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Dr. Francesca Modini

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Tel: +44 (0)2476 528493
Email: francesca dot modini at warwick dot ac dot uk

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FAB 2.09
Faculty of Arts Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Francesca Modini joined the Classics and Ancient History department at Warwick in 2021, where is currently working on her postdoctoral project (‘Soundtracks of Identity: The Politics of Music in Roman Greece’), jointly funded by the University of Warwick and the Leverhulme Trust. She was previously Teaching Associate in Classics at the University of Bristol (2020). After her BA in Milan (2012), she studied for her MA at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (2014) and then moved to London, where she got her PhD from King’s College (2019).

Research interests

I am interested in ancient lyric poetry and musical culture, as well as on the multifaceted production of Greek writers from the imperial period all the way down to Late Antiquity. My research encompasses the relationship between verse and prose, issues of cultural self-fashioning and construction of the past, and the impact of Roman imperialism on Greek identity performance. In my first monograph (in preparation for CUP) I combine these interests in the first study of the reception and appropriation of archaic and classical poetry by authors of the so-called Second Sophistic. As a genre deeply involved in role-playing and the construction of literary personas, the use of lyric offered itself as a brilliant and sophisticated strategy of self-presentation for sophists, whose status depended on the public performance of Hellenism. Lyric tradition also mobilised political and social discourses (e.g. tyranny, oligarchic regimes, patronage) which took on new and problematic meanings under Rome.

In my postdoctoral project, I broaden my horizons beyond imperial literature to focus on the activity and cultural significance of musicians travelling throughout the Empire. What was their role in reviving Greek culture in Roman times? How did musical performances, so popular at festivals, contribute to the self-positioning and identity of different Greek communities? What was the effect of imperial multiculturalism on music and its potential to stand for Greek identity? By asking these and similar questions, I hope to make a timely contribution to the study of music’s role in ancient dynamics of identity. At the same time, by exploring a dimension of Roman Greece that was relevant to different social groups and communities, my project will transform our picture of imperial Greek identity as essentially elite-shaped and Panhellenic.

Teaching and supervision


Selected publications

  • (In preparation) Empire Of Song: Aelius Aristides and the Poetics of Lyric in Imperial Greek Culture. Monograph for the series ‘Greek Culture in the Roman World,’ Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • (Accepted and forthcoming in Classical Quarterly) ‘Lyric in the Second Degree: Archaic and Early Classical Poetry in Himerius of Athens.’

  • (2019) ‘Playing with Terpander & Co.: Lyric, Music, and Politics in Aelius Aristides’ To the Rhodians on Concord,’ in B. Currie and I. Rutherford (eds.), The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry in the Ancient World: Transmission, Canonization and Paratext. Leiden: Brill. 417–38. Link here.

  • (2019) ‘The Cyclops’ Revenge: Aelius Aristides on Plato, Philoxenus, and New Music,’ Greek and Roman Musical Studies 7.1. 51–69. Link here.
  • (2018) ‘Fragments of War: Pindar’s Fragmentary Poetry between the Persian Wars and World War II,’ Literary Imagination 20.3. 283–97. Link here.


  • BA (Università degli Studi di Milano)

  • MA (Scuola Normale Superiore & Università di Pisa)
  • PhD (King’s College London)

Office hours

In-person office hours: Fridays 4–5pm.

Also available on Teams by appointment.