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Dr. Elena Giusti

Dr Elena Giusti

Associate Professor in Latin Literature and Language

On research Leave, Courtesy of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.
On study leave until April 2024, Term 3 2024: Director of Graduate Studies, PG SSLC

Tel: 02476 5 28014
Email: E dot Giusti at warwick dot ac dot uk

FAB 2.03

Classics and Ancient History, Arts and Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Elena Giusti joined the Classics and Ancient History department at Warwick in 2017, where she is currently an Associate Professor in Latin Literature and Language. She was previously Research Fellow in Classics at St John's College Cambridge (2015-2017) and University Teacher in Classics at the University of Glasgow (2014-2015). She studied at the University of Rome La Sapienza (BA and MA) and at King's College Cambridge (PhD).

Research interests

I am broadly interested in Roman literature and thought, with a specialism in Augustan literature and Virgil in particular. I have published articles and book chapters at the junctures between traditional philology, cultural and intellectual history, and literary theory, with special interests in ideology critique, postcolonial studies and feminist theories. Many of my contributions develop from close readings of single passages; others analyse Latin texts to highlight various ancient approaches to literary criticism; others engage meaningfully with how modern and contemporary philosophers can help us understand aspects of the classical texts. As a common feature, my publications seek to emphasise how ancient literature is not epiphenomenal to historical and political contexts, but is in fact actively engaged in shaping them.

Some of my publications, especially my first monograph (Carthage in Virgil's Aeneid: Staging the Enemy under Augustus, Cambridge 2018), map the oft-neglected influence of Carthage in Roman literature and thought, arguing for its significance in wider debates about the role of Greek literature and culture in the formation of Roman identity. The book in particular explores the ideological use of Carthage in Virgil’s Aeneid, investigating ways in which the poem constructs, exploits, and subverts notions of Romans and Barbarians, and hides memories of both Punic and Civil Wars behind a mythical but cautionary tale. The book led me to publish widely on various aspects of Virgil's poetry; among my current Virgilian projects, I am writing a commentary on Aeneid 5 for a new Lorenzo Valla commented edition of the Aeneid.

I have since expanded my scope to look at representations of Africa under Rome in a project, generously supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2022-2023), that includes, besides shorter publications, a second monograph (Rome’s Imagined Africa). The book examines Roman literary representations of Africa (both Africa in the Latin sense of the term, and Ethiopia) and autochthonous African people at the turn between the Republic and the early imperial period. One of my aims is to show that a significant shift in the conceptualisation of Africa and of the whole oikoumene took place in this specific timeframe, especially in the ages of Augustus and Nero, and that the texts produced in this period bear commonalities with later European proto-colonialist and colonialist literature that allow us to bridge the gap between antiquity and modernity on the history of Western constructions of subaltern identities in the African continent. Africa emerges as a unique case study for understanding how histories of race, xenophobia, formation of the ‘Other’ work in (dis-)continuity between pre- and early modernity.

Another major strand of my research, which sprang from my PhD’s focus on the (re)writing of history under Augustus, deals with strategies of textual absence and self-censorship under authoritarian regimes. In the pipeline, and as reflected in some of my publications (including a 2022 article on Horace in AJP), I am planning a monograph (Augustan Poetry and its Conspiracies) that will reflect upon ‘conspiracy’ as a simultaneously historical and literary practice, theorising a novel approach to reading poetic ambiguity and faltering political allegiance in Augustan poetry. The project employs the lens of ‘conspiracy’ both as a fundamental historical reality of the late Republic and early Augustan period that imbued these texts with a sense of political instability, and as a poetic strategy by which Augustan authors engage their readers, anticipating our own hermeneutic suspicions.

I love working with colleagues and I have been involved in many collaborative projects. Together with Rosa Andújar and Jackie Murray, I am co-editing the new Cambridge Companion to Classics and Race; with Samuel Agbamu, I am both co-writing a book on Dido and her reception (Dido of Carthage: the Making and Unmaking of a Classical Tradition, Bloomsbury) and a collection of essays on Classics and Italian Colonialism (De Gruyter). With Tom Geue, I co-edited a volume (Unspoken Rome: Absence in Latin Literature and its Reception, Cambridge 2021) that treats textual absence as a fundamental generative force both for the hermeneutics and the ongoing literary aftermath of Latin literary texts. With my colleague Victoria Rimell, I have co-edited a collection of essays on feminist theory and Virgilian scholarship (Vergil and the Feminine, special issue of Vergilius 2021); with Mathias Hanses and Giovanna Laterza, a special journal issue of Ramus on different interpretative readings of the Vitruvian man (forthcoming 2024).

I am happy to supervise students in Latin literature and its reception, especially on projects that relate Latin literary texts to political, historical and philosophical thought, and on projects that touch upon comparative literature or classical reception. I am also interested in comparisons between Western and Eastern Classics (I can read and speak Japanese and have some basics of Mandarin Chinese) and in the reception of Greco-Roman literature in Japanese literature and culture.

