Staff Research

We all engage in different types of research, both within the discipline of Classics and beyond, with colleagues from other disciplines. Here are some of our current projects:

Research Groups:

KYKNOS is the Swansea and Lampeter Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World. Ian Repath is the current Chair of Kyknos. Other members of staff who take part in research activities are Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, Mark Humphries, and Maria Pretzler. The website is http://kyknos.swan.ac.uk.

CWCH is the Cymru Wales Classics Hub, which supports and promotes the teaching and learning of Classics in Wales. Evelien Bracke is the Chair, and works with other universities (particularly Trinity Saint David and Cardiff) as well as the Welsh Government, school consortia and pioneer schools on developing Classics in Wales. The website is www.cymruwalesclassicshub.weebly.com.

OLCAP is the research group for object and landscape centred approaches to the past. The group’s core aim is to promote and support research, teaching, and training that falls broadly in the fields of material culture studies and landscape, especially where these relate to the ancient world. There are three main, related strands of OLCAP’s mission: Research, pedagogy, training and employability. Ersin Hussein and Christian Knoblauch are the joint founders and directors of the group. You can find out more about OLCAP on their website: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research/research-groups/olcap/

Individual Staff Research:

Dr Joanne Berry researches Roman social history, specifically regarding urban life, and is our resident expert on Pompeii. She founded Blogging Pompeii, a news and discussion site for Pompeii and the archaeological sites of the Bay of Naples, see http://bloggingpompeii.blogspot.com/

Dr Ian Goh is currently researching the family history of the gens Cornelia, whose most famous members, Scipio Africanus and Scipio Aemilianus, were prominent in Africa, focusing especially on their generational response to failure as a Republican trope. Future work in this vein will involve Petrarch’s Renaissance Latin epic about Africanus.

Dr Stephen Harrison’s work explores the empires of the Achaemenid kings of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Seleucids. He is particularly interested in kingship, and how the rulers of these multi-ethnic kingdoms sought to ensure that people from very different backgrounds could live side-by-side in peace.

Dr Fritz-Gregor Herrmann’s area of research is Ancient Philosophy and Literature, with a focus on Plato, Greek tragedy and Thucydides. His special interest is the relationship between words and ideas, and the way in which tradition and innovation in language influence the way thoughts are developed, formulated, expressed and presented. He is currently working on conceptualisations of decision-making in early Greek thought and on continuities and differences between the political psychologies of Thucydides and Plato.

Professor Mark Humphries is a general editor, with Professor Gillian Clark (University of Bristol) and Dr Mary Whitby (University of Oxford), of the series Translated Texts for Historians (Liverpool University Press), which publishes scholarly translations of and commentaries on texts from Late Antiquity (AD300-800), see http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk. He is also a joint editor, with Professor Oliver Nicholson (University of Minnesota) of the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, and is a also a member of the international advisory board for the Irish Theological Quarterly.

Dr Ersin Hussein’s research primarily focuses on local identity formation in the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean, notably in Roman Cyprus. She is currently developing research on metals and identity formation in antiquity (particularly on copper) and aims to explore the impact of metals on communities from antiquity to the present day.

At present Dr Nigel Pollard is primarily working on a study of protection, damage and reception of archaeological sites and monuments in the Second World War, including the work of the Allied Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (the ‘Monuments Men’), and as a board member of the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield, engages with governments, NGOs and military personnel to promote the protection of cultural sites in conflicts and natural disasters.He has also launched his blog (https://endangeredsyriaheritage.wordpress.com/) containing images of damaged and endangered sites in Syria.

Dr Maria Pretzler is fascinated by the small cities that made up most of the Greek world, and her current project on the Peloponnesian League focuses on the ways in which these small states influenced Greek history, and what impact major events had on them in turn. Pausanias also led her to ancient geography and travel writing, and research on various aspects of ancient approaches to the landscape, particularly memorial and religious landscapes. At the same time, she has also been involved in landscape archaeology, and she continues to benefit from parallels, connections and comparisons between ancient and modern approaches to landscapes. The culture and literature of Greeks in the heyday of the Roman Empire (the Second Sophistic) also represents a major interest. Apart from Pausanias, she has been doing work on Lucian, Aelius Aristeides, Lucian and Polyaenus.

Dr Troy Sagrillo is a member of the International Association of Egyptologists, München, Germany; the Egyptian Exploration Society, London, UK; the American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt; and the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Toronto, Canada.

Dr Kasia Szpakowska’s research focuses on Ancient Egyptian private religious practices, dreams, gender and the archaeology of magic. She is an avid proponent of interdisciplinary research and digital humanities, and collaborates with engineers, artists, glaciologists and computer scientists. An online database of liminal entities as well as 3D visualization is in progress. Currently she is investigating the role of apotropaic devices such as clay cobra figurines and images of supernatural beings as mechanisms for coping with physical and mental health afflictions Ancient Egyptians believed to have been caused by external demons, see www.demonthings.com/.

In May 2010 the Egypt Centre together with Kasia Szpakowska organised an international conference called Experiment and Experience: Ancient Egypt in the Present which aimed to bring academics and craftspeople together to explore aspects of ancient Egyptian technology through experiment. This conference was streamed with the support of the Swansea University Research Institute for Arts and Humanities. You can see and even download the Podcasts here.

css.php