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Professor Victoria Rimell

rimell2018.jpgProfessor of Latin

Admissions Officer (from November 2018), Joint degrees, Disabilities Officer, Director of Research

Tel: 024 76575103
Email: V dot Rimell at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room H237, Humanities, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


I studied classics at Cambridge, and wrote my PhD (on Petronius’ Satyricon) at King’s College London. I was then Stevenson Junior Research Fellow at University College Oxford and a Lecturer at Cambridge before moving to Italy in 2004 to teach Latin Language and Literature at Sapienza University of Rome. I joined Warwick in 2016. I gave the W.B.Stanford Memorial Lectures at Trinity College Dublin in 2009, and am a member of the editorial board for Classical Philology and of the Council for The Society for Promotion of Roman Studies. My latest book, The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics (Cambridge 2015) won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Prose Awards, in the Classics category.

Research interests

My research, which spans many different authors and genres, engages critically with major themes in Roman literature and culture and aims to promote dialogue between classical philology and modern philosophical and political thought. My main focus is Latin literature and Roman culture from the first century BCE to the second century CE, and I have published books on Petronius’ Satyricon, Martial’s Epigrams and Ovid’s erotic poetry (all with CUP). My most recent book, The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics (Cambridge, 2015), investigates the relationship in the Roman imagination between retreat, enclosure or compressed space and the idea of a vast, expanding empire. I explore how a spectrum of Roman authors – from Horace, Virgil, Ovid and Statius to Vitruvius, Seneca, Tacitus and Suetonius – explore the trade-off between safe refuge and the intensity of creative and philosophical interaction with the imperial world. More broadly, the book explores the role Rome continues to play in the Western history of ideas to do with dwelling and the uncanny, and includes comparative readings of modern conceptual artworks, as well as of a French novel (Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Salle de Bain). I have also edited volumes on the ancient novel, and on imagining imperial space in Greek and Latin texts. Current projects incluce a commentary on Ovid’s Remedia Amoris, and a book about Seneca and vulnerability.

Teaching and supervision

Undergraduate (2018-19)

  • The Vulnerable Body in Roman Literature and Thought
  • Latin Literary Texts


  • Taught MA in Ancient Material and Visual Culture (Advanced Ancient Language).
  • MA by research
  • (from 2019) Taught MA in Ancient Literature and Thought

I am keen to supervise postgraduate students who wish to work on topics related to Latin literature (across all genres) and Roman cultural history. I would also be interested in supervising projects requiring expertise in critical theory, gender studies, and the reception of classical texts.

Current PhD supervision:

Simone Mollea: the concept of humanitas in the imperial age

Martina Russo: adulatio in Seneca the Younger

Alessandra Tafaro: Martial and the epigraphic tradition

Administrative roles

Director of Research

Admissions Tutor

Co-ordinator of the joint degrees English-Latin Literature and Classical Civilisation-Philosophy

Co-ordinator of the Italian and Classics degree

Selected publications

  • (2017) (ed. with Markus Asper) Imagining Empire. Political Space in Hellenistic and Roman Literature. Winter Press, Heidelberg.
  • (2015) The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics: Empire’s Inward Turn. Cambridge University Press
  • (2008) Martial’s Rome: Empire and the Ideology of Epigram. Cambridge University Press.
  • (2007) (ed.) Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts: Orality and Representation in the Ancient Novel. Groningen.
  • (2006) Ovid’s Lovers: Desire, Difference, and the Poetic Imagination. Cambridge University Press. (pb 2009)
  • (2002) Petronius and the Anatomy of Fiction. Cambridge University Press. (pb 2007)
Selected recent articles and chapters:

  • (2018) ‘Rome’s dire straits: claustrophobic seas and imperium sine fundo’ in W.Fitzgerald and E.Spentzou (eds.) The Production of Space in Latin Literature. Cambridge University Press, 261-287.
  • (2018) ‘I will survive (you): Martial and Tacitus on regime change’ in A. König and Christopher Whitton (eds.) Literary Interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian. Cambridge University Press, 63-85.
  • (2017) 'Philosophy's folds: Seneca, Cavarero and the history of rectitude' Hypatia 32.4.1-16.
  • (2015) ‘In the mirror of time: Seneca and Neronian Culture' in S.Bartsch-Zimmer and A.Schiesaro (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Seneca. Cambridge, 122- 134.
  • (2013) ‘(En)closure and rupture: Roman poetry in the arena’ in B.Acosta-Hughes, A.Kirichenko and F.Grewing (eds) The Door Ajar: False Closure in Greek and Roman Literature and Art. Heidelberg, 103-127.
  • (2013) 'The best a man can get: grooming Scipio in Seneca Epistle 86' Classical Philology 108.1: 1-20
  • (2012) 'The labour of empire: womb and world in Seneca's Medea' in Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 105: 211-37.
  • (2009) ‘Letting the page run on: Poetics, rhetoric and noise in the Satyrica’ in I.Repath and J.Prag (eds) Petronius. A Handbook. Duckworth Press, London. 65-81.
  • (2007) ‘Petronius’ encyclopedia: Neronian lessons in learning – the hard way’ in J.König and T.Whitmarsh (eds) Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire. Cambridge. 108-132.
Forthcoming publications:
  • 'The Groove in Ovid's Remedia' in T.Geue and E.Giusti (eds.) Unspoken Rome.
  • (2018 forthcoming) ‘After Ovid, after theory’ in special ‘Ovid and Theory’ volume of the International Journal of the Classical Tradition, D.Orrells and T.Roynon (eds.).
  • (2018 forthcoming) ‘The creative superiority of self-reproach: Horace’s Ars Poetica’ in S.Harrison and S. Matzner (eds.) Complex Inferiorities: Poetics of the Weaker Voice in Latin Literature. Oxford University Press.

Professional associations

  • The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies


  • MA (Cantab)
  • MPhil (Cantab)
  • PhD (London)

Office hours


Mondays 11-12

Tuesdays 11-12

...or by appointment


Undergraduate modules

Roman Culture and Society
Latin Literary Texts
Hellenistic World
Roman Laughter: Wit and Transgression in Roman Literature and Thought
The Vulnerable Body in Roman Literature and Thought
Politics and Poetics in Greek and Latin Literature

Postgraduate modules

Taught MA in Ancient Visual and Material Culture (advanced language and literature)

(from 2019) Taught MA in Ancient Literature and Thought

closure of space

prose awards

Ovid book

Martial book

petroniu bk