Teaching and supervision

In 2018-2019 I developed a new module, Africa and the Making of Classical Literature. The module, which has been the subject of an IATL Academic Fellowship, considers the import of north Africa in the shaping of Western Classical Literature in the Mediterranean, and investigates the simultaneous erasure of Africa from the Western Classical canon. It also explores and discusses the history of the equation of the Classical world with modern (and colonialist) Europe, and the more recent attempts to 'decolonise' the Western Classics, together with the reactions to them (such as the famous 'Black Athena Debate' of the 80s). Thanks to generous support of the IATL, the HRC and the IAS I was able to invite a number of national and international speakers to deliver Public Lectures in connection to it in 2018-2019. I was also able to interview some of them on their work. These lectures have been the first in a new seminar series entitled Classical Connections, dedicated to Classical Reception Studies, Comparative Classical Studies, Comparative Literature with Classics and Ancient Global Classics.

In 2021-2022 I have developed two new 15 CATS modules in Latin Literature: Horace, Authority and Authoritarianism and Metamorphosis in Latin Poetry.

PhD Supervision

  • Alex Tadel ‘The Female Authorial Voice in the Venetian Quattrocento’ (co-supervised)
  • Elena Claudi, ‘The Representation of Otherness in the Imagines of Philostratus’ (co-supervised)
  • Lucrezia Sperindio, ‘Tragedy and the Tragic in Horace’s Epodes and Odes’ (co-supervised)

Administrative roles

On research Leave, Courtesy of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship




  • (in preparation, under contract) Virgilio: Eneide Libro V, Milano: Fondazione Lorenzo Valla.

Edited Volumes

  • (forthcoming) ed. with S. Agbamu. Classics and Italian Colonialism, De Gruyter.
  • (forthcoming, 2025) ed. with R. Andújar and J. Murray. The Cambridge Companion to Classics and Race, Cambridge University Press.
  • (forthcoming, 2024) ed. with M. Hanses and G. Laterza. Homo bene figuratus inter disciplinas: Methodological Variations on a Single Passage (Vitruvius De Architectura III.1), special issue of Ramus.
  • (2021) ed. with V. Rimell. Vergil and the Feminine, special issue of Vergilius 67.
  • (2021) ed. with T. Geue. Unspoken Rome: Absence in Latin Literature and its Reception, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Articles and Book Chapters


  • (2023) Dyson Hejduk, The God of Rome. Jupiter in Augustan Poetry (New York: Oxford UP 2020), Gnomon 95.7, 605-8.
  • (2022) Review of I. Hesekamp Das Bild von Africa in der augusteischen Dichtung: poetische Konstruktionen eines geographischen Raumes (Vergil, Aeneid – Horaz – Properz) (Berlin and Boston 2021), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2022.07.10.

  • (2020) Review of Lee M. Fratantuono and R. Alden Smith, Aeneid 8: Text, Translation, and Commentary, Mnemosyne Supplementum 416 (Leiden; Boston 2018), in The Journal of Roman Studies.
  • (2018) Review of L. Bocciolini Palagi, La musa e la furia. Interpretazione del secondo proemio dell’Eneide (Testi e Manuali per l’insegnamento universitario del latino 135) (Bologna 2016), in Classical Review 68.2.
  • (2018) Review of S. J. Heyworth and J. H. W. Morwood, A Commentary on Vergil, Aeneid 3 (Oxford 2017), in Classical Review 68.2.

  • (2018) Review of H.-P. Stahl, Poetry Underpinning Power. Vergil’s Aeneid: the Epic for Emperor Augustus. A Recovery Study (Swansea 2016), in Classical Review 68.1.
  • (2016) Review of A. Ziosi, Didone Regina di Cartagine di Chistopher Marlowe: Metafore virgiliane nel Cinquecento (Roma 2015), in Lexis 34, 481-3.
  • (2016) Review of H. Baltussen and P. J. Davis (eds.) The Art of Veiled Speech: Self-Censorship from Aristophanes to Hobbes (Philadelphia 2015), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.06.24:
  • (2015) Review of N. Horsfall, Virgil Aeneid 6, A Commentary (Berlin 2013), in The Journal of Roman Studies 105: 432-34.
  • (2014) Review of J. Godwin, Ovid Metamorphoses III An Extract: 511-733 (London and New York 2014), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.08.06:

Conferences and Seminars Organised

  • (2023) Classics and Race, CAAS 2023 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, 7th October 2023, with J. Murray.
  • (2023) Classics and Italian Colonialism, Museo delle Civiltà, Roma, 22-24 June 2023, with Samuel Agbamu.
  • (2023) Classics and Race Seminar, AIA/SCS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, 8th January 2023, with R. Andújar and J. Murray.
  • (2019) Virgil and the Feminine, Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Virgiliana in Cuma, 19-22 June 2019, with Victoria Rimell.
  • (2019) Racing the Classics II, University of Warwick, 3rd May 2019, with Rosa Andújar, Sasha-Mae Eccleston and Dan-el Padilla Peralta.
  • (2018) Homo bene figuratus inter disciplinas: Methodological Variations on a Single Passage (Vitruvius De Architectura III.1), Penn State University, 7-8 September 2018, with Mathias Hanses and Giovanna Laterza.
  • (2017) Unspeaking Volumes: Absence in Latin Texts, University of St Andrews, 29 June-1 July 2017, with Tom Geue.
  • (2016) The Fixed Handout Workshop: Exercises and Variations in Reading Latin Texts, University of Cambridge, 16-17 April 2016; with Siobhan Chomse and William Fitzgerald.

Podcasts and Public-Facing Publications


  • BA; MA (Università degli studi di Roma La Sapienza)
  • PhD (King's College Cambridge)

Office hours

On research Leave, Courtesy of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship


On research Leave, Courtesy of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship




unspoken rome