of visit: 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017