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Reading List

Summer reading:

I would strongly encourage you to begin to familiarise yourselves with the set texts listed below. For original Greek students, making a start with Griffin's edition of Iliad 9 will be beneficial.

Further reading suggestions and scholarship will be available through Talis Aspire and Moodle, and specific bibliography will be made available on a weekly basis in lectures.

Set Texts (in translation):

  • Homer, Iliad 1, 7, 9, 19 (Lattimore, Chicago)
  • Pindar, Pythian 1 (Nisetich, Pindar's Victory Songs: extract provided)
  • Bacchylides 17 (Campbell, Loeb Classical Library)
  • Euripides, Suppliant Women (Penguin)
  • Aristophanes, Knights (Penguin)
  • Herodotus Book 3 (De Sélincourt, Penguin)
  • Thucydides 3.82–3 (extract provided)

Set texts in original Greek for Classics/Classics and English students:

  • Homer, Iliad IX, ed. Jasper Griffin (Oxford)
  • Pindar, Pythian 1, ed. Snell-Maehler, Teubner (extract provided)

Full module bibliography, to appear on Moodle in due course:


Rancière, J. The Politics of Literature (London 2011)


Culler, J. Theory of the Lyric (Cambridge, MA 2015), esp. chapters 3, 'Theories of the Lyric', and 7, 'Lyric and Society'.

Dimock, W. C. ‘After Troy: Homer, Euripides, total war’, in R. Felski (ed.) Rethinking Tragedy (Baltimore, 2008), 66-81.

Felski, R. Uses of Literature (Malden, MA 2008), esp. chapters 2, 'Enchantment', 3, 'Shock', and 4, 'Knowledge'.

Halliwell, S. Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (Oxford 2011), esp. chapters 2, 'Is there a poetics in Homer?', 3, 'Aristophanes’ Frogs and the failure of criticism', and 6, 'Poetry in the light of prose: Gorgias, Isocrates, Philodemus'

Hammer, D. The Iliad as Politics: The Performance of Political Thought (Norman, OK 2002)

Payne, M. ‘On being vatic: Pindar, pragmatism, historicism’, American Journal of Philology 127 (2006) 159–84
Payne, M. (2018) 'Fidelity and farewell: Pindar’s ethics as textual events’, in Budelmann, F. and Phillips, T. (eds.) Textual Events: Performance and the Lyric in Early Greece (Oxford), 257–74.

Ruffell, I. A. Politics and Anti-realism in Old Comedy: The Art of the Impossible (Oxford 2012)

Silk, M. Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy (Oxford 2000)

Useful theoretical reading, especially on lyric and rhetoric (in addition to general theoretical items listed under term 1; see also bibliography for Songs Texts Theories: Greek Lyric Poetry module)


Homer’s Iliad:

Barker, E. T. E. 'Achilles' last stand: Institutionalising dissent in Homer's Iliad', Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 50 (2004) 92–120
Barker, E. T. E. Enter the Agon: Dissent and Authority in Homer, Historiography, and Tragedy (Oxford 2009), ch. 1
Edwards, M. W. Homer: Poet of the Iliad (Baltimore 1987)
Ford, A. Homer: The Poetry of the Past (Ithaca, NY 1992)
Halliwell, S. (2011) Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (Oxford), chapter 2, 'Is there a poetics in Homer?'
Hammer, D. 'The Politics of the "Iliad"', The Classical Journal 94.1 (1998) 1–30
Hammer, D. The Iliad as Politics: The Performance of Political Thought (Norman, OK 2002)
Hammer, D. 'Homer and Political Thought', in S. Salkever (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Political Thought (Cambridge 2009), 15–41
Haubold, J. Homer's People: Epic Poetry and Social Formation (Cambridge 2000)
Martin, R. P. The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad (Ithaca, NY 1989)
Morris, I. 'The Use and Abuse of Homer', in D. L. Cairns (ed.) Oxford Readings in Homer's Iliad (Oxford 2001)
Nagy, G. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry (Baltimore 1979)
Purves, A. Homer and the Poetics of Gesture (Oxford 2019)
Raaflaub, K. A. 'A historian's headache: how to read "Homeric society"?', in N. Fisher and H. van Wees (eds.), Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence (London 1998) 169–93
Redfield, J. Nature and Culture in the Iliad (Chicago 1975)
Rose, P. W. 'Thersites and the plural voices of Homer', Arethusa 21 (1988) 5–25
Rose, P. W. 'Ideology in the Iliad: polis, basileus, theoi', Arethusa 30 (1997) 151–99
Schein, S. The Mortal Hero (Berkeley 1984) chs. 3–5
Schofield, M. 'Euboulia in the Iliad', CQ 36 (1986) 6–31
Taplin, O. P. 'Agamemnon's Role in the Iliad', in C. B. R. Pelling (ed.) Characterization and Individuality in Greek Literature (Oxford 1990) 60–82
Taplin, O. P. Homeric Soundings: The Shaping of the Iliad (Oxford 1992)

