Gideon Nisbet


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Classical reception studies
Ancient epigram
Greek literature, particularly imperial ('Second Sophistic')
Translation studies
Current PhD students:

Saffi Grey, epithets in Homer
Guy Kirkham-Smith, speech in Greek and Ancient Near Eastern epic


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as an undergraduate and continued into doctoral research, on Greek satirical epigrams of the early centuries AD. A version of my DPhil thesis was subsequently published as Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals (Oxford University Press, 2003).

While finishing my doctorate I became a researcher on the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus Project, and I maintain an interest in what the surviving fragments of books and documents can tell us about ancient life and literary culture.

Through my teaching I developed an interest in classical reception, the study of how later cultures represent and lay claim to the ancient past. My interest in reception of classical antiquity in modern popular culture and subcultures led to my second book, Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture (Exeter Press, 2006, 2nd edition 2008).

Since then I have returned to epigram, co-authoring the Greece and Rome New Survey on Epigram (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and contributing to numerous edited volumes. My recent academic book, Greek Epigram in Reception (Oxford University Press, 2013) combined my interests in epigram and classical reception study into a new account of how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain interfaced with the ancient Greek past. I have translated a new selection of Martial’s Epigrams for the World’s Classics series (Oxford University Press, 2015), and continue to investigate Martial and the worlds of ancient epigram. My current book project is on the modern reception of the Greek author of satirical essays, Lucian of Samosata.

Research interests

Research interests

  • Classical reception study:
    • Reception in popular culture
    • Translation as reception
    • Nineteenth-century receptions of classical antiquity
  • Ancient epigram
    • Epigram in reception
    • Greek epigram
    • Latin epigram (Martial)

 Current projects

  • Hallucinating Lucian: The Twilight of a Classical Reputation (monograph, in progress)


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