Our investigations into the later cultural, social and political significance of Classical antiquity arise organically from research specialisms in Greek and Roman literature and society (see also Literary Cultures of the Ancient World).

Whether (for example) examining the intersection of ancient Latin and early modern English poetry, exploring the dynamics of Plutarch’s biographies within 19th-century Russian intellectual and political culture, tracing networks of Virgilian imagery in 19th-century European exploration narratives, or interrogating the audiovisual presentation of ancient history on television, we share a focus on the transition and transformation of ancient texts, images, artefacts, narratives and ideas into new forms and contexts.  The theme of heroism in particular underscores much of our work.  Archaeology features prominently in projects around Liverpool’s museum history and historical landscapes, locating our research within the University’s Heritage theme. 


Our Group collaborates closely with the University’s Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Group and the Faculty research cluster on ‘Adaptation & Renewal’ (co-chaired by Fiona Hobden).

We also host joint events with the Liverpool Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.


Dr Phil Freeman,

Prof Bruce Gibson,

Dr Fiona Hobden,

Dr Frederick Jones,

Dr Marco Perale,

Dr Alexei Zadorozhny

Knowledge Exchange

‌Research at the University of Liverpool not only reflects on receptions of antiquity but impacts upon those creative communities with an interest in and inspired by the ancient world. For example, the Documenting Antiquity Workshop, which met for the first time in July 2013 (organized by Fiona Hobden), offered a forum for media professionals and academics to explore issues surrounding the production, character, and future of factual programmes about ancient history.

In addition, Tom Harrison’s research on ancient and modern imperialism has influenced Australian theatre artist and practice-based researcher, Alison Richards, in her experimental performance paper ‘X Marks the Spot’ (23 August 2010, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne).

Phyllis Brighouse, a postgraduate member of the Receptions research group, writes and produces theatre drama inspired by her reading of Classical literature and her receptions research. She worked on the following productions with the University of Liverpool Drama Society to stage new adaptations of Athenian tragedy in the ‘Greek play'.

  • Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (March 2013)
  • Agamemnon by Aeschlyus (May 2012).

‌Phyllis' prizewinning entry in the 2012  Leverhulme Drama Festival, entitled ‘Talk to Me’, is a reworking of the myth of Cassandra set on the day of the Wall Street crash. The play developed out of her Liverpool MA dissertation, 'The unheeded voice: receptions of Cassandra'.


Colloquia, Conferences & Workshops

  • Herodotus & the Long Nineteenth Century: Ethnography, Nationalism & Disciplinary Formation (2nd J.P. Postgate Colloquium, 12-14 September 2012)
  • Envisioning Landscapes: Adaptation & Renewal (22 June 2012) [Faculty Adaptation & Renewal event] 
  • Cinema and Antiquity: 2000-2011 (1st J.P. Postgate Colloquium, 12-14 July 2011) 

We also supported the Science Fiction Foundation Conference, Swords, sorcery, sandals and space: the Fantastika and the Classical world (29 June – 1 July 2013).



The research group hosts a number of seminars during the academic year as part of the Classics and Ancient History Research Seminar and the Classics and Ancient History Work-in-Progress Seminar series.  Recent speakers include:


  • Dr Fred Jones (Liverpool), Discontinuous legacies of the Classical nude: Jupiter and Antiope
  • Professor Tom Harrison (Liverpool), Herodotus’ travels in Britain (and beyond): prose composition and pseudo-ethnography in Victorian and Edwardian England
  • Mr James Ford (Liverpool), Gilbert West's Dissertation on the Olympics (1749): Classical lessons for the English statesman
  • Dr Ben Earley (Cambridge), The "Periclean moment": Pericles and Athenian history in eighteenth-century political thought
  • Dr Jessica Hughes (Open University), "Bringing it all back home": souvenirs, tourism, art and Classical reception
  • Mrs Phyllis Brighouse (Liverpool), Receptions of the Ancient World in the school stories of Charles Hamilton
  • Dr Fred Jones (Liverpool), Religion vs. Secularity in the post-Classical Nude: Rembrandt's Corpses
  • Dr Vasiliki Zali (Liverpool), Herodotus in Middle Byzantine Historiography


  • Dr Penny Goodman (Leeds), On this day in history: Augustus and his bimillennia
  • Dr Alexei Zadorozhnyy (Liverpool), Plutarch à la Russe: ancient heroism and Russian ideology in Tolstoy’s War and Peace
  • Dr Luke Houghton (Glasgow), Virgil's Fourth Eclogue and the visual arts (joint event with the Latin Literature group)
  • Dr Joanna Paul (Open University), ‘Time is only a mode of thought, you know': history, fantasy and empire in E. Nesbit's The Story of the Amulet and Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill
  • Dr David Maw (Oxford) Boethius and the Speculum Musicae (c1320) of Jacques de Liege (joint event with Liverpool Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)


  • Dr Lindsay Allen (Kings College, London), Imagining Old Persian: the apocryphal Athenian Letters and the eighteenth-century culture of decipherment
  • Dr Amy Coker (Liverpool), What the $?#* does this word mean? Bad language in Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon
  • Professor Simon Goldhill (Cambridge), Sappho and the American Senate: imaging female desire in Classical dress


  • Dr Joe Skinner ( Liverpool), Historiography, hybridity and the shaping of the past
  • Prof David Scourfield (NUI, Maynooth), Annexing Arcadia: classical space in the short fiction of E. M. Forster (joint event with the Latin Literature group)
  • Dr David Gange (Birmingham), Petrie’s Greeks: imagining Naukratis in 19thC Britain
  • Prof Tom Harrison (Liverpool), 'Reconciling my work with the world': F.W. Walbank and Polybius

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