Pindar and Bacchylides

Useful Introduction to Epinician Poetry ('Victory Odes'): Nisetich, F. J. Pindar's Victory Songs (Baltimore 1980), 1–77

Other bibliography, including material relating to historical contexts (* = directly relevant for Pindar, Pythian 1)
* Antonaccio, C. M. 'Elite Mobility in the West', in S. Hornblower and C. Morgan (eds.), Pindar's Poetry, Patrons, and Festivals: From Archaic Greece to the Roman Empire (Oxford 2007), 265–85
* Athanassaki, L. 'Narratology, Deixis, and the Performance of Choral Lyric. On Pindar's First Pythian Ode', in J. Grethlein and A. Rengakos (eds.), Narratology and Interpretation: The Content of Narrative Form in Ancient Literature (Berlin 2009), 241–73:
* Bell, M. 'The Motya charioteer and Pindar's Isthmian 2', Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 40 (1995) 1–42 – interesting for local Sicilian contexts * Cummins, M. F. 'Sicilian Tyrants and their Victorious Brothers II: The Deinomenids', The Classical Journal 106.1 (2010) 1–20
Fearn, D. W. Bacchylides: Politics, Performance, Poetic Tradition (Oxford 2007) (pp. 242–56 on Bacchylides 17)
Fearn, D. W. 'Aeginetan Epinician Culture: Naming, Ritual, and Politics', in D. W. Fearn (2010) (ed.) Aegina: Contexts for Choral Lyric Poetry, 175–226
Fearn, D. W. 'The Keians and their Choral Lyric: Athenian, Epichoric, and Panhellenic Perspectives’, in L. Athanassaki and E. L. Bowie (eds.), Archaic and Classical Choral Song: Performance, Politics & Dissemination (Berlin 2011) 207–34
* Fearn, D. W. 'Ecphrasis and the Politics of Time in Pythian 1', in D. W. Fearn (2017), Pindar's Eyes: Visual and Material Culture in Epinician Poetry (Oxford)
Golden, M. Sport and Society in Ancient Greece (Cambridge 1998)
Harrell, S. E. 'King or Private Citizen: Fifth-Century Sicilian Tyrants at Olympia and Delphi', Mnemosyne 55 (2002) 439–64
Harrell, S. E. 'Synchronicity: the local and the panhellenic within Sicilian tyranny', in S. Lewis (ed.), Ancient Tyranny (Edinburgh 2006), 119–34, esp. 125–33
* Hornblower, S. 'Pindar and kingship theory', in S. Lewis (ed.), Ancient Tyranny (Edinburgh 2006), 151–63
Hornblower, S. Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry (Oxford 2007), 28–36, 63–6, 186–201 and use index
Hornblower, S. and Morgan, C. (eds.), Pindar's Poetry, Patrons, and Festivals: From Archaic Greece to the Roman Empire (Oxford 2007), 4–10 (‘Elites’)
* Kurke, L. The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy (Baltimore 1991) ch. 8, 'Envy and Tyranny'
* Lomas, K. 'Tyrants and the polis: migration, identity and urban development in Sicily', in S. Lewis (ed.), Ancient Tyranny (Edinburgh 2006), 95–118, esp. 97–102
* McGlew, J. F. Tyranny and Political Culture in Ancient Greece (Ithaca, NY 1996), 14–51, 'Tyrannus fulminatus: Power and Praise'
* Morgan, K. Pindar and the Construction of Syracusan Monarchy in the Fifth Century B.C. (New York 2015)
* Morrison, A. D. Performances and Audiences in Pindar's Sicilian Victory Odes (London 2007)
Nicholson, N. 'Pindar's Olympian 4: Psaumis and Camarina after the Deinomenids', Classical Philology 106.2 (2011) 93–114 – good on local political context for Sicilian tyranny, its followers, and its discontents
* Segal, C. P. Aglaia: The Poetry of Alcman, Sappho, Pindar, Bacchylides, and Corinna (Lanham, MD 1998), 12–18 and 123–6
* Skulsky, S. D. 'ΠΟΛΛΩΝ ΠΕΙΡΑΤΑ ΣΥΝΤΑΝΥΣΑΙΣI: Language and Meaning in Pythian 1’, Classical Philology 70 (1975) 8–31
Spelman, H. Pindar and the Poetics of Permanence (Oxford 2018).


Athenian Politics and Poetics (see also separate Module Bibliographies for Greek Theatre, Greek Tragedy, and Greek Comedy):

Allan, W. (1999–2000), ‘Euripides and the Sophists: Society and the Theatre of War’, Illinois Classical Studies 24–5: 145–56.
Bennett, L. J. and W. B. Tyrrell, 'Making Sense of Aristophanes' Knights', Arethusa 23 (1990) 235–54
Bowie, A. M. 'Tragic Filters for History: Euripides’ Supplices and Sophocles' Philoctetes', in C. B. R. Pelling (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian (Oxford 1997), 39–62
Burian, P. 'Logos and Pathos: The Politics of The Suppliant Women', in P. Burian (ed.) Directions in Euripidean Criticism (Durham, OK 1985), 129–55
Carey, C. 'Comic Ridicule and Democracy', in R. Osborne and S. Hornblower (eds.), Ritual, Finance, Politics (Oxford 1994) 69–83
Gamble, R. B. 'Euripides' Suppliant Women: Decision and Ambivalence', Hermes 98 (1970) 385–405
Goldhill, S. Reading Greek Tragedy (Cambridge 1986)
Goldhill, S. and Osborne, R. Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy (Cambridge 1999)
Halliwell, S. 'Comic satire and freedom of speech in Classical Athens', JHS 111 (1991) 48–70
Halliwell, S. (2011), Between Ecstasy and Truth: Between Ecstasy and Truth. Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (Oxford), chapter 3
Heath, M. Political Comedy in Aristophanes (Göttingen 1987)
Heath, M. ‘Aristophanes and the discourse of politics’, in G. W. Dobrov (ed.) The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama (Chapel Hill, NC 1997), 230–49
Henderson, J. 'The Demos and the Comic Competition', in J. J. Winkler and F. I. Zeitlin (eds.), Nothing to do with Dionysos? (Princeton, NJ 1990) 271–313
Henderson, J. 'Attic Comedy, Frank Speech, and Democracy', in D. Boedeker and K. Raaflaub (eds.), Democracy, Empire and the Arts in Fifth-Century Athens, (Cambridge, MA 1998) 255–73
McGlew, J. F. '"Everybody Wants to Make a Speech": Cleon and Aristophanes on Politics and Fantasy', Arethusa 29 (1996) 339–62
Mendelsohn, D. Gender and the City in Euripides’ Political Plays (Oxford 2002)
Michelini, A. N. 'Political Themes in Euripides' Suppliants', AJP 115 (1994) 219–52
Murray, P. and Wilson, P. (eds.) Music and the Muses: the culture of mousike in the classical Athenian city (Oxford 2004)
Raaflaub, K. A. 'Father of all, destroyer of all: war in late fifth-century Athenian discourse and ideology', in D. R. McCann and B. S. Strauss (eds.), War and Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War (Armonk, NY 2000), 307–56
Robson, J. Aristophanes: An Introduction (London 2009)
Ruffell, I. A. Politics and Anti-realism in Old Comedy: The Art of the Impossible (Oxford 2012)
Scholtz, A. 'Friends, lovers, flatterers; Demophilic courtship in Aristophanes' Knights', Transactions of the American Philological Association 134 (2004) 263–93
Silk, M. Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy (Oxford 2000)
Smith, W. D. 'Expressive Form in Euripides' Suppliants', HSCP 71 (1967) 151–70
Storey, I. C. Euripides: Suppliant Women. Duckworth Companions to Greek and Roman Tragedy (London 2008)
Wilson, P. The Athenian Institution of the Khoregia: The Chorus, the City, and the Stage (Cambridge 2000)
Wohl, V. Euripides and the Politics of Form (Princeton 2015)


Fowler, R. L. 'Herodotus and his contemporaries', JHS 116 (1996) 62–87
Irwin, E. and Greenwood, E. 'Introduction: Reading Herodotus, Reading Book 5', in E. Irwin and E. Greenwood (eds.), Reading Herodotus: A Study of the Logoi in Book 5 of Herodotus' Histories (Cambridge 2007), 1–40, esp. 2–9 on reading Herodotus in general
Munson, R. V. 'The Madness of Cambyses (Herodotus 3.16–38)', Arethusa 24 (1991) 43–65
—. 'Interpretation and Evaluation', in Telling Wonders: Ethnographic and Political Discourse in the Work of Herodotus (Ann Arbor, MI 2001) 134–72
Pelling, C. B. R. 'East is East and West is West—or are they? National Stereotypes in Herodotus', Histos 1 (1997)
—. 'Speech and Action: Herodotus’ Debate on the Constitutions', Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 48 (2002) 123–58
Raaflaub, K. A. 'Herodotus, political thought, and the meaning of history', Arethusa 20 (1987) 221–48
Redfield, J. 'Herodotus the tourist', Classical Philology 80 (1985) 97–118
Thomas, R. Herodotus in Context (Cambridge 2000)
Winton, R. 'Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Sophists', in C. Rowe and M. Schofield (eds.) The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought (Cambridge 2005) 89–121

Sophistic Rhetoric:

Broadie, S.‘The Sophists and Socrates’, in D. Sedley (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy (Cambridge 2003), 73–97
Gagarin, M. 'Did the sophists aim to persuade?', Rhetorica 19 (2001) 275–91
Gagarin, M. and Woodruff, P. 'The Sophists', in P. Curd and D. W. Graham (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy (Oxford 2008), ch. 13 [available online via webcat]
Goldhill, S. Reading Greek Tragedy (Cambridge 1986) ch. 9, 'Sophistry, Philosophy, Rhetoric'
Goldhill, S. The Invention of Prose (Oxford 2002)
Guthrie, W. K. C. A History of Greek Philosophy, Volume Three: The Fifth-Century Enlightenment (Cambridge 1969)
Guthrie, W. K. C. The Sophists (Cambridge 1971)
Halliwell, S. (2011), Between Ecstasy and Truth: Between Ecstasy and Truth. Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (Oxford), chapter 6
Kennedy, G. The Art of Persuasion in Greece (Princeton 1963) - ch. 3 includes Gorgias - though beware: very old-fashioned
Kerferd, G. B. The Sophistic Movement (Cambridge 1981)
Lloyd, G. E. R. The Revolutions of Wisdom: Studies in the Claims and Practice of Ancient Greek Science (Berkeley, CA 1987)
Porter, J. I. 'The seductions of Gorgias', Classical Antiquity 12 (1993) 267–99: reworked in
Porter, J. I. The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge 2010)
Rosenmeyer, T. G. ‘Gorgias, Aeschylus, and Apate’, American Journal of Philology 76 (1955) 225–60
Segal, C. P. ‘Gorgias and the Psychology of the Logos’, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 66 (1962) 99–155
Wallace, R. W. 'Plato’s Sophists, Intellectual History after 450, and Sokrates', in L. J. Samons II (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles (Cambridge 2007) 215–37
Wardy, R. The Birth of Rhetoric: Gorgias, Plato and their successors (London 1996)
Worman, N. 'The body as argument: Helen in four Greek texts', Classical Antiquity 16 (1997) 151–203, esp. 171–80


Cobet, J. 'Herodotus and Thucydides on war', in I. Moxon, J. Smart, and A. Woodman (eds.), Past Perspectives: Studies in Greek and Roman Historical Writing (Cambridge 1986) 1-18

Hornblower S. Thucydides (London 1994)

Loraux, N. The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City (Cambridge, MA 1996)

Macleod, C. M. ‘Thucydides on faction (3.82–83)’, in Collected Essays, ch. 12.
Macleod, C. M. 'Thucydides and tragedy', in Collected Essays, ch. 13.
Monoson, S. 'Citizen as "erastes": erotic Imagery and the idea of reciprocity in the Periclean funeral oration', Political Theory 22 (1994) 253–76

Ober, J. Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule (Princeton 1988) chapter 2, 'Public speech and brute fact: Thucydides'
Rabel, R. J. 'Agamemnon's empire in Thucydides', Classical Journal 80 (1984) 8-10

Rood, T. Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation (Oxford 2004)
Winton, R. 'Herodotus, Thucydides, and the sophists', in C. Rowe and M. Schofield (eds.) The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought (Cambridge 2005), 89–